|July 3rd, 2012, 11:28 AM||#1531|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Ah! Harimanada episode 6 continues to cement the title in my mind as one of my favorite ever sports anime. I'm very disappointed that I wasn't familiar with this show years ago, but I'm grateful to get to see some of it now, at last.
I appreciate the action in Jormungand episode 12, but I'm very disappointed by the cop-out at the end.
Watched Yurumates 3D episode 13.
Acchi Kocchi episode 12 is an adorable and sweet conclusion to one of the nicest, most sweet and cute anime I've ever watched.
The final two episodes of Natsuiro Kiseki are quite nice.
The second Kenichi OVA is a little better than the first because it's a bit more exciting, although it relies very heavily on cheap animation tricks to minimize its budget and the extent of its animation.
The final two episodes of Nazo no Kanojo X wrap up a very frustrating show. The series has interesting characters and a nice tone, but it introduces plenty of plot points that it never explains or addresses, and while it's ostensibly a romance, it stridently strives to be unromantic, ultimately even introducing a substitute for kissing that minimizes physical contact, so that romantic partners can still be boyfriend & girlfriend without opening up to each other.
Feels like it's been a while since the last time I saw a new anime as bad as the first episode of Arcana Famiglia. While the art design and animation are solidly average, the narrative is atrocious. Knocking weapons out of people's hands doesn't end a street fight, but that doesn't matter because all of criminals simply vanish as soon as the narrative needs to direct the action elsewhere. The story revolves around three characters that all want to be part of an organization but don't want to respect the organization's rules. The characters are bluntly and ridiculously expositional. Partners should need to extensively introduce and explain themselves to each other; it's unnatural and forced. If at least two characters don't want to use their supernatural powers, why did they volunteer to receive them in the first place? The feel of the first episode reminds me a bit of Goulart Knights, which I thought was bad, but this seems even worse.
I won't call the final episode of Haiyore! Nyaruko-san "good," but I can say that it's appropriate to the series.
The final episode of Medaka Box suffers from a bit of lacking personality since Medaka is absent, but the episode manages to end up successful.
The final gag of the first episode of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita was worth watching the episode for, but otherwise, after just one episode, I don't have a complete feel for this series yet or a full sense of its goal.
I don't entirely have an opinion on the first episode of Tari Tari. Unlike Hanasaku Iroha, I didn't have a strong reaction to the first episode, so I may give this show another episode to see if it grows on me.
The premiere episode of Muv-luv Alternative: Total Eclipse looks and feels exactly like an early 90s throwback, reminiscent of anime like Hummingbirds, Dinagiga, Sakura Taisen, and V-Force (PS game with anime). The character designs look unrefined and are highlighted by thick black outlines that make them look like vintage visual novel characters. The tone of the episode is reminiscent of Gunparade March, which was an acclaimed game and a mess of anime anime. The animation quality is perfunctory and a little below contemporary standards. This just doesn't seem very good, but I may give it one more episode to change my mind.
Since the first episode of Chitose Get You is a relatively slow-paced 90-seconds of interior story, it's difficult to critique.
Out of this new season's shows, Campione was among those which I expected least from, but I'm surprised and pleased to find that the first episode is nicely animated and engaging, although far from unique or original. In fact, the episode feels especially reminiscent of Dragon Crisis which was a fun but not especially great anime.
The debut of Yuruyuri second season doesn't vary much from first season, and it's certainly not especially accessible for first-time viewers. Established fans will likely be happy with it, although I have to say that I think I'd have more fun watching the fictious "Mirakurun" anime that the girls watch.
I'm a bit impressed that, although very bizarre, the final three episodes of Mine Fujiko actually manage to provide a (mostly) comprehensive and conclusive explanatory ending.
While we're still only half-way through the year, I'm already certain that Moonrise Kingdom will rank at least in my top three pictures of the year. The movie is impeccably crafted, making great use of perspective and intentional artificiality. And the performances are note perfect from everyone. This is a wonderful movie that deals with a lot of themes and does have something to say about them. Without ever needing to overtly state its primary theme, the movie makes abundantly clear that childhood is magical and the effort to cling to childhood regardless of age is what keeps people civil and humane. Like many Wes Anderson movies, this one has a distinct turning point, but unlike a Rushmore, for example, this one only has one such narrative turn-of-the-page, which allows the film to maintain a more fluid pacing. This is a fanciful, whimsical film that revels in the idea that optimism and love can overcome loneliness and melancholy.
I Saw the Devil is a technically interesting film because it's a beautifully shot and directed revenge thriller that's more grotesque and grim than most outright horror pictures. Unfortunately, the film makes some narrative leaps that it simply demands that the viewer accept without question. Chief among them, the movie seems to suggest that psychotic killers are more common in South Korea than convenience markets. It's an unflinching, harrowing film, but it's oddly sterile. Films like Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Bad Lieutenant, and A Serbian Film are powerful because they evoke sympathy for their characters. I Saw the Devil doesn't even attempt to evoke empathy or sympathy for its characters. It merely observes objectively. As a result, as mentioned, the film is unique and interesting from a technical perspective it's masterfully crafted, but it's cold and distant, so the most uncomfortable moments are only momentary before they're forgotten as the next scene begins.
The Escape from New York in orbit movie Lockout is literally an 80's action picture made in 2012, for better or worse. My indulgent side enjoys seeing a trashy sci-fi action picture that doesn't feel like it has to be smart or antiseptic, like I Robot or Minority Report or Surrogates. But at the same time I can't help recognizing that Lockout is every bit as dumb as typical 80's action pictures. Like Escape From New York, Lockout doesn't actually contain a whole lot of conventional action; it's far more running-around than shooting or fighting. But while Snake Plisken was a modern pirate, a scoundrel, Snow in Lockout is simply an unlikeable jerk. The movie's plot is built on and turns on bad ideas, and by the end of the picture the film becomes insultingly stupid. Countless viewers wrote this off as utterly disposable lowest-common denominator trash cinema. They were right. In fact, the more I reflect on the film, the more evidently idiotic it is.
