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[LTTP/WIW] Various anime from the 00s and beyond

Dulahan

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#82
And in other news, I've just reached the "Land of Adults" episode of Kino's Journey. I didn't expect that at all (and certainly not so soon), and it was very creepy indeed. Real knife in the gut, that one.
Heh. It really is!
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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#83
Rec.
(10 12-minute episodes, 2006)

My previous exposure

None, beyond the notion that this is an early Studio SHAFT show, and I thought I should watch more of those.

(Also, I needed some counter-programming for Mushishi.)

What's it about ?

A junior advertising worker drone starts housing a rookie voice-actress after her flat burns down. One thing leads to another, although their relationship is quite rocky indeed.

It doesn't help that she then gets hired on his next project (not that he had any role in the decision), and she prefers to keep their relationship hidden so that the conflict of interests isn't too obvious. Awkwardness ensues.

What did I think of it ?

I only noticed it too late : Shinbo didn't direct this. So, none of his usual quirks are present, and this is a bog-standard romantic comedy with no creativity whatsoever in the photography. Oops.

Still, does it work on that level ? Well, just barely. The plot doesn't go anywhere interesting in the very short running length, the characters don't have much maturity or personality, and the supporting cast remain caricatures. There's a semi-interesting plotline about the female lead's career that feels more genuine than most depictions of the voice-acting business, but nothing to go out of your way for.

It doesn't help that the format actively works against the story. The 12-minute length is a brutal mistress, and it's obvious the story has been arbitrarily cut in pieces to fit it. (The first episode doesn't even manage to establish the premise !) Also annoying are the random scene transitions every three minutes or so that are so jarring they took me out of the show.

I won't say it was painful to watch, but there's very little to recommend here.
 

ru

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#84
It doesn't help that the format actively works against the story. The 12-minute length is a brutal mistress, and it's obvious the story has been arbitrarily cut in pieces to fit it.
If it's any consolation the manga jumps the shark something chronic not too long after the events depicted in the series.
 

Dawgstar

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#85
Re: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Vandread

a 26 episode series about a Boy from an all male planet meets a girl from an all female planet when a ship from each planet is merged together to form one crew. Hilarity and Action ensues as people learn to live with one other despite different cultures plus awesome Mecha action.
Vandread's a fun look at gender politics in space opera, and a personal favorite. (Fun fact: It helped kill Geneon in the US. They were riding high off the success of Trigun, and thought that we'd buy EVERYthing in those numbers and ridiculously over-printed the series in the States.)
 

JELEINEN

Sizzler Black Squadron
Validated User
#86
Re: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Rec definitely has its flaws, but I enjoyed it. If you want earlier Shinbo, you might try checking out Starship Girl Yamamoto Youko.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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#87
Kino's Journey
(13 episodes + 3 specials, 2003, 2005, 2007)

My previous exposure

Suggested in this very thread. And I vaguely remember having heard of it before.

What's it about ?

Our protagonist Kino travels between various countries, atop her faithful motorbike Hermès. (Who can talk. Don't ask.)

What did I think of it ?

This is a very episodic series, alternating between several tales in a single episode, up to a two-parter halfway through. The setup is basically always the same : Kino arrives in a new town/country, learns about their customs, stuff happens, and she leaves after three days. The whole thing is an excuse for exploring human sociology, and why they do what they do, however pointless it is. In particular, there's a great unspoken ironic parallel in the "3 men and the railroad" between the 3's pointless task, the "country where people don't need to work (but do anyway, because doing something pointless is better than doing nothing)" tale-within-a-tale, and Kino's own aimless wandering.

Kino is a very compelling protagonist, despite us barely ever getting into her head at all. She doesn't talk much and offers no inner monologue ; Hermès's whole role is to offer a naive proxy for the viewer so as to try and understand her. A few episodes offer some explanations about her backstory, although a great deal is left unsaid. What little we do get to see, though, I really like ; the Colosseum two-parter shows she's got a strong sense of justice and a nasty sense of humour. I also like that she sometimes completely fucks up (seriously, driving that family of androids to suicide can't have been her intention).

Another strong point of the series is that it knows how to vary tones across its tales ; it can go from the cheerful story of the first airplane to the grim and bloody Colosseum two-parter. The soundtrack is intriguing ; along with some direction effects, it often emphasizes the artificiality of the story and injects a dimension of "something's not quite right" that contrasts nicely with the naive character designs. This works especially well in the second special where Kino goes on her first "real" journey.

It's a bit of a shame that the last special is among the weakest tales (with CG backgrounds that are a bit too distracting to be impressive), though. Still, this has been a great series to watch, and is the first one suggested in this thread to join my Top 30.

Next up : probably something completely different, about a badass female traveler of few words going from town to town... er, wait a second...
 

Ikselam

a heavy bear to cross
Validated User
#88
I assume from comments upthread that you've already watched the two Ghost in the Shell TV series. If you haven't... you should. I liked the second better than the first -- the ongoing plot is weaker, but it has better development for the characters who aren't Togusa or Batou.

A short series that I quite liked was Ga-Rei Zero (12 episodes, 2008); technically a prequel to a shounen manga series, it is so different in tone and focus that it's pretty much its own separate thing. The teenage daughter of a famous exorcist goes to live with another demon-hunting family, becomes close friends with her new foster sister, and everything ends in tears. The story is simple and melodramatic, but manages a decent tragic arc, and the relationship it hinges upon is very sweet; the two leads have genuine chemistry (yuri goggles optional). At the turning point, there's a change to the end credits sequence which I thought was an excellent gut-punch. Also features one of the all-time-great first-episode fakeouts.

Its main weaknesses are occasional bouts of comic relief and fanservice that can feel a bit out of place, and a couple weak spots in the otherwise reasonably solid plot. There's some shipteasing between the two main characters, but apart from one infamous (and amusing) scene involving a stick of Pocky, it's pretty restrained. Blood and gore is present, on a level that's about par for the course for supernatural action/horror fare. Despite its failings, it's one of my favorites due to the very sympathetic lead duo.
 
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Dulahan

Active member
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#89
A real shame the Kino specials haven't been put on English DVD that I'm aware of. Unless the newest re-release has them?

That and it badly needs remastering, for how beautiful the series is, it sort of sucks to have little lines through it on an HD tv. Only anime I have like that.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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#90
I assume from comments upthread that you've already watched the two Ghost in the Shell TV series.
Yep, although that's a very recent thing (it's among the "famous" stuff I watched just before starting this thread).

Impressive shows indeed, although there's something slightly... clinical about them that prevents me from loving them wholeheartedly. Definitely Top 30 material, though.

That and it badly needs remastering, for how beautiful the series is, it sort of sucks to have little lines through it on an HD tv.
I kinda assumed that was on purpose, to give the series a quaint look. For me, it works.
 
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