Favourite Anime Series

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Ace Rimmer
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Postby Ace Rimmer » Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:18 pm

I believe the correct title for this thread should be "Jelco's Favorite...." :P

I'm just posting here to allow for another post without it being a triple, and to say I can't believe it's (this thread) is still going.
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Postby jelco » Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:46 pm

Wow, now that you mention it, I had no idea this topic was THAT old. :shock:

Finished Bakuretsu Tenshi. It's a rather awkward series really. Let's get one great misunderstanding out of the way first - it is in no way a yuri series as Wikipedia specifies. It has tremendous amounts of fanservice and the main cast is all female, but that's where the validity of that label ends. EDIT: After some rethinking, I guess there's some suggestive scenes in the series regarding the relationship between Meg and Jo, but to be honest I couldn't view this as anything more than an excuse for the creators to add more fanservice.

From hereon it is kinda spoilerish, but if you want to read this because you think you're not going to watch the series, a glance at the last paragraph will be enough to decide if you really (don't) want to watch it. ;)

The series itself is notable in that it tries a lot of things and touches upon a lot of related (and not-so-related) themes, but everything only so slightly. It touches some over-used themes such as a militaristic dystopia where the citizens must be kept dumb, some themes you see in the more philosophical anime (GitS, Lain) like the emotional struggles of a not-so-human humanoid, and some other simple themes which every anime seems to have its own take on, like relationships in a small isolated group. The problem is not really that it tries to do all of these things and hence fails (because it doesn't actually fail) - the point is that it rushes through each of these themes. The character of Mario for example, which is the device the series uses to explore emotional struggles of a human changed into a war machine, doesn't get more than about two episodes' worth of proper screening time. While the theme was explored properly and not messed up too badly, if it had been given some more time - and perhaps time shared with other themes instead of exclusive episodes - it might have worked out better.

The creators seem to make the mistake of leaving a lot of things open to the viewer to assume, and usually the viewer will not assume what the creators had in mind - which you only find out after a crucial moment of course. It also fails to give any good reason for the events in the series - every single one of the encounters with the glowing brains is coincidental, they go around doing a lot of different things but for some reason keep running into them everywhere. The story itself is a lot simpler than you can imagine at first, but while this goes for a lot of series (heck, even SAC is a lot simpler than it seems at first but that doesn't prevent it from being an incredibly good mindfuck), Bakuretsu Tenshi stands out in the way that this becomes apparent too soon and makes the story collapse under the weight of its outrageous pretentiousness. The ending is one of the few things which have actually been done in a proper way, it's left open - if this hadn't been done any attempt to wrap it up would have resulted in a greater show of the writers' horrible antics of trying to look clever.

Other than that, the story is simply in dire need of a proper overarching storyline - the episodes are mostly separate stories only held together by the cast, and sometimes (due to the changes in thematic focus) it feels like the characters have been ripped from one series and have been dumped into another (unrelated) one. The last few episodes seemed to me like they put the cast of Full Metal Panic! in the Ghost in the Shell universe, which is an awkward combination to say the least. Hence, there's not even a theme keeping them all together, it's really just the cast (one might blow away even this point because the main cast changes slightly over the course of the story but this doesn't happen more than normal in a series of this length). The overarching storyline seems like something which was necessary so it was fiddled in along the lines, and it does seem at times like it would have best been left out altogether for the sake of quality. At the end of the series I found myself left with one big question: "What was it actually about?" Although that is exactly the same question one might ask oneself after watching NGE or Lain, it is a negative thing here because it really isn't set up as a mindfuck (like those examples are). It simply bounces around a lot and - while not making it feel like an indecisive story this way (which Code Geass suffered from) - it does show early on that it doesn't have the depth it lets you expect it to have. No matter how many digsites you explore, if you only dig up the first few inches you're not going to do any discoveries in any of them.

Sadly the characters are hard to empathize with. The cast is quite interesting and it would have been great to explore these characters a bit more (even though the focus of the entire series shifts to Jo near the end even this exploration of the character does little more than scratch the surface a bit). Instead, we are left with lots of action scenes which seem to have a similar structure throughout most of the series - a monster is introduced, captures Meg, and runs off into a cliffhanger, the next episode basically starts with Jo entering the hide-out through some magical way of knowing where it is and spends the rest of the episode fighting the opponent when he's not busy providing some perverted fanservice with Meg. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's almost laughable how the creators expect us to feel sorry for Meg when Jo leaves her behind in the last episode (which anyone with a bit of common sense could have predicted about 5 episodes earlier). Not helping this case is the aforementioned fanservice, which is extremely prevalent throughout the entire series and gets to levels that will make controversy-hunters forget about DOAX2 and the like entirely. The series doesn't try to hide in the slightest that it views its characters as tools at times, and that doesn't help improve the empathy a lot.