Perhaps because I've now watched ten hours of it, I find that I'm still not a devoted True Blood fan, but I really didn't mind watching episodes 8-10.
|July 9th, 2012, 11:48 AM||#1532|
Join Date: Jul 2001
The premiere episode of Chouyaku Hyakunin Isshu Utakoi turned out to have much more character than I anticipated, resulting in a surprisingly romantic and enjoyable episode.
Watched Smile Precure 21.
After watcing Accel World episodes 10-13 I still don't know exactly why I've continued to watch the series. I guess it's just a show that's easy to watch because it's not a series that I'm particularly fond of.
Watched Tsuritama 5. I'm hoping to finish this series, but I find that I have trouble watching more than one or two episodes consecutively.
The 1991 OVA The Gakuen Choujotai is an enjoyable, typical example of 80ís anime. While itís technically two years outside of the 1980s, itís still very much in the vein of 80ís anime. It falls roughly in between Katsugeki Shoujo Tanteidan and Karula Mau. It has a slightly more mature visual design reminiscent of Karula Mau, but itís lighthearted like Katsugeki Shoujo Tanteidan, although lacking that animeís giddy silliness. I wonder if itís merely coincidence or if this OVA could be the inspiration for later ďexploding clothesĒ anime like Ikkitousen and Zettai Shougeki.
Overcoming some significant trepidation, I watched the Un-Go prequel movie. Taken in isolation, the short flick isnít too bad. Itís not very substantial, but at least it all moderately makes sense and hangs together. Unfortunately, the movie introduces several contradictions to the TV series that preceded it. Ingaís need for blood to transform never appeared in the TV series. Bettenouís beast form being ethereal contradicts the end of the TV series. And most frustrating, the TV series specifically played up Shinjurouís resentment over the pointless deaths of soldiers that he seemingly knew from first hand battle experience, yet this movie reveals that he was never a soldier and never in war. The TV series also plays up Shinjurouís emotional attachment to Yuuko, but the movie reveals that he barely knew her.
Watched Phi-brain episodes 30-31. Episode 31 is especially aggrevating because it arbitrarily changes the rules of the game being played and finally reveals that the plot macguffin is ridiculous and seemingly impossible.
The first episode of Natsuyuki Rendezvous isn't entirely immediately engaging, but the show seems to be off to an excellent, promising start. I really like the ending theme song, too.
The premiere episode of Binbougami ga has a humor that reminds me very much of B-gata H-kei. The show seems quite fun, but it remains to be seen if it can sustain its maniac pacing and comic vitality.
The moť microbes at the end of the first episode of Moyashimon Returns were quite cute, but otherwise my reaction the first episode of the new series is the same as my reaction to the first series. It's nice that it's narratively unusual, but otherwise it's not terribly interesting because the character have personality but don't get any development, relationships seem to never change, and the story jumps around so much that it never has a chance to develop substantially.
The weird benefit of having the summer season kick off with Arcana Famiglia is that whatever comes after it isn't as bad. The first episode of Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, at least, doesn't feel so obviously like a video game adaptation. But it does very much feel as if its writers threw in everything they could imagine, hoping that something would stick. There are enough sub-plots and themes in this single episode to fuel a half-dozen entire series. But rather than seem over-reaching, the effort just seems to illuminate the superficiality and simplicity of the series' core concept. The animation production values seem typical for the genre, so harem and school anime enthusiasts should be satisfied with it, but the first episode, despite its exuberant efforts, doesn't manage to present anything to capture the interest of viewers not already committed to following the show just because of its genre or becuase of prior familiarity.
The first episode of Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai is far from original. It's roughly High School DxD with a hint of Amaenaideyo. But I'm not saying that it's especially bad. At the very least, I didn't dislike this first episode as much as I did the debut episodes of its thematic predecessors, nor the similar Seikon no Qwaser. So I may give this another episode, but I can already feel that this is probably not a show that I'll ever finish.
Originality isn't everything. While the first episode of Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru isn't technically bad, there's nothing at all in it that hasn't been done before in earlier anime. The episode is especially sappy and manipulative. I'm sure that there is a variety of otaku out there that will adore this show, but I'm not part of that niche.
Like its comparable predecessor Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu, the first episode of Hagure Yuusha no Estetica shifts tone quite drastically, but at least the new later series does so a bit more naturally, seemingly with a bit more purpose. I can't say that the first episode has won me over, but I didn't dislike it, so I'll give it another episode to see if it can persuade me to continue watching. I also watched the short, amusing Hagure Yuusha vs. Queen's Blade Rebellion promotional video that re-animates most of the Hagure Yuusha prologue with new animation, dialogue, and Queen's Blade Rebellion opponents.
Watched the first episode of Pocket Monster Best Wishes Season 2.
Watched the first episode of Yurumates 3D Plus.
At least the Dragon Age movie isn't terrible; it's merely bad. The visual CG isn't the nicest looking we've seen, and the animation is occasionally a bit stilted. The bigger problem with the film is its very weak script. Reminiscent of the terribly, frustratingly stupid American written Highlander anime, Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker is simply dumb. Protagonist Cassandra is so dense that she's very nearly mentally handicapped. The movie plot is also rife with cliche idiocy and contradictions. The strength of villain Frenic's magic powers seems to vary wildly depending upon the needs of the screenplay. Characters say that they're overwhelmed, then Cassandra contradicts that assertion by single-handedly wiping out the entire seige force. The "Divine" interrogates Cassandra over a relatively minor event early in the picture, yet is unable to speak with Cassandra in person, for unexplained reason, late in the film after outright saying that she wants to hear Cassandra's input. I fail to comprehend how Cassandra grew up to become an expert dragon hunter when her dragon hunting clan got wiped out when she was still a child. One of the villains has to indulge in the passe gloat and reveal the master plan speech because Cassandra's too dumb to figure out what's going on unless someone literally hands her a clue. And small illogical things bother me like why incriminating private messages between two people include signatures. What's the point of armor with neck protection if the person wearing it can still be easily beheaded? The Chantry's elite soldiers don't seem so elite when Cassandra can beat a half-dozen of them with no weapon and her hands tied. And how does a flaming giant turn into a burnt-out, cold corpse literally within a milisecond? Fire doesn't work that way.
