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weyrbunny

Anime & Toons: What Are You Watching?

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This is a sequel to the Comparative Toons & Anime: What Are You Watching? thread on TWOP. I'm recreating it here, because the thread was invaluable for show recommendations, advance word on new cartoons or anime and comparative analysis. And because it was one of my favorite topics.
 
So...here's a place to discuss the plethora of anime and toons available on DVD, streaming online, on demand, airing in Japan, showing on NickToons or Disney XD...you name it. Plus manga, cons, and Cartoon Network or Toonami news as it relates. When an anime is picked up by Toonami in 2-6 years after the DVD release, it can of course get its own forum. In the interim, let's consolidate the conversation here. I'll start.
 
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I've been watching A Certain Magical Index on Funimation, and as of episode 14, I wouldn't recommend it. Initially I liked the characters and science vs. magic premise--it had me at "nun that bites"--but the execution is increasingly poor. There's so much exposition that I frequently just want characters to stop talking! There's so much exposition that hallways are exponentially longer on the way out of the building than on the way in, because characters need to infodump while running down the hallway. There's so much exposition...you get my point. I'm only still watching because I've heard that the sequel, A Certain Magical Scientific Railgun, is much better.
 
I'm also watching Black Lagoon on Toonami, and I'm thinking of re-watching Hellsing when I get a moment. I've seen both before, and both are favorites.

Edited by weyrbunny
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A Certain Magical Railgun is great. I've never watched Index to compare though.

 

I've stopped watching anime for awhile, but I'm back to it this season, maybe because I'm not watching many live action shows at the moment. Watching Kill La Kill (one of the best shows I've seen in years) and Riddle Story of Devil (Meh, based on a meh manga, but it's yuri). Also Selector Infected WIXOSS because I'm a sucker for the genre combo, and trying some Soul Eater Not, but this show saddens me; I was a fan of the original, and this is so moe and lame, and the visuals are so embarrassingly cheap where the original was so stylish and distinctive and awesome. (Kim Dahl tho, so I want to watch.)

Edited by Crim

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I heard Kill La Kill is getting a dub. How good of an anime is that? I hate to say it, but my anime interests don't go beyond Toonami and Pokemon. What else should I look into?

 

On CN, I watch Adventure Time and Teen Titans Go. Oh, and Robot Chicken, though the returns haven't been as great as in the past.

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Kill la Kill (try it out on Crunchyroll here) is sort of a caffeinated blend of throwbacks to shounen from the late '70s to early '80s, a ridiculously inspired premise, shout-outs to everything the creators ever did (and they used to work for Gainax), and general over-the-top craziness.  Given the staff's history, it had prerelease hype as "The Show That Will Save Anime," which... it isn't.  Still, while it has a couple of stretches of messy pacing, I thought it was worthwhile fun to watch, because at the very least the spectacle of it all keeps the attention.

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Catching up on Attack on Titan, Venture Bros. and Archer on Netflix.  I just love the animation for all three.

 

Outside of that, my cartoon lineup is the Animation-Domination lineup, mainly Family Guy and American Dad.  I miss the lineup of yesteryear with King of the Hill.

 

Adultswim wise, I catch King of the Hill and American Dad repeats.

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I'm going to the AnimeNEXT show next week, and I'd like to check out new stuff. Here's the schedule . .  . I know at minimum, I'll have to wake up extra early on Saturday to catch One Piece: Strong World, which I heard rocks hard, and who knows when/if Toonami will broadcast it. Any other suggestions on anime or panels would be appreciated.

Edited by Lantern7

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On Friday: Wolf Children is outstanding. It's by the team that made The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars and is mature, philosophical and beautifully touching. Genre-wise, it's mostly a modern drama with a few supernatural details.

 

Over the years, people have also recommended Space Adventure Cobra, Redline and Paranoia Agent to me. That AnimeNext has all 3 at once is kind've impressive.

 

I wish I was going to the "Light, Spike, and Alucard Walk Into A Bar... How the Anti-Hero Works" panel, just 'cause I gravitate towards the noir bad boys.

 

 

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weyrbunny . . . I wound up just going to see Strong World, anime-wise. I wound up getting there so early, the path between the convention center and the hotel was clear of people. I also thought of you when I saw the anitheroes panel had been canceled.

 

Panel-wise, I wound up seeing stuff on anime fandom, Ninja Warrior, a talent showcase-style exhibit hosted by Michelle Knotz, a panel on anime we're never going to get, and great opening themes (for which I recognized nine). I also tried visiting abridged series panels, but I got shut out both times. Out of the "Anime We're Never Going To Get" thing, the one standout was Saint Young Men, which is basically the adventures of Buddha. And Jesus. In modern-day Japan. As a comedy. There was also stuff like Legend of Galactic Heroes, but it isn't as bonkers as seeing Jesus as an otaku.

 

BTW, if anybody's into One Piece, there's a forum on p.tv that I've frequented, and I made up threads about the manga and Strong World (which kicked ass, natch), as well as trying to keep up with the episodes. I'd be interested in any Toonami-related forums, though the only other ones up so far are for Naruto and Black Lagoon. I would've guessed that somebody had set up an Attack On Titan forum, especially with the number of cosplayers I saw wearing those jackets last weekend. Speaking of which, here are the pictures from AnimeNEXT. Lots of quality animation was represented through cosplay, and there were a lot of characters that I'd never expect to see, like Brook (from One Piece) and Ms. Bellum (Powerpuff Girls). Also, a lady Jawa.

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Saint Young Men sounds like it's right up my alley, so I'm adding it to my list of shows to look for. Thanks!
 

Also a PTV how-to: Show Forums by Genre is in the works and there is an animation category. As of June 11, here's what's listed:

 

Adventure Time | American Dad | Archer | Attack on Titan | Axe Cop | Batman: The Animated Series | Black Dynamite | Black Lagoon | Blue Exorcist | Bob's Burgers | The Boondocks | Chozen | Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey | Family Guy | The Flintstones | Futurama | Jem | Justice League | King Of The Hill | The Legend of Korra | Looney Tunes | Metalocalypse | Naruto: Shippuden | One Piece | Regular Show | Rick and Morty | Robot Chicken | Sailor Moon | The Simpsons | South Park | Star Trek: The Animated Series | Superman: The Animated Series | Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles | The Tom and Jerry Show | Total Drama | Triptank | The Venture Brothers | X-Men

 

You can "follow" Show Forums by Genre and it'll be listed under your My Shows where it says "topics" . At least until PTV fully integrates the genre-sorting functionality. Hope this helps.

 

the anitheroes panel had been canceled

Because I'm watching Black Lagoon currently, my first thought at this was " Well, they were probably afraid the bar would be destroyed in the gunfight between antiheroes".

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Here's the blog on what got covered at the "Anime We'll Never Get Panel." There was some interesting stuff, like mecha maids, a bartender-based anime, sports anime, and Saint Young Men, which is still bonkers to me. And here's what was covered in the "Great Openings" panel. I would've thrown in Neon Genesis Evangelion and at least one theme from Asian Kung Fu Generation, but that's me.

 

ETA: Also off the hook . . . Legend of Koizumi, which is like Yu-Gi-Oh!, only with mahjong instead of a children's card game, and world leaders instead of snot-nosed kids. Here's the (unsubbed) trailer with Bushes Sr. and Jr.

Edited by Lantern7
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Anyone catch that Disney actually is coming out with a SEVEN DWARFS cartoon?  (called "The 7D").  Er.  Wow.  It's certainly a property they've never approached using before.

 

From the promo material, the Dwarves actually don't look anything like the Snow White movie dwarfs., but apparently have the same names and approximate traits.


4zzkqmt.jpg


Edited by Kromm

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I used to hang around in the TWoP thread sometimes (as ryan227) but I missed the end because I've been super busy in the last month.

 

Reading that post about anime we'll probably never get reminded me of Big Windup!: Summer Tournament Chapter/Ookiku Furikabutte: Natsu no Taikai-hen.  The first season was licensed by Funimation and clearly did not sell because they didn't bother with the second season.  It's a base ball series based off of a manga by the same author as Saint Young Men and it's just great!  It's a big shame that the second season isn't even streaming online and I think that probably has a lot to do with when it came out, if it had been released a few years later I bet it would have at least been on Crunchyroll or something.  I've managed to watch the second season so what makes me a lot sadder now is that there will never be a third season.  I'd highly recommend watching both seasons, I don't even like sports anime and I haven't even been able to watch much of any other but I blasted through those two seasons.

 

Another great series that Funimation will never release the second season of is Mushishi but luckily that's been picked up by Aniplex/Crunchy Roll and is easily view-able online.  If anyone hasn't seen the first season I highly recommend that and the second season as well.  There's supposed to be a third season in the fall but it seems the studio has run in to financial problems.

 

As for this season there are a ton of shows I'm interested in but because it just started, nothing I can recommend yet.  I will say that Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun seems really funny and is probably my favorite of the shows I've watched so far.  Also watch out for Terror in Resonance which hasn't started yet but has a Yoko Kanno soundtrack and is directed by Shinichiro Watanabe... ah just like Kids on the Slope which I actually didn't even watch,

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Appropriately to a recent post mentioning Mushi-Shi, I came to recommend a show that Hulu accurately decided I would probably like based on my having watched that and putting the current series on alert. Natsume's Book of Friends is the story of a teenage boy who's inherited his grandmother's ability to see youkai, and also her book of names that she's taken from the youkai she's defeated in battle. Everyone wants the book, because it gives its holder power over all the youkai named within, but all Natsume wants to do is return the names and get as close to living a normal life as he can. Complicating matters further is Madara/Nyanko-Sensei, the extremely powerful youkai to whom Natsume has willed the Book of Friends if he dies before releasing all the names, and who has declared himself Natsume's guardian until such time. (Guardian. Not friend. Don't even think about suggesting that they like each other.) And who also spends most of his time in the form of a living lucky cat statue, which most of Natsume's friends assume is just Natsume's very fat and ugly pet.

 

It's definitely similar to Mushi-Shi in the basic premise -- guy sees supernatural creatures that nobody else does and helps solve the relatively small problems they cause -- and in the fact that it's mostly a quiet, low-key series, but it's a far more emotional show, and it has a knack for doing sharp turns between "aw, cute" and "OW MY FEELINGS."

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Mocking Wolverine's anime preferences--I'm pretty sure this is exactly why the Internet was invented. I can't stop picturing him watching Sailor Moon after reading that.
 

I don't even like sports anime and I haven't even been able to watch much of any other but I blasted through those two seasons.

 
Is Big Windup! the one with the encyclopedic explanation of pitching? If so, my reaction was the same as yours: I ignore sports animes, but it was so surprisingly mature and even educational--attempting to "coach" adolescents towards emotional intelligence--that I was impressed.

 

And, wow, thanks for the news about a new Shinichiro Watanabe/Yoko Kanno series. From Terror in Resonance's description, I'm getting shades of Eden of the East and Serial Experiments Lain--both absolute favorites.

Edited by weyrbunny

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Not so much a show that I'm watching as a show I watched previously plus a commercial that I'm seeing now. If you watch the "Stickers" ad for the MacbookAir that's running now, about 11 seconds in there's one with a cute kitten "eating" the Apple logo. That's Chi from Chi's Sweet Home. I can't imagine that more than a fraction of a percent of Apple's target market in the US would even recognize the character, so maybe they're going to run the same ad in Japan. Or maybe the ad was created in Japan. There's also a very brief shot of a whole bunch of chibi stickers, which I presume are anime related.

 

Incidentally, Chi's Sweet Home is the warmest, fuzziest, most feelgood show that was ever produced. The two most traumatic things that happen in the entire show are

Chi getting lost, and a dog barking at her.

Edited by Sandman87
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Thanks for the recommendations! I've been out of active anime watching for a few years and went to AnimeFest in Dallas last weekend, with my teen nephew. (It was his first con and he loved it!)

 

I tried Attack on Titan, and the episodes I saw were tight, but damn! Glad I am in this world currently. I also caught some The Files of Young Kendaichi Returns and enjoyed that some.

 

Anything with Yoko Kanno doing music gets a try from me, since Cowboy Bebop.

 

With my nephew urging me on, here's to jumping back into anime!

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You might also check out Darker than Back and the sequels. Yoko Kanno did some of the music, plus there's an opening theme by Abingdon Boys School. The third episode of Gemini of the Meteor has an action track that I particularly like.

It's a little difficult to describe the show without spoiling things in the first few episodes, but it has a very interesting take on super powers. They tend to be lethal. A lot.

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I tried Attack on Titan, and the episodes I saw were tight, but damn! Glad I am in this world currently.

 

I saw the first two episodes of this, and wow, it brought me way down. I did try to read recaps to try and figure out the story, but it just would have gotten bleaker it seems. The animation and production is well done, but I can't get behind the story or most of the characters.

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For a couple years now, I’ve been intrigued by the glimpses of Blue Submarine No. 6 that I’ve seen on Toonami. I finally sought it out online…

 

I like it a lot. I like it enough to wish that it were more than just OVAs or even that there were a remake (shocking, for me). The show’s plot, themes, even characters are nothing new, certainly—hell, they were well-used when this thing came out in the late 90s. (There are shades of Nausicaa’s environmental themes, Bubblegum Crisis’ monster battles and a lot more borrowed from The Island of Dr. Moreau.) But the style and storytelling are kinda great. When the story is still and quiet, it’s mesmerizing…the apocalypse is beautiful. It uses visual storytelling well, too. I was reminded of Gungrave’s sophisticated flashbacks and montages a few times, though that came out 5 years after. There are also various stylistic similarities to Cowboy Bebop, and not just the jazz.

 

I also really liked the character design because…um, yeah, I’m realizing I have a type. Hayami, the main character, has Spike’s indolent cool, Hei’s physique (collarbones) and Ichise’s detached taciturnity. (From Cowboy Bebop, Darker than Black and Texhnolyze, respectively.) There’s barely any character development, but the archetypes are at least well-executed.

 

BTW, a couple years ago I mocked the mecha space crab in VanDread. Turns out mecha sea creatures can be something other than a joke after all—the detailed designs here are intriguing.

 

And speaking of sea creatures, this has to be the only time ever a mutant whale delivers an epic death speech worthy of Roy Batty in Blade Runner.

 

There are flaws of course in Blue Submarine No. 6, one of them being the endlessly repetitive CGI explosions. I gather that CGI was a new toy at the time and, like kids, they didn’t know when to leave it alone.

 

You might also check out Darker than Back and the sequels. Yoko Kanno did some of the music..

 

You know, I always appreciate it when you recommend Darker than Black--thanks! And I wanted to add: Yoko Kanno's music is mostly featured in season 1 of DTB, but season 2's soundtrack by Yasushi Ishii is excellent too. (He's known for the soundtrack on Hellsing, if you're following the music.)

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Speak of the devil…or DC Comics: I’ve been watching Green Lantern: The Animated Series. I normally ignore kid’s shows like this, but I’m visiting relatives who have no cable and the slowest DSL possible, so I’m digging through library shelves out of desperation.

 

It’s a solid show, even though I can’t help but be cynical that the entire thing was designed to sell action figures. The character design, the design of everything, is so conveniently plastic! The animation quality is top notch, at least, and many of the space scenes are striking.

 

The storytelling is also really tight. Even the episodes that seem like silly filler have details that end up being used later. It’s still a kid’s show, so there’s plenty to roll your eyes at, and some of the writing seems shorthanded and lazy—don’t get me started on the number of times that

characters come back from the dead

. But there are two episodes near the end—“Loss” and “Cold Fury”— that are truly outstanding. Damn...they're gut-punches. Maybe it’s the moment of cyberpunk body horror that’s handled with more emotional brutality than most anime can muster in the same situation.

 

It’s just too bad that the rest of the season doesn’t quite live up to those two episodes, and in some ways undermines them. There are just too many misogynistic female hysteria tropes, ultimately. When male characters try to apply logic without emotion it’s called pride or evil, for example. When female characters do the same thing, it’s called instability and literally, “madness”—really poor word choice, show. The story’s still compelling to the end. But I wish they had come up with a less-dated, more original way to resolve it.

 

I’m glad I ventured outside my comfort/genre zone for once though and do recommend Green Lantern. It turned out to be a fast and engaging watch.

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They didn't sell action figures, because the movie stunk on ice. It was one heck of a series, though, and I think they use the animation better than Beware the Batman. You had two great made-for-TV characters in Aya and Razer. Also: Larfleeze. So cool to get a fan favorite character, especially when he's Gollum in Space.

 

Speaking of DC Comics stuff: can you get ahold of Young Justice? That show deserved another season. Stupid Cartoon Network, dumping everything that isn't Teen Titans Go . . .

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Aya and Razer really were the best thing in Green Lantern. Both total archetypes, but both still emotionally believable and endearing. (They’re funny, too, which I loved.) And it answers a couple of my questions to learn they were created for the TV show. They seemed more modern than the other characters—Razer literally sits around and broods, for example. I thought maybe the show was trying to balance some of its old-fashioned-ness or appeal to multiple audiences, but I guess it’s as simple as the characters being created in different eras.

 

I wasn’t that interested in Larfleeze, having no nostalgia for him, but I did really enjoy St. Walker and his smart-ass lines.

 

BTW, the funniest moment in the show (IMO) was when Razer, being without his powers, silently throws a severed Manhunter head at the alien in “Babel” aka “the episode on the Galaxy Quest planet,” as I think of it. I’m still snickering over that.

 

And I’ll look for Young Justice—thanks! I vaguely remember watching an episode or two when it was airing, because the word-of-mouth was so strong.

 

PS. I agree with much of IGN’s Green Lantern Season 1 review. (And you were right about the lack of actions figures, though I stand by my impression that the character design looks plastic.)

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We’ve zipped through Young Justice. I respect it, but my appraisal of the show is decidedly mixed. Season 2 lived up to the hype. Season 1…well, it’s like they were still figuring out how to make a TV show. I appreciate Green Lantern's consistent quality even more now, especially its storytelling.

 

It took a long time for the storytelling to click in Young Justice's S1, and frankly, we snark-watched most of it because of this. After about the 5th time that Superboy lost his shirt in a fight, we dubbed him Beefcake and the snickering took over. One of my relatives thought the villain names in particular were hysterical. (She laughed so hard at Queen Bee and Sportsmaster, she had to sit down on the rug.) It was all a symptom of our not being engaged by the story, of course. Because the storytelling was…problematic seems like too strong a word, but there were definitely problems. Like continuity basics. I can’t think of another show where I actually had to pause it and make sure I hadn’t skipped an episode, because the show handled continuity so poorly. I’m not talking about YJ’s episodes that began in medias res and then flashed back to the beginning, nor am I talking about the episodes with time jumps. Those worked fine ultimately and were part of the show’s storytelling style. There was just an awkwardness to some episodes, a lack of context that Green Lantern, for example, didn’t have a moment of.

 

I also didn’t care for YJ’s pattern of letting important, seemingly more interesting events occur off-screen, and then info-dumping about those events rather than exploring them. (Example: Red Arrow’s story in both seasons.) It struck me that the show just wanted to skip to the fight scene, or to jump to the plot twist for shock value, but it didn’t want or know how to put the effort into getting there. Oh, and the recapping thing. I still can’t fathom why YJ would often overexplain events that occurred in the prior episode, or heck, even 10 minutes before, but then it would stupidly fail to recap the relevant events from 20 episodes ago. Shouldn’t that be a storytelling basic they have figured out?!?

 

Fortunately, Young Justice excelled at two things: emotional complexity and plot ambition. This saved it. And, season 2’s storytelling was more consistent than season 1 (IMO), with better execution and less repetitive fight scenes, for example. The show’s emotional depth was impressive from start to finish though, even when it was really teen-angsty. And for this, I respect the show. It had a lot of good ideas, complex ideas, and it knew how to go for the pain.

 

Speaking of…Nightwing had better be using his sabbatical to bring back

Wally

. I don’t care if resurrection after being zapped by energy didn’t go well for Buffy.

 

...Young Justice? That show deserved another season.

 

Yes, it did. Because it had 7,000 subplots and characters that needed attention. OK, I exaggerate. But only by about 6,000.

 

PS. I just read that this weekend (Sept 27, 2014) marks the end of Beware the Batman—yet another DC Comics show seemingly abused by Cartoon Network and then cancelled after one season. Will they never learn?

 

PPS. Hello Kitty isn't a cat, but is anything really anything anymore, man?

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Thanks for the heads-up. I just checked the [as] schedule to confirm that the show will be burnt off this Saturday. Like I don't have enough reason to burn through the DVR backlog. I don't know what will take the show's place in the Toonami lineup . . . or the slot of Space Dandy, which is wrapping up its second season this weekend.

 

And thanks for giving Young Justice a chance, weyrbunny. I was impressed with the show overall, even with Mal's impotence, all the soap opera, and Megan M'ndraping. On the bright side, you had an alternative version/origin for Beast Boy, the onions of the Reach's plan, and the awesomeness that was Impulse. I don't think you can capture the magic of the Waid/Ramos run, but the writers (Peter David included) came pretty damn close.

 

Quick question . . . how do y'all feel about Teen Titans Go? I like it, but I understand the frustration of seeing Cartoon Network kill DC properties over and over.

 

ETA: Here are sketches I've gotten of Impulse, Artemis, Beast Boy, Tye Longshadow, and the Reach Ambassador.

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Always happy to try a recommended show. Looking back at what I wrote, my criticisms of Young Justice were fairly picky. There’s a lot I liked about it that I just didn’t delve into: a wealth of characters, relationships, themes and plots. (Superboy/Beefcake was eventually a nuanced, sympathetic character and I actually resented it when he faded into the background in season 2, for example.) YJ’s emotional complexity really was stellar, as were some individual episodes. I just think the show was more interested in the forest than the trees, and that made the execution seem sloppy.

 

Toonami Tumblr says: on Oct. 4, Space Dandy begins re-airing at 3am, with Naruto: Shippuden moving into Dandy’s 12:30am slot followed by the other shows moving up a 1/2 hour. No new shows…grumble. Oh, but Korra Book 4 begins on Oct. 3!

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Just curious if anybody has been watching Pokémon. They introduced Hawlucha, a luchador-themed Pokémon, and it has joined Ash's fledgling team in Kalos. You can read about Hawlucha here, along with other unique critters of the current generation.

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I've been checking out a lot of modern anime lately and the one that is the most fascinating to me is Bakemonogatari.

 

Not because it's the best. My god it's a mess of a series in a lot of ways. But because each of its qualities are so polarizing. I think there are a lot of people who would consider some the cons in the following list as pros (and vice versa.) And I wouldn't even disagree with them, it's just a matter of preference. It takes a lot of qualities I think of when I think of anime and pushes them to the extreme (for better or worse.)

 

Art

Pros: Top notch. The drawings are really well done. Some of the best I've seen. Backgrounds are simplistic and geometric-heavy but stylized in an appealing way. 

Cons: A lot of the art end up being close ups on T&A. Sometimes uses a muted and small color palette. There are a ton of still frames that go flashing by so fast you can barely appreciate them.

 

Animation

Pros: Again, very stylized and uses camera movement and angles more than character movement. It's the anime version of the West Wing, but instead of walking-and-talking it uses other techniques to get movement on a screen where the two characters are talking.

Cons:  There's a lot of corner cutting in the animation and some use of computer graphics. 

 

Story

Pros: It's based on a series of novels and begins kinda in media res so there is a lot of mystery to the world. It also switches POV characters like the Game of Thrones books and has an anachronic order like in Pulp Fiction so there are some fun foreshadowing/revelation moments.

Cons: It's slooow. As mentioned before, there is a TON of dialogue. Lot of monologuing too. Much of it is bloated dialogue as well, lots of words to say little of substance.

 

Characters:

Pros: Characters are multi-faceted and have hidden depths. Most of the series revolves around them working out their character flaws. They're also over-the-top, leading to silly antics.

Cons: Takes a while to find those depths. Some characters act like idiots/perverts/bitches most of the time. There seem to be a lot of pun jokes that don't translate well to English.

 

Audio

Pros: Good theme music, fun intro songs, talented voice actors.

Cons: Main female character (in the video below) is devoid of any emotion by design. I know she's a fan favorite, but I never really cared for her.

 

I think showing is better than telling so here's an example (it's long so you can just skip around to see samples of animation/music/dialogue)

Edited by jellysalmon

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Bakemonogatari (and the rest of the Monogatari series) entertains me endlessly every time I go back to watch an episode (or twelve, because it's one of those shows that will suck me back in when I just wanted to look at a single scene). If I were going to describe it to an anime fan, I would say that it's like Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, but with horror story-lines replacing the high-school hijinks and social commentary. Tons of plays on words (starting with the name of the series), Japanese cultural references, running gags, and so on.

 

What you mentioned as corner-cutting in the animation is largely a deliberate "look" that director Akiyuki Shinbo has cultivated, especially the whole "stationary textures on moving objects" thing. For other examples, see Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, Soul Taker, or Maria Holic.

Edited by Sandman87

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Looking back I'm not sure why I put that as a con because even though I have heard others complain about it, I personally really enjoy the look. All animation has to cut corners in some way stay in budget and I think Bakemonogatari does it in a really smart and aesthetically pleasing way.

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Does anyone know of a good blog/whatever for recent anime reviews? I usually only watch something after several recommendations, since I only have so much time to watch a new series these days.

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I usually start with The Nihon Review and then move on to My Anime List (aka MAL) or Anime News Network (aka ANN) for a broader spectrum of opinions. FYI, the Behind the Nihon Review blog has reviews of shows currently airing in Japan, as do MAL and ANN.

 

There are a couple other blogs I like for reviews, but they have more eccentric anime tastes (like me). Mecha-Guignol, for example.

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Dropping in to plug Wakfu, a French Flash-animated cartoon whose first season was just put up on Netflix, both subbed and dubbed. (Watch the subbed version. Seriously. This is not an argument I usually get into, but the English actors are really not great.) It's based on the MMORPG of the same name, so it's a fairly standard Five-Man-Band Fantasy Quest story about characters with disparate personalities and character classes becoming friends and fighting a Great Evil. Nothing you haven't seen before, but it's entertaining and visually appealing, and the characters are fun. There is a second season in existence that they promise will be subbed/dubbed, but I don't know when, and the first season works as a self-contained arc while still leaving plenty of room for more stuff to happen.

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Dropping in to plug Wakfu, a French Flash-animated cartoon whose first season was just put up on Netflix, both subbed and dubbed. (Watch the subbed version. Seriously. This is not an argument I usually get into, but the English actors are really not great.) It's based on the MMORPG of the same name, so it's a fairly standard Five-Man-Band Fantasy Quest story about characters with disparate personalities and character classes becoming friends and fighting a Great Evil. Nothing you haven't seen before, but it's entertaining and visually appealing, and the characters are fun. There is a second season in existence that they promise will be subbed/dubbed, but I don't know when, and the first season works as a self-contained arc while still leaving plenty of room for more stuff to happen.

I always see the name getting thrown around and I've been meaning to check it out. I like the idea of watching something in French, is there something similar that you can compare it to?

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I'm going to say it's kind of like a cross between the Dragonlace Chronicles and Avatar, which is both apt and completely misleading. Tonally it's far lighter and less complex than either, being very much a kids' show. (But like Avatar, there are some adult situations/jokes, a few questions about the consequences of one's actions quietly raised, and a couple episodes that will punch your feelings in the face.) The Dragonlance comparison is mostly in the aforementioned RPG basis, where everyone's got a clearly defined character class and the cast has been built as a balanced party of archetypes. You've got Tristepin/Percedal (depending on the language) the book-dumb-but-heroism-savvy Iop (warrior) swordsman, Ruel the wise and greedy Enutrof (treasure hunter) mentor, Amalia the naive and high-strung Sadida (plant wizard) princess, Evangeline the tomboyish and level-headed Cra (archer) bodyguard, and Yugo the cheerful and bighearted Eliotrope (portal wizard, among other things) child with an ancient destiny. (Yes, all the character classes in the game are either brand names or French words spelled backwards. The big bad for the first season is a Xelor. Three guesses what his specialty is.)

 

And the "cheerful and bighearted child with an ancient destiny" bit is where the Avatar comparison starts to come in, because this is the story of a little boy on a quest to learn to use his abilities and restore harmony to the world with the help of his not-much-older friends. Yugo and Aang would be BFFs in a heartbeat if they met, and they both come from stories where your BFFs are the thing that's going to save the world.

 

Visually, I don't have a lot to compare it to. The best I can offer to show off some of the animation style and the wide range of character designs is Youtube videos, and this is the best one a quick search turned up for showing off the characters and the world without spoiling the hell out of certain later developments.

Edited by Tabbyclaw
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Recent articles about Yoko Kanno’s Terror in Resonance soundtrack inspired me to look up her filmography and pick one I hadn’t watched before. I picked Wolf’s Rain.

 

Wolf's Rain is stunning. I am stunned by how good it is. It’s insanely beautiful, with an instantly fascinating story, and son of a bitch, the music is amazing! The soundtrack is more important to the storytelling than Cowboy Bebop’s I think, since Wolf’s Rain is more of a visual tone poem. I love how moody and atmospheric both the music and show are, of course.

 

The storytelling is the best kind of puzzle, too. On the surface, it’s a post-apocalyptic fairytale about wolves traveling on a quest, with aspects of The Odyssey, Alice in Wonderland and Watership Down folded in. (It also reminded me a lot of Castle in the Sky. But for adults.) But the story is also a complex philosophical allegory and creation myth. (That’s a good thing!) You don’t have to realize any of this, though—that the ending is Buddhist, for example—in order to be engaged by the story. The symbolism just adds another level of meaning to almost everything—it’s like Haibane Renmei in that way.

 

The story is a puzzle as I said, but the clues are steadily revealed in most episodes, so even if the beginning is too mysterious for you, details fill in quickly. (Apparently knowing about Shinto animal symbolism also helps.) I also really enjoyed how the story shuffles characters, letting different characters from different subplots intersect in unexpected ways.

 

I shouldn’t have been surprised by how good Wolf’s Rain is, really—its staff is amazingly talented. It was created and written by Keiko Nobumoto of Cowboy Bebop fame (and now Space Dandy) and directed and storyboarded by Tensai Okamura, who created/directed Darker than Black! (Perhaps you’ve read me rhapsodize about it?) Wolf’s Rain’s direction and visual storytelling is impeccable, btw.

 

There are elements that could be improved, of course: several main characters are less-developed, and while this makes them suitably mysterious and epic, it also relegates them to being Prophecy’s pawns at times. (Or Fate’s bitch, to use a Wonderfalls reference.) There was definitely more story and backstory introduced than the show could effectively explore. Also, one of the villains is crazy-evil because…a guy rejected her. Really? All that philosophical nuance and that’s the reason they went with? Ugggghhhhhhhh. OK, so Jaguara's failure to overcome rejection is actually important because it represents lack of enlightenment, but it still comes off as sexist and lazy writing.

 

Oh, and hopefully everyone knows this already since Wolf’s Rain came out in 2003, but SKIP THE 4 RECAP EPISODES!! (Eps. 15-18.) Even fast-forwarding through them as I did is a waste of time, and they kill the storytelling momentum.

 

I’m off now to re-listen to the Wolf’s Rain soundtracks for, like, the 5th time. And then I’m going to dig up Joni Mitchell’s Hejira, because I finally realized that’s what the soundtrack reminds me of.

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I saw a commercial on Toonami saying they're going to stop running Bleach. This comes after 366 episodes, which might be a record. Since there's no forum or thread for the show, I ask: what do you take away from the show?

 

In no particular order: Rukia's crap drawings, Orihime's breasts, that one girl who's an Orihime-sexual, the lucky dance, the insanity of Kenpachi and his sidekick girl whose name I can't remember, the mad scientist captain of Squad 10, Chad's eerie calm, Ichigo's ability to overcome anything thrown at him in a way that wasn't organic, and the filler. The endless, endless amount of filler. Also, the dope theme songs, like "Tonight Tonight Tonight," "Rolling Star," and that one tune from Asian Kung Fu Generation.

 

Out of curiosity: what [adult swim] anime would you welcome back into your life? I think we need a little Death Note in our lives, at least before an American film company makes their own version. And Paranoia Agent was trippy fun . . . though I'm not sure whether to pair Billy Joel's "Pressure" with it, or David Bowie's "Under Pressure."

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I noticed recently that Durarara!! series 2 starts in January, so it would be great if series 1 reaired. I think [as] lost rights to Durarara!! back in 2013, though.

 

And I still haven't gotten around to watching Seirei no Moribito, so I'd welcome its return. I've been hearing how great it is for years.

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Clip from the Halloween episode of Teen Titans Go. Normally, I wouldn't post a link like this, but I'm tickled by the image of the Titans dressed up as Thundercats. Well, except for Raven, who was Mumm-Ra, which is a nice touch. Even with the disgusting conclusion to that flashback (it involves what happens when you don't take the wrappers off your candy), I thought it was a cute crossover.

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Thinking of [adult swim] . . . anybody plan on watching Dragonball Z Kai starting tonight? I'm not, mostly because the TeamFourStar abridged series has wrecked all other versions for me. They made Nappa -- of all people -- into a breakout star and Mr. Popo into a sinister badass. And it's so funny.

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Being a Steve Blum completist, I've watched A Cat in Paris. It's a pleasant French animated film that could best be described as Kid's Noir. The story was too simple for my tastes, frankly. It lacked any hint of the philosophical complexity found in the best anime, for example. But, it did well in whimsy and style. The graphics are abstract modern art in style, retro, Picasso-esque even, maybe some German Expressionism influences...so if you like modern art like I do, it can be beautiful. It also has some well-done chase scenes and one set in complete darkness that made me appreciate the animators' creativity. There's an informative review at Movie Morlocks, BTW.

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I've started getting into AMVs. Here's one about OTP/shipping. I had to pause a few times to read the small print. Needless to say, the Eren Yeager/Edward Elric fanfic is pretty traumatic to read, even if the dialogue is rated PG-13. And I suspect everybody's tolerance of Haruhi is different, so to each their own. Personally, I found her extremely annoying, and I just watched her anime's first DVD.

 

ETA: Any thoughts about InuYasha: The Final Act? It's going to run on Toonami/[adult swim] starting this Saturday. I found the original anime to be one long blur with a few good moments. I'll give credit to Kagome, who was into the bow long before it became cool.

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Watched Colorful over the holiday…I can see why it won a bunch of film awards. It’s a slice-of-life drama about family dysfunction and emotional issues in modern Japanese life (i.e., emotional intelligence). The spiritual beginning reminded me of the outstanding Haibane Renmei, but that just turned out to be framing really, and ultimately Colorful delved into depression and the social conflicts of puberty (and modern society) more like Tokyo Godfathers. I think I was most impressed by how awkward and complex some of the conversations were and that the main character was allowed to stew in his anger and confusion, like a real teenager and not just a bratty stereotype.

 

But, it was too much of a message movie for my taste. It was well done—I respect its quality, but wish it had been less…It’s a Wonderful Life. There was just an undertone of old-fashioned social propaganda on family values and how people should conform to norms that bugged me. Some of it is very subtle: the characters make thoughtful decisions or try to be repair their relationships, which is great…and then the results only lead to things society moralizes about, like not going to art school, not getting divorced, etc. It undid some of its complexity by being very..."restoration of the nuclear family."

 

It also has layers of anger towards women or girls—all of the female characters are there to be judged or shamed in one form or another, and it’s usually sexual. Even the dead grandma is criticized (not about sex!). Some of it can be attributed to adolescent confusion about relationships with women, I think, and the movies’ point is that everyone has flaws, but when you compare what the men are criticized for (work or school), Colorful’s issues with women and sex become apparent.

 

Anyway, it's a good-quality film regardless, and if you gravitate towards slice-of-life and dramatic anime, it's definitely worth watching. The person I watched it with absolutely loved it and found it very uplifting, for example. But I'm just too sarcastic for "uplifting"...

Edited by weyrbunny

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Heads up: Toonami is going to be playing movies for the month of December. Summer Wars will be on tonight at 1 a.m.; next week brings Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos.

 

Also, for any DBZ fans hurt by the lack of Kai on Toonami for December: Team Four Star is doing "DBcember" for the month, counting down the best moments from DBZ and Dragonball . . .  but not GT, because that sucked (at least according to TFS).

 

ETA: Toonami unveils their lineup for 2015. InuYasha gets moved to 1 am., pushing back One Piece and Gurren Lagann, and they'll be replaying Deadman Wonderland and IGPX.

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Watched Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, the sequel to Vampire Hunter D, last night. The original was a classic, a pivotal moment in the way anime was produced and who it was produced for. This later movie...not so much.

 

As you might expect, the technical quality of the sequel is a lot higher. There are similarities: D must rescue someone from a big bad vampire, and the supernatural types/mutants opposing him are a freak show full of unique characters. Add in the fascinating post-post-post-apocalyptic setting and an interesting script, and the result should have been breathtaking. Unfortunately I watched the English dub, and was reminded of why I prefer subtitles. A lot of the dialog was delivered in a monotone, or mumbled, or just sounded tired.

 

A particular annoyance for me was D's "parasite" (actually more of a symbiote) left hand. In the original it delivered some snark and supporting dialog. In this installment it would not shut up, constantly bitching, kvetching, trying to get D to give up, screaming in fear, and just generally being annoying. It was basically like D had a Chris Rock character grafted to the end of his arm. Surprised that he didn't cut it off.

 

Anyway, it's a reasonably entertaining show with some obvious flaws.

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I’ve watched a couple anime this month…

 

First up was Patema Inverted, which I loved!! It’s a 2013 film about two cultures with opposite gravity, so when people interact they are always upside down and in danger of falling away from each other. Two teens from these cultures of course meet and explore the mystery of their worlds. The plot and characters are simplistic, but it’s hardly noticeable because Patema Inverted is impossibly beautiful and cleverly told. The sky and landscapes rival 5 Centimeters Per Second, the current standard for scenery porn—even the architecture is so stunning it’s worth basking in. (Only I do that? Eh, you’re missing out.) And, since gravity literally and figuratively represents perspective, the animation frequently switches to upside-down or vertiginous angles. (BTW, notice the slight yin-yang of the arms in the linked poster? It’s a recurring image/theme.) The direction of these complex scenes is simply great, the visual storytelling is sublime and one of the plot twists is just…neat. Oh, and it gets even better with a second viewing—many more clues to the mysteries are evident on re-watch.

 

I also zipped through I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying. It’s a short-form romantic comedy about newlyweds that makes fun of stuff like the husband being an otaku blogger and the wife being a drinker who can’t cook. It's non-stop social commentary, showing the couple build emotional intelligence as they learn about each other and how to be grown-ups. More importantly though, it’s really funny. Each 3-4 min. episode is so packed with laugh-out-loud moments, I often have to rewind because I’m still laughing at one joke when another one flies by. Anyway, Series 1 is free on CrunchyRoll (at least for now) and you can watch all 13 eps. in an hour. (Series 2 has been ordered.)

 

I’m now continuing on my Yoko Kanno kick with Kids on the Slope. I watched a handful of episodes when it first aired in 2012, but then, IDK, got too busy or it didn’t live up to the hype or something. But, I’m really enjoying it now.

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