The main reason you'll want to watch the series is it's amazing animation, particularly the action scenes, combined with a great soundtrack. Most of the action scenes are undoubtedly CGI, but it's easy to even screw up CGI (as can be seen in Gonzo's attempt which preceded Burst Angel by a year or so - the first Full Metal Panic! series) and they've done a remarkably good job at not doing so. The animation matches Ghost in the Shell at moments and the soundtrack (which at some point feels a lot like a mash-up of Cowboy Bebop and F.E.A.R., however strange that may sound) is definitely something that keeps you excited and pondering about the outcome.

It doesn't have bad characters, it doesn't have bad themes and it doesn't have a bad story, but none of these will be a reason for anyone to actually watch this series because there are lots of others which are better at all three of them. However, if you are looking for a mildly experimental series, philosophical at times but not going too deep for the average viewer, and mind-blowing action scenes, it is definitely worth a watch - assuming you can look past some occasional minor flaws.

Jelco
Last edited by jelco on Sun Nov 23, 2008 10:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby shinygerbil » Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:59 pm

Nodame Cantabile!

NODAME CANTABILE!!!
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Postby Xarlaxas » Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:46 am

I need to watch that!
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Postby Pinky » Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:22 pm

I've heard good things about Code Geauss from my friends, I'm going to go get that off them at some point.

Until then, I'm keeping to my as-it-airs-in-Japan Bleach.
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Postby faemir » Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:44 pm

FMA. And yes I read the manga, it's miles better. I cannot wait for the reboot in a few months!

(By the way, this is my first post as a regular member to this forums instead of for a tech visit 1/5 years ago :))
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Postby RabidZombie » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:32 pm

faemir wrote:FMA. And yes I read the manga, it's miles better. I cannot wait for the reboot in a few months!

(By the way, this is my first post as a regular member to this forums instead of for a tech visit 1/5 years ago :))


Welcome. You seem not to be highly irritating and seem to have a grasp of grammar. You have a huge head-start in being liked around here already. ;)
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Postby faemir » Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:32 am

What?! Another sane/normal person on the internet? I must be dreaming :lol:
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Postby jelco » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:05 pm

I'm perfectly sane as well, despite my essays in this topic. ;)

Jelco
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Postby MaximusBrood » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:27 pm

jelco wrote:I'm perfectly sane as well, despite my essays in this topic.

Those two ideas are fundamentally incompatible.
And that is even excluding your compulsion to sign every post with your name.
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Postby Xocrates » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:31 pm

Sanity is for the weak!

hahaHAHAHahahahaHAHA!
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Postby Ebola » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:35 pm

MaximusBrood wrote:
jelco wrote:I'm perfectly sane as well, despite my essays in this topic.

Those two ideas are fundamentally incompatible.
And that is even excluding your compulsion to sign every post with your name.


He could sign every post with PGP, now that would be annoying.
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Postby xyzyxx » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:52 pm

If you enjoyed one of these, you should see the others.

Code: Select all

Azumanga Daioh
School Rumble
Pani Poni Dash
Kodocha
Strawberry Marshmallow

Are there more anime that should be on this list?
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Postby jelco » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:53 pm

I think Lucky Star and Toradora! can be put up there as well (not too sure about the latter).

Jelco
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Postby jelco » Thu Jan 01, 2009 4:30 pm

I just watched Sword of the Stranger to kick off the new year. In one word: excellent. The story may at first not seem very original but is very touching and really makes you care for the characters more than I have ever done for characters from a movie. Truly epic battles (I think it can be likened to the LOTR movies in some scenes, and believe me, pulling that off in animated form is truly amazing) including some slightly gruesome kills, but it really adds to the movie's feeling for detail. Sublime animation, extremely coloured and detailed backdrops and some extremely well-placed subtleties. ('Snow' doesn't really spoil it for you, but it is a really good example.)

You have to watch this in high quality; I watched the Blu-ray rip at 1280x720, and it's definitely worth the long downloading time. I am seriously considering buying this one, it's an absolute must-see.

Jelco
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