I'm glad to see that Sword Art Online isn't a rehash of either .Hack or Ragnarok Online. Although the first episode didn't especially enthrall me, the show appears to have potential to be entertaining. I anticipate giving this a chance to see if and how it develops positively.
The first episode of Kokoro Connect is difficult to call because it's a slightly abstract introductory episode. So it provides an initial feel for the show and its characters but little more.
The debut of Dog Days' feels like it's increased the fan service quotient marginally, but the primary focus of the show is still on a fast-paced narrative and fun action.
Watched AKB0048 episode 10.
Watched Hunter x Hunter (2011) episodes 37 & 38.
I'm not sure yet whether I actually like Oda Nobuna no Yabou, but the fact that I didn't dislike it by the end of the first episode is positive. Unlike similar prior anime including Sengoku Paradise, Sengoku Collection, Sengoku Otome, and Koihime Muso, this show takes a slightly more serious, less fan-service oriented, more narrative focused approach that I appreciate.
Judging by its short first episode, the character design of BakuTECH! Bakuman is cute in a goofy way. I see now that cards are not enough, nor are small toys, so now charaters play with a combination of cards and toys.
The only episode of this year's Duel Masters V series that I could find was episode 11, so I watched that. The variety of the characters has grown nicely, but otherwise the show still looks as terrible as it always has, and it still uses the same stiff, robotic CG animation that makes characters move more like theme park animatronic robots than natural humans.
Continued below --->
|July 9th, 2012, 11:48 AM||#1533|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Continued from above.
While watching the first episode of Tanken Driland I wondered to myself why there have been so few anime like this before. Maple Story was comparable to this, but Dragon Quest and Deltora Quest both had more realistic, less SD characters. Shows including Wataru, Ryu Knight, and Yamato Takeru included mecha. Anyway, Tanken Driland seems cute and fun, but I'm annoyed by the obvious animation error in the first cut of the ending credits animation. Haruka's arm clearly travels through, instead of around, her clothing.
Just like the premiere of the first season, Kyoukai Senjo no Horizon II begins with an episode full of elaborate, nonsensical magical battle action.
As expected, the first episode of Rinne no Lagrange Season 2 is pleasant but confusing because it withholds narrative information. Also watched the bizarre first three home video omake.
Joshiraku appears to be the one show from the summer season that contributes to this year's string of revolutionary, unusual anime. This is an anime very contrary to conventional practices, relying heavily on dialogue above all else. Even a viewer unfamiliar with Japanese should be able to listen to the dialogue carefully and recognize that it's full of word puns and turns of phrasing. While not conventionally exciting, this is a technically exciting show because it dares to break out of the mold of conventional anime.
Oh Lord, the second episode of Total Eclipse is difficult to watch because it's so dumb. More specifically, it stretches credibility way beyond suspension of disbelief. The humans are getting wiped out because after thirty years of this intergalactic war, they continue to exclusively rely on obviously ineffective battle tactics and weapons. Sending individual cavalry units against a charging juggernaut swarm is obviously a hopeless effort. How about aerial carpet bombing with covering fire from the ground based snipers the show already uses? Or land mines? Or long range overwhelming missile bombardment? And the show expects viewers to believe that humans have developed bipedal battle mecha technology yet, after thirty years of experience fighting the aliens, still hasn't developed any more effective weapons against them than conventional assault rifles. Humanity right now doesn't have mecha, yet we're already using more advanced field weapons in reality today than this anime depicts. But despite all of that, the episode ending creates hope that the show will turn a corner with the third episode.
I've watched good and even mediocre grindhouse homages like Planet Terror, Hobo With a Shotgun, Machete, and Father's Day, but sadly Dear God No doesn't even manage to elevate to mediocre. It's a commendable but a totally failed effort. Granted, the flick does include 70's sleaze staples bikers, guns, booze, tits, LSD trips, Nazis, and bigfoot. But it's also poorly edited, filled with cheap, poorly dressed locations, and acted with all the naturalness of a junior high school recital. Lead actor Jett Bryant comes across as passably believable, but every other character in the film is as wooden and artificial as a mannequin. The dialogue consists primarily of short profanity laden monologues that are supposed to pass for natural back-and-forth conversation until the final few minutes when the remaining leads just seem to improv whatever sprang to mind. I'm aware that genuine 70's sleaze movies are paced a bit slowly, but Dear God No simply allows most of its scenes to run way too long. While the first half of the film that's biker road movie is aimless, the House on the Edge of the Park-lite second-half seemingly tries to evoke The Exorcist, SS Experiment movies, and monster flicks like Grizzly and Sasquatch Mountain all without tying any of it together cohesively. Considering what it's trying to be, the film isn't terrible, but it's not on par with either genuine 70's exploitation movies or other contemporary homages.
|July 16th, 2012, 10:42 AM||#1534|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Jinrui Shimashita episode 2 continues to be odd almost beyond description.
Watched St. Seiya Omega episodes 13-14.
I don't frequently bother to actually watch H anime from beginning to end, but since it was rather short, I did end up watching the My Imouto Koakuma na A Cup OVA.
Judging by its first episode, Cybot Robochi isn't quite what I expected. I anticipated a harmless show for very young children. What this actually turned out to be is Studio Knack's rip-off of Dr. Slump. Coming a year after the Dr. Slump Arale-chan anime premiered, Cybot Robochi is literally the same show with less character. It's less cute and a bit less weird, which make it a bit less entertaining. I don't know why it's widely titled "Cybot Robotchi" when the kana is clearly "Cybot Robochi."
Fate/zero episode 20 continues to exacerbate one of the story's core weaknesses. The series lacks characterization. Certainly, the characters monologue excessively, but what they say rarely seems to be what they actually believe, or, in the case of characters like Kiritsugu, Irisviel, and Kirei, their motivations are so abstract and poorly defined that viewers don't feel conviction from their words and actions. They seem more like automatons reciting lines and behaviors than people actually motivated by desires. So when characters die the viewer feels nothing at all: no sympathy or loss, no relief or satisfaction. Deaths are merely chess pieces taken off the board rather than people losing their lives. Likewise, episode 21 is pretty dull. I am glad, although a little baffled, by episode 24's decision to finally acknowledge that Kiritsugu's philosophy is ridiculous and wrong (as I said from the very beginning of the series). Finishing the series' final quarter was a real chore for me because the show really begins to drag and weaken at its end. Lancelot's revelation either refers to something never mentioned in the anime or simply doesn't make sense at all (Guenivere/Arturia?). The show seems to finally figure out that its theme is Kiritsugu's misguided hero's quest, but the narrative feels like it didn't itself even realize that's what the story was about until the final two episodes.
I presume that existing fans and Shinsengumi fans may enjoy and appreciate Hakuouki Reimeiroku, but its first episode did nothing for me.
Watched Ginyoku no Fam episodes 17-18. I'll finish this show eventually!
After last season's frustrating Nazo no Kanojo X romantic anime, the second episode of Natsuyuki Rendevous feels like an honest, believable, and refreshing breath of fresh air.
Watched Moyashimon Returns episode 2. I still don't see the attraction. I watch the show primarily because it's easy to watch.
The second episode of Utakoi was as much fun as the first.
Watched Yurumates 3D Plus episode 2. I'm still waiting for the crew to begin teleporting through Sae's boxes.
The second episode of Campione was solid, if not, once again, revolutionary.
Hagure Yuusha episode 2 was amusing.
Watched Dog Days' episode 2.
The second episode of Kokoro Connect is a little more interesting than the first.
Accel World episode 14 seems to be taking the story into a rather upsetting direction because it's a story that relies on cowardice rather than a willingness to do what's right.
Although not revolutionary, Sword Art Online episode 2 was pretty good.
The second episode of Dakara Boku wa H ga Dekinai hasn't quite convinced me because it seems to introduce the idea that haughty shinigami are surprisingly weak without assistance from exceptional humans.
New viewers probably won't get a lot out of the Precure All Stars New Stage movie because it's not the best of the All Stars films. But Pretty Cure veterans may appreciate the film a little bit more because the movie has a different goal and therefore does some things that are interesting on a technical level. The movie is a transitional film that's clearly semi-retiring the first five generations of Pretty Cures. This movie does a better job of integrating its introduction of the Cure Lights, but it does so by building upon what the earlier films have done. This film also introduces a new use for the Cure Lights. The prologue battle is wonderfully animated. The film formally canonizes a particular circumstance that's occurred a few times in some of the more recent TV series, in order to more aggressively build Pretty Cure as a marketable franchise. I think that the end of the movie squanders an interesting potential, but it's seemingly obvious that the decision was deliberate. I'm a bit confused by continuity because the Smile Precure team did not participate in the prologue battle, yet they're later shown participating in the aftermath, without explanation of why they're participating or how they even knew about it at all. The action in this film isn't the very best we've seen from Pretty Cure, but it is plentiful and well animated.
Watched the good Smile Precure episode 22 and the excellent episode 23. The girls look great in their princess forms.
Finished off the last two episodes of True Blood season one and watched the first episode of season two.
The Brit terrorism thriller Cleanskin annoyed me tremendously until its denoument when the puzzle pieces all suddenly fall into place and the whole film suddenly reveals itself in a different light. Few films are genuinely provocative and really do provoke reaction and consideration. This is one of them. The film really did have me thinking about it. The movie is frustrating, but I realized at its conclusion that it's intentionally frustrating. Domestic terrorism is a worrying subject, after all. The movie is ostensibly about Sean Bean playing a secret service agent assigned to stop a terrorist bombing plot. However, in reality, Bean is not the film's protagonist, and the film is not a suspense action thriller. The movie is actually an indictment of the nature of domestic Muslim terrorism and the reaction to it. The movie seems to try to humanize its primary terrorist but fail to do so because the ex-patriot Muslim Brit appears to have a wonderful life and a martyr complex. He believes that he's oppressed and humiliated, an alien barely tolerated in Western civilization when, in reality, he appears to enjoy all the benefits of Western society. His unease and anger are manipulated by extremists who clearly recognize him as potential terrorist cannon-fodder to be exploited. I don't know enough about terrorism to know how realistic the depiction within the movie is, but it feels frighteningly believable because it's totally fanatic and totally irrational. There's more to the film, but saying any more would venture into spoiler territory. Suffice it to say that this is a film that rewards patience. The action scenes are intense and exciting but few and far between. The film does introduce some questions that it doesn't answer, but it also does a very good job of tying everything up in the final minutes.
With muted expectations, I found that Hostel Part III sadly doesn't have any of the visual flair that might be expected from director Scott Spiegel, but it is a solid and satisfying little flick. The movie abandons the pretentions of artiness of the Roth films and instead concentrates on simply providing the formula exploitation that Hostel fans want, while maintaining a level of intelligence and production value that elevate the film above the rank of typical DTV movies. The film brings nothing revolutionary to the Hostel franchise, but it also avoids sullying the franchise. The on-screen violence isn't anywhere near the intensity of Spiegel's earlier classic Intruder, but it's gratuitous enough to feel satisfactory.
The German indie "rage zombie" short film Rambock is essentially a smaller, more intimate 28 Days Later. The film is a lean hour long, so it really isn't long enough to develop substantial empathy for any of the characters, but the movie does achieve an effective atmosphere of very natural, believable reactions and doom steadily creeping in.
|July 21st, 2012, 07:41 AM||#1535|
Join Date: Jul 2001
The third episode of Jinrui Shimashita was amusing because it's just reality depicted with a fun perspective.
Utakoi episode 3 is interesting because it starts to connect plot threads and characters.
Because I was mildly interested in seeing the conclusion to the first episode battle, I foolishly watched the second episode of Kyokai Senjo no Horizon II. Of course, the battle has a very anti-climactic conclusion, and the episode narrative makes no comprehensible sense. But I'm intrigued by the fact that it's evidently recognized enough that Joshiraku episode 2 made a parody reference to it (the show).
Joshiraku episode 2 isn't quite as witty as the first episode, but it's still mildly amusing.
Watched the second episode of Oda Nobuna.
The first episode of Ebiten: Kouritsu Ebisugawa Koukou Tenmon-Bu would be entirely forgettable, and I'm fearful that future episodes will be particularly conventional and mundane, were it not for the fact that the first episode is largely an extended St. Seiya parody. It's certainly the most extensive St. Seiya parody since 2006's Ayu Mayu Gekijou.
Tari Tari episode 3 is not an especially exciting or very interesting episode.
Driland episode 2 was likewise not quite as amusing as its first episode.
Binbougami ga seems to take yet another stylistic turn in its third episode.
Since I'm pretty far behind on Fairy Tail, I made a minimal initial effort to catch up by watching episodes 120 & 121.
Watched True Blood second season episodes 2-4. I'm amused by how much of a magnet for abuse Sooki appears to be.
The 1954 Creature from the Black Lagoon is a classic in part because it holds up extremely well even today. The film is nicely shot, has an interesting variety of characters, and most interestingly does a great job of creating a cat and mouse plot - repeatedly alternating the creature from hunter to hunted. A few small points bug me, though. I'm bothered by the way Kay Lawrence casually discards her cigarette butt into the pristine Black Lagoon, although I suppose technically she's not a scientist and may not have had as much respect for the untouched natural environs. I'm also bothered by the way the scientists automatically presume that there's only one gill-man. My own experience with nature is that wherever there's one creature of any sort, there's usually more than one.
I decided to continue my Amazonian horror binge with the uncut version of Ruggero Deodato 1985 exploitation film Cut and Run. I have to call it an "exploitation" film because I can't think of any other genre term that accurately describes it. It has elements of drama, suspense, horror, action, and adventure, but no one or even two of those genres define the entire film. And that's much of the movie's problem. The film is an absolute mess. Even the uncut version makes very little comprehensible sense, so I can't fathom how anyone could have made heads or tails of the narrative in the censored edit. At least the DVD supplemental documentary has co-writer Dardano Sacchetti explain that the story is a mess because of too much producer interference from too many different producers. It is, if nothing else, at least a memorable viewing experience.
Star and director Thomas Jane's Punisher fan film Dirty Laundry is certainly enjoyable, but it's a very different style of Punisher than I'm used to. I'm really used to the Punisher of Gerry Conway, Carl Potts, and more recently Garth Ennis, all of which were depicted to perfection in the Punisher: War Zone movie. Ray Stevenson portrayed a note perfect comic book vigilante anti-hero. Thomas Jane plays a great cinematic Death Wish-style vigilante but not a larger-than-life comic book hero. A gritty, conflicted, fallible, human character works quite well for some superhero characters, as Christopher Nolan has demonstrated to perfection. But Frank Castle is a character who works best as an exaggerated Judge Dredd-style caricature.
|July 30th, 2012, 12:14 PM||#1536|
Join Date: Jul 2001
The third episode of Natsuyuki Rendezvous takes the show into some slightly darker territory than I'd expected. The episode is good until Hazuki ends the episode on a very bad decision.
Watched Moyashimon Returns episodes 3-4.
Watched Campione episode 3.
Watched Dog Days' episodes 3-4.
The third episode of Sword Art Online was quite good.
Watched Hunter x Hunter (2011) episodes 39 & 40.
Well, Accel World episode 15 was about as annoying as I expected it to be.
The third episode of Kokoro Connect was moderately interesting.
The K-On movie is a cute and fitting end to the series.
Jinrui Shimashita episode 4 feels like a good joke that goes on a bit too long.
Eureka Seven AO episodes 11-14 still seem quite random and very confusing, but these episodes get quite exciting.
Just as Rinne no Lagrange episode 14 (second season episode 2) seems to have finally filled in enough information to allow the story to make sense, episode 15 confuses everything again.
Oda Nobuna episode 3 was a big disappointment because it jettisons the characterizations established by the prior two episodes. The previously confident and thoughtful Sagara turns into a jealous foil, and more damning, the proud and determined Nobuna suddenly turns into an easily manipulated, emotional child.
Total Eclipse episode 4 takes the series to a new level of train wreck. Racial stereotypes have been bad since the outset, but as of episode 4 the narrative can't decide if Yuuya is bigoted or just psychologically scarred because it provides multiple explanations for his evident racism. The entire anti-Japanese sentiment in the episode is ridiculous because chronologically it suggests that in this alternate history America had some reason to hate Japan in the 1990s. The resentment would make sense in the 40's and maybe even 50s, but the show, so far, has provided no explanation for any anti-Japanese sentiment fourty years after the BETA invasion. On top of that, the idea that the Soviets have a "secret" base within the UN compound and also dislike Japanese people for some unspecified reason seems like a massive stretch of narrative credibility.
Watched Tamayura ~hitotose~ episode 5.5.
Among the final three episodes of AKB0048, episode 13 is unusually well staged (no pun intended) and does an exceptional job of closing the first season on a high note. But the episode does nothing to address the many sub-plots and questions introduced in the series and even within the final episode. It distinctly feels like a climactic point in the middle of the story rather than an end to the story.
Watched Hagure Yuusha episode 3.
Narrative has never been Fairy Tail's strength. It's strength is action and characterization. But after a decent two episodes, episode 122 and 123 were both pretty awful.
Binbougami ga episode 4 feels like it slightly changes its narrative style yet again.
Only two nearly identical sex scenes seems a bit slim for the first episode of the Starless OVA adaptation, based on the PC game from Empress. But two extended sex scenes is fair, I suppose, considering that the whole OVA is only 21 minutes long. While this isn't an immediate ero-anime masterpiece like Bible Black and not even quite as good as Discipline, at least it's better than the Cleavage anime adaptation was.
I can sense some conviction in the second Mardock Scramble movie, some sense that author Tow Ubukata cares about his ideas and characterizations. But those ideas aren't sufficiently expressed in the anime. Boiled desperately wants to possess and control Oeufcoque again, but the two films so far have failed to explain why. Likewise, Rune seems especially attached to Oeufcoque, seemingly only because he acts like a parental figure when Rune is too immature or too scared to actually interact with other people, so it's an attraction by default rather than motivated by emotion. The second movie is shockingly dull. I'm not referring to a lack of action, although the movie does contain very little action. I mean that the hour-long picture contains only about 15 minutes of narrative. Most of the film is nice looking but entirely disposable. The movie is too slick, too well designed, too well animated for me to call it outright bad, but the movie absolutely cannot be objectively called "good."
Flying Phantom Ship is a strong reaffirmation that old anime isn't necessarily good anime. Its production values are average for its age - neither especially bad or good. But the hour-long film tries to pack in way too many ideas, resulting in inadequate explanation for all of them. And common sense is certainly not the movie's strong suit.
The assertion may seem difficult to believe, but I think that Dark Knight Rises is more of a comic-book movie than its two predecessors, and from that seems to stem some of the criticism of the picture. The movie works on comic book logic, which I think is just fine. Unlike many critics that find the movie over-long, I think it's exactly the right length because it has a lot of story to tell. The movie is less a "Batman" movie, per se, than the first two, but it's a film that does a fine, if not excellent job of wrapping up the trilogy and really cementing themes that were introduced and expanded upon in the first two films. I comprehend and respect the criticisms levied against the film, but I don't feel them, myself. While I'll concede that the film could be a little tighter, I don't think that it necessarily has to be. I really do think that it's fine and very good just as it is, at the length it is, with all of the characters and sub-plots it includes.
Went to see The Amazing Spider-man (in 2D digital projection) with two friends. Despite being shorter, I'm amazed how this film feels much, much longer than Dark Knight Rises. Amazing Spidey feels like two different films. The lengthy first two-thirds feel quite a bit like a retread of Sam Raimi's first film. The build is a bit slow and talky, but it has a lot of character and relationship building to do. The movie also seems like it tries just a bit too hard. Peter's slapstick fight in the subway makes little logical sense, and his inspiration for the Spider-man mask scene is especially heavy-handed. The much touted wise-cracking Spider-man also seems more like a concession to fans than an organic aspect of the narrative because Peter's personality changes entirely whenever he wears the mask - not just when he's in costume - specifically when he's masked. He exhibits none - not even the faintest trace - of wit when he's "Peter Parker," which makes Spider-man feel like an entirely different character instead of an alter-ego. Finally, the film tries too hard with its sequel hints. I don't mind the post-credits sequence, but introducing plot points within the body of the film only so they can be referred to in a sequel is distracting and feels like weak writing. Roughly the final third of the movie becomes a darker, more serious Nolan-esque superhero film that does separate itself effectively from the Raimi movies. So I don't think that the movie is entirely redundant or unnecessary, although much of it is, and while this is technically a stronger Spider-man film than Raimi's first movie, it's difficult to judge objectively since it follows so closely on the heels of Raimi's trilogy.
I don't think that creator/director Josh Trank's psychic teen angst movie Chronicle is especially bad. I just couldn't get into it. The flying in the clouds scene is great because it really creates a sense of wonder and magic. The climax is neat to watch just because of what it is. Through everything leading up to the climax, however, I found myself entirely unable to relate to or empathize with any of the three leading characters. As a result, I felt divested of the film, and found the movie pretty boring. The lengthy epilogue annoys me because it - even more than the film before - abandons the "found footage" principle or uses POV that doesn't make sense within the context of the film. Although it's not a poorly constructed movie, I just didn't like or enjoy it. Maybe I'm just getting old and stodgy.
Watched True Blood second season episodes 5-7.
|August 17th, 2012, 12:52 PM||#1537|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Rinne no Lagrange episode 16 was pretty interesting.
Sword Art Online seems to be getting progressively better as of episode 4. I like Kirito's character development. Episode 5 introduces an interesting new mystery.
I was tremendously surprised to see an Ikuze! Gen-san gag in the third episode of Joshiraku. Episode 4 was quite funny.
Hunter x Hunter (2011) episodes 41-43 begin Kurapika's story arc and seem promising.
Campione episode 4 featured a really nice battle, but after so much anticipation, it seemed a bit unfulfilling.
I like Tanken Driland, but Pollon is really difficult to bear. Watched episode 3.
Watched Boku H episode 3.
Tari Tari episode 5 was a bit more interesting than episode 4.
Oda Nobuna episode 4 suffers from a bit of the spill-over from episode 3, but finally Nobuna regains the personality she seemingly should have.
Kokoro Connect episode 4 is certainly the most interesting episode so far.
Thankfully, Total Eclipse episode 4 wasn't quite as frustrating or bad as the prior two episodes. Episode 5 is okay only because it has minimal story development.
Well, Accel World episode 16 wasn't too bad, and episode 17 is quite exciting, except it's got another ridiculous cliffhanger ending.
I had an opportunity to watch Zukkoke Knight: Don De La Mancha episode 6, which is an unusual episode because it was drawn by Yoshinori Kanada before he did some of the anime he's more famous for, like Birth. It's an interesting episode because viewers can see a lot of early start of Kanada's more signature style.
Yurumates 3D Plus episodes 4-5. Episode five was particularly amusing.
Watched Utakoi episodes 4-5.
To put it simply, the first episode of Maji de Otakuna English! Ribbon-chan - Eigo de Tatakau Mahou Shoujo is what I expected the Moetan anime to be like because this first episode is more like the original Moetan book than the actual Moetan anime was.
The first mini-episode of Kyou no Asuka Show was pretty amusing.
Natsuyuki Rendezvous episode 5 continues to solidify the show's status as a touching, wonderful bittersweet romance.
Watched Binbougami ga episode 5.
Hagure Yuusha episode 4 introduces some interesting plot developments but also feels a bit silly at times.
I'm glad that Fairy Tail episodes 124-127 don't seem quite as dumb as some of the immediately prior episodes.
I wish Jinrui Shimashita episode 6 was more interesting than it was. Also watched episode 7.
There's not a lot to the short 1994 movie Yukiwatari, based on the Kenji Miyazawa story. It's a pleasant children's tale about two human children invited to attend an evening party held by foxes. Both in look and tone, the short film seems reminiscent of a version of Hotaru no Haka that's not a tragedy.
Director Ushio Tazawa's short film Tabisuru Meigurumi ~ Travelling 'Daru' is the most charming and most purely cinematic anime I've seen in some time.
I watched 1979's Nihon Meisaku Dowa Series: Akai Tori no Kokoro episode 19 because it's an adaptation of Hashire! Melos. The animation is pretty limited, and the story seems heavily abbreviated compared to the 1992 movie version. It's not bad because it ihe original Osamu Dazai story.
Caught up a little bit with St. Seiya Omega 16-18.
The .hack⁄⁄Sekai no Mukou ni movie has a decent story that's commendable for actually making sense, although there's just a little bit more movie than there is story. The disappointing part is that the movie has really nice color design but not great visual design. The CG rendering isn't bad at all, but it's not especially well detailed. I really think that the earlier Hottarake no Shima CG anime movie is nicer looking.
The One Off OVA was really a lot of fun. It's got a bit more character than Tamayura, although the characters themselves are on par, which makes it feel a little more briskly paced than Tamayura. It's also nice to see a motorcycle anime again after so many years, even though this is more an anime about motor scooters, and even then only about 50% about motor scooters.
Moyashimon Returns episode 7 continues to remind me that this is really a very laconic show that's only interesting because it's different from other anime.
Read the excellent Claymore chapters 128-129. Nice to finally have Claire back.
In its favor, I can applaud the obvious enthusiasm for the film and the zombie genre evident in Taiwan's first zombie film, Zombie 108. Unfortunately all the love in the world can't create a good film by itself. Zombie 108 isn't so much a movie as it is a pastiche of ideas from other horror movies. The film is just barely feature length thanks to a few minutes of empty padding, yet the movie consists entirely of dangling plots and unexplained characters. Especially due to its short running time, the movie feels like literally a third of the narrative, at least, is missing. Furthermore, the movie's continuity literally doesn't make sense. For example, it's physically impossible to escape from a kidnapper ten hours before he's even kidnapped you. Likewise, it's physically impossible to cleave a man to death days before you meet for the first time. Also a bit disappointing is the fact that the movie is filled with blood and gruesome make-up effects, but the film actually has very little on-screen gore. The film may be satisfactory for viewers with exceptionally low standards, but while this flick tries to live up to over-the-top splatter movies like Dawn on the Dead, Wild Zero, Junk, and Riki-Oh, it honestly falls far short.
The Red Riding trilogy is interesting and challenging but sadly not terribly exciting. Although the three movies revolve around serial killings, they're actually about police corruption rather than serial killers. The first movie, In the Year of Our Lord 1979 is a slow-burn thriller with a few bizarre plot twists and a very nice lead performance by Andrew Garfield. The first movie is good but ultimately feels like a very convoluted telling of a relatively simple mystery. The second film is a bit more stylized and quite a bit more difficult to follow because it features more characters and more leaps in time. The film is also especially baffling because it hinges on the follow-up massacre at the Karachi Club but never explains the motivation behind the massacre or its goal. The third film is by far the most difficult to comprehend because it doesn't provide clear clues to distinguish its shifts in time between 1973-74 and 1983. The movie also makes numerous references to plot points and characters that aren't explained or aren't clarified until much later in the film, which makes following the plot very challenging. All three movies have a commendable atmosphere of their era and of filthy, grim vice and violence, and all three films feel methodically paced and abstract without feeling pretentious. They're good films with a similar tone and feel to the Swedish "Dragon Tattoo" trilogy, but especially the second and third films feel like the viewer needs to be familiar with the plots in advance of watching the movies in order to be able to comprehend the later films.
Finished off True Blood season two.
Watched the boring Raiders vs Cowboys pre-season week one game.
|September 18th, 2012, 06:16 PM||#1538|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Watched the fairly intense Hunter x Hunter (2011) episode 44 and the fun episode 45. Episode 46 has a hell of a cliffhanger while episode 47 fulfills quite satisfyingly.
Sword Art Online episode 6 was just a little bit of a let-down because it's so abrupt, but episode 7 is a good episode. Episode 8 has an intriguing cliffhanger. Episode 9 is quite exciting and adds more substantial subtext until its ending goes a long way to undoing its advances with some strikingly offensive sexism. Episode 10 is unexpectedly one of the best episodes of the series. Episode 11 introduces a new and very interesting mystery.
St. Seiya Omega episodes 19-21 are just fine. Episode 22, however, is the first episode of the series that I lean toward calling outright bad because its story is underwritten, the visual design underproduced, and the animation at times noticably lacking frames. Thankfully, episode 23 gets back on track.
Finished off Natsuyuki Rendezvous episodes 6-11. I definitely enjoyed the first half of the series more than the later because despite the show overtly addressing Shimao's selfishness, it's still so extreme and inconsiderate that the second-half focus on it really drags down the narrative from charming and beautiful into brooding and unpleasant.
I still don't think that Moyashimon Returns is the masterpiece that it's frequently credited as, but I did watch episodes 8-11, not because they're excellent but because they're very easy and undemanding to watch.
Although Dog Days' episodes 6-9 still don't reveal much significant narrative development, they remain enjoyable entertainment.
Reminiscent of the first story arc of Bakemonogatari, Jinrui Shimashita episode 8 exists only to justify one word pun.
Watched Kokoro Connect 5. I'm really falling behind on this show.
After waiting nearly ten years to see the Hells Angels movie, Iím pleased and relieved to say that I wasnít disappointed, although the film isnít perfect. The movieís visual design does a great job of emulating Shiníichi Hiromotoís distinctive line-work and Yasushi Nirasawaís equally distinctive monster designs. While the animation is a little bit limited at times, itís also frequently very effective and evocative, and particularly in explosion scenes, exceptionally detailed. While it may not look like much in still frames, the visual design, animation, and shot composition complement each other and really create a far more affective experience in motion. Similar to Hiromotoís Stone manga, Hells Angels has a lot of interesting ideas in it. Unfortunately, many of the various ideas arenít fully explored or exploited, leaving the movie feeling like it left a lot of potential unfulfilled. The second half of the movie, which turns into a straightforward good versus evil story, is certainly entertaining, but the narrative momentum swings back and forth so many times that the film starts feeling repetitive and redundant. Those two flaws arenít killers, but both of them are big enough and obvious enough that that feel like major weaknesses in a film that otherwise could have been stronger and more impactful if it just focused on more development of fewer core themes and really let its narrative swings establish themselves and impact the viewer before turning the tide.
While I've had the Harukaze Sentai V-Force game and promotional anime VHS tape (that collects the game's anime FMV sequences) for ten years, I only recently got around to actually watching the anime sequences. As expected, they're very reminiscent of Hummingbirds.
Finally had a chance to watch the near legendary Lupin the 8th pilot film. The sci-fi setting actually works surprisingly well. Lupin's coif is a bit goofy, and Jigen spends too much time being useless, but otherwise the anime actually does seem like it had potential.
The first episode of the Kyosogiga mini-series is interesting but too short to really develop enough narrative to base judgment on.
As I expected it would be, the Nazo no Kanojo X OVA is merely an unbroadcast TV episode, so it doesn't contain any major revelations or plot developments, but it's as enjoyable to watch as the regular series episodes.
I'm rather disappointed by the 12th Detective Conan OVA. It's not especially good, and moreover, something about it just feels "off." The character designs, at times, look a little wonky. And the story feels like it artificially jams in a halfhearted mystery just out of obligation, resulting in a story that's filled with difficult to believe coincidences that occur just to propel the narrative.
The short Natsuiro Kiseki epilogue OVA will mean nothing to viewers that haven't watched the show, but for fans, it's a nice treat.
Fulfilling expectations, the fourth Seitokai Yakuindomo OAD was quite funny.
Tanken Driland episode 4 was enjoyable. Episode 5 was more ordinary.
Watched the amusing Maji de Otaku Ribbon-chan episodes 2 & 3.
I was very excited by the opportunity to finally see the Gokicha cel-phone anime, but to my disapointment, it's produced in relatively amateurish Flash, and the original manga is much cuter.
The debut episode of Battle Spirits: Sword Eyes is typical of premieres of these sort of hobby anime. Although not exceptional, it's not bad, either. The design does feel like it borrows from a variety of other, earlier anime, including Moncolle Knight, Kurogane Communication, and Wataru, though.
Continued below --->
|September 18th, 2012, 06:16 PM||#1539|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Continued from above.
Finished off True Blood season 3. It's certainly convoluted, and the stunning stupidity of most of the characters shines through even more warmly than ever.
Watched the Steelers win a messy victory over the Colts in pre-season week two. Watched the Saints vs Texans, Broncos vs 49ers, and Jets vs Panthers third week games. Also watched the Bucs vs Redskins fourth week pre-season game. Watched the Cowboys beat the Giants in the season opener. Miami should feel humiliated by how much they were outplayed by the Texans in their season opener. Watched the 49ers unexpectedly beat the Packers. The Broncos versus Steelers game was exciting to watch. Watched the Ravens beat the Bengals. Watched our Bucs narrowly lose in the end to the Giants. Watched the Steelers beat the Jets and the 49ers soundly beat the Lions. And watched the Falcons soundly defeat the Broncos.
Took a bit of time and listened to the Moody Blues "core seven" albums - Days of Future Passed (1967), In Search Of The Lost Chord (1968), On the Threshold of a Dream (1969), To Our Children's Children's Children (1969), A Question of Balance (1970), Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971), Seventh Sojourn (1972) - and 1981's Long Distance Voyager. To varying degrees, I respect, appreciate, and most importantly enjoyed all of these albums, but I must admit that on first impression I still prefer just listening to their "best of" highlights, although their '67 first concept album is a really fascinating and memorable aural work that reminds me of the elegiac, melancholy, soundtrack-like "Dream After Dream" album from Journey (which was actually a soundtrack album). Days of Future Passed really stands out as an exceptional album in their canon although it's not so pop-oriented as it is early progressive "art rock."
The first Dark Knight Returns movie comes so close to excellence that it unfortunately serves to remind how good the original comics were rather than stand as an equal compliment. The flick is faithful to the story, which is nice. The prominent two fights against the Mutant leader are exceptionally well animated with plenty of crisp, fluid movement and great choreography. Robin comes across very well. The musical score is excellent, really enhancing the atmosphere and action. The direction is periodically quite effective, but unfortunately the direction, and much more so the visual design feel like their primary goal wasn't to adapt Miller & Jansen's comic but rather to make an adaptation that's completely accessible and easily consumed by the widest possible viewing audience. The character designs resemble the original comics and have some of the signature chunkiness but none of the nuance, none of the signature grittiness that Dark Knight literally introduced into modern comic books. The backgrounds as well look flat and perfunctory; they have no character, and they add no tone or atmosphere to the film. The movie - possibly the greatest of all Batman stories - just looks nearly indistinguishable from every other modern animated Batman incarnation. I didn't expect really outrť design resembling Dead Leaves, but I was hoping for something that doesn't just look like Batman: The Animated Series or Brave and the Bold with chunkier characters. So apart from two very well animated hand-to-hand fights, the movie is good but not excellent. The movie is good, and it reminds us that it's the source material that's excellent.
I'm very disappointed to report that I didn't find V/H/S nearly as engaging, frightening, interesting, or intelligent as I hoped I would. The movie's reputation has largely stemmed from film festival screenings, and I can envision how the film may function much better in an audience participation setting than in an individual home viewing. The containing milieu is simply not engaging. It has practically no characterization nor does it exhibit any intelligence. It also breaks context by being "found footage" but including shots that don't come from any of the perspectives established in the narrative. David Bruckner's segment, "Amateur Night," is effective after it finally reveals its purpose. It just needs some dire trimming because its 15 minute-long establishment does absolutely nothing to benefit the segment. The arbitrary use of completely different types of static and digital interference during the narrative also breaks suspension of disbelief. I really wanted to like and respect Ti West after his debut film, House of the Devil, but after The Innkeepers and the baffling (read: idiotic) "Second Honeymoon," I can't repress my doubts any longer. Glenn McQuaid's "Tuesday the 17th" includes some intriguing ideas but ultimately collapses under the weight of crushing stupidity. Joe Swanburg's "The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She Was Younger" is also founded on a difficult to overcome concept. Trying to accept a VHS recording of a webcam conversation which the characters themselves say they're not recording just stretches credibility to the extreme. Furthermore, