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[In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#81
[#32] Brigadoon : Marin & Melan
(26 episodes)

What's it about ?

Hey, it's Sunrise making another flavour of mecha anime ! How surprising ! (Here's, it's a crossover with the mons genre.)

Characters

Marin, our protagonist, is a very energetic and cheerful middle-schooler. Also, an orphan, living with her grandma and helping out the finances by working part-time jobs such as delivering newspapers. With a bit of collateral damage, or course.

I could do without so much screentime being spent on the "joke" of bullies lifting up her skirt and embarrassing her. (It's as unsexy as possible, but still.) But apparently it's plot relevant, as a giant spaceship then starts blocking the skies, and a killer robot makes a beeline for her. Cue long chase scene.

Melan is another robot she activates accidentally (its small "at rest" form was hidden in a shrine she crashed into) ; it's very polite and effortlessly destroyed the attacker. And he'll be sticking around, as the next-episode preview promises more evil robots showing up in a quick succession.

Production Values

Quite good, and very colourful. Some unusual shading work, too, as we get spots of white to show off light instead of darker shades. It's a bright series. And of course you can always rely on Sunrise to make mecha look good.

Overall Impression

Hum. On the one hand, there are many lovely bits of cartooning here. It showcases two different bike chase-scenes, and yet they never get repetitive nor boring.

The problem is that Marin leaves me entirely cold. I find her perpetual cheerfulness more annoying than endearing. So a whole series of her and her pet mecha fighting drones with little personality isn't a prospect I find particularly attractive.

I'm probably just a bit too old for this.
 

Shimauma

Awaits the Ponylarity
Validated User
#82
Strange Dawn is notable at the very least as a historical curiosity: it features the director, lead writer, and composer for Princess Tutu, working together in those same positions for the first time. Unfortunately, I found it disappointing in the end, largely because it felt like it was supposed to be 40+ episodes and got cut short unexpectedly.
It got cut even shorter in that only two (of four) DVDs were released in the US, leaving me and all three other people who bought it hanging.
 

Shimauma

Awaits the Ponylarity
Validated User
#83
[#32] Brigadoon : Marin & Melan

The problem is that Marin leaves me entirely cold. I find her perpetual cheerfulness more annoying than endearing. So a whole series of her and her pet mecha fighting drones with little personality isn't a prospect I find particularly attractive.

I'm probably just a bit too old for this.
I remember Brigadoon shaping up into something rather good, although it had an occasional schizophrenic quality of jumping between silly hijinx and grim tearjerking moments on a dime.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#84
[#33] Hand Maid May
(10 episodes + 1 special)

What's it about ?

Wait, we didn't get a "Magical Girlfriend" series yet ? Only "Magical Baby" & "Magical Roommate" ? This is an oversight that MUST be fixed post-haste, whatever the cost.

Characters

Kazuya, our nerdy protagonist, is a college student with a heavy interest in electronics. To the point of spending most of his nights tinkering (and sleeping during classes).

Kasumi, his childhood friend and the assistant landlady of his apartment complex. She keeps checking on him way more than strictly necessary, often entering through the window. I doubt the way she's completely immodest in his presence is entirely innocent.

Nambara, his "rival" (Kazuya couldn't care less), who keeps trying to upstage him and/or cause him harm. He's a moron, but with enough money to be a nuisance ; and apparently in 2000 the old "virus on a disc" trick still worked.

Bizarrely Nambara's virus might have actually connected to a "real" website, as Kazuya nearly immediately receives a package. (And if you believe that was a real delivery woman, I have a bridge to sell you.) Inside : the titular May, a small android maid. Somehow Kazuya isn't bothered by not have passed any order, and just takes her in stride.

Production Values

Hello, fanservice ! Kasumi all but throws herself at Kazuya, and the camera loves to perv on her. As well as on May, of course.

... Although, really, it's a bit more tasteful and restrained than I expected at first. They didn't even clarify whether Kazuya jury-rigged the recharging USB cable into the front or the back slot.

Overall Impression

Sigh. There are a few decent jokes in here, but most of it felt stale or downright nonsensical. (Nambara's antics were especially painful.) And despite it being the whole premise, relatively little is made out of May yet. The show just doesn't manage to sell her as the catalyst for any semi-interesting stories, and that's a problem. It's almost like the show is too shy or embarrassed by its premise, and that just won't fly for an ecchi series. Especially when the main cast is so forgettable.

I have no interest in watching any more of this.
 

Dulahan

Active member
Validated User
#85
Somehow I missed the Saiyuki review.

Honestly, bad animation (Or really, lack of animation. Let's just do long still frames!) or not I still like the series. Mostly for the characters. Sanzo's amazing, snarky, interesting. The villains are actually fun. But yeah, it's got good dialog. And a snarky chainsmoking, pistol slinging, Buddhist monk (allegedly)? Yeah, I based a character for a Serenity game on him, ain't lying.

I remember we watched it in Anime Club and I got hooked, to the point I bought a lot of the DVDs. Though at some point I forgot to keep watching amidst other things happening, I should dig those out...
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#86
And already we're into the Fall season.

(Public Service Announcement : I may miss a couple of updates over the next few days. My buffer's still okay, but I'll be without proper Internet access for a little while.)


[#34] Descendants of Darkness (Yami no Matsuei)
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of an urban fantasy shojo manga series. With vampires !

Characters

The heroes are part of an agency that regulates the undead living hidden in our world. They're undead themselves, of course. (And nearly all handsome dudes, because shojo.) Most of the time this is just boring paperwork, but sometimes field agents are required to intervene.

Tsuzuki is one such field agent. Apparently so annoying and obnoxious that he just can't keep partners. Not that he looks so awful in this episode to me, but maybe he coworkers know something I don't.

Hisoka is a newbie who's been assigned as his new partner ; it's mutual irritation at first sight. The fact that he looks 16 (having died at that age) and Tsuzuki often treats him as such doesn't help.

Our first case of the season involves a vampire serial killer in the area they're assigned to ; cue their squabbling while investigating it.

Production Values

Decent enough, but those are very "modern shojo" character designs indeed, all angles.

Overall Impression

Hmmm. There's some entertaining stuff here, especially the quirky premise... but the execution feels slightly lacking ; I can't quite pinpoint it (the leads not being that charismatic ? the lack of suspense ? the case of the week not being very interesting ?), but it just doesn't grab me.

Maybe it's the all-male cast (aside from the baddie) rubbing me the wrong way. I don't think I'm the target audience.
 

Solarn

Registered User
Validated User
#87
Yami no Matsuei was one of the premier yaoi series of the early 2000's. It has a lot of the staples of early mainstream yaoi: overwrought drama for its own sake, exaggerated gender roles (since both romantic leads are male and thus lack immediately obvious visual cues as to their roles) leading to unsympathetic protagonists in a pathetic wimpy uke and an abusively macho seme, rape, torture, physical and emotional abuse, and a truly repulsive villain presented with inexplicable sympathy.
 
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salinea

grievous lack of
Validated User
#88
Oh, Yami no Matsuei... the nostalgy (it's a pretty crap work).

It actually does some weird things in term of typical seme/uke role... I'm not sure who Solarn thinks is the abusively macho seme.
 

Solarn

Registered User
Validated User
#89
Oh, Yami no Matsuei... the nostalgy (it's a pretty crap work).

It actually does some weird things in term of typical seme/uke role... I'm not sure who Solarn thinks is the abusively macho seme.
Turns out that I was thinking more of the fandom depictions of the characters (and conflating the series with the other big yaoi anime of the early 2000's, Gravitation), as after reading up on it, the Hisoka/Tsuzuki dynamic is actually different from how I remembered. In my defense, I haven't watched it in over a decade.
 
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salinea

grievous lack of
Validated User
#90
Ah, yes, Gravitation. Man that canon was nuts. And much more canon actual yaoi than Yami (which was pretty classical yaoi bait without actually being text BL beyond rapes by villains and comical sexual harassment).
 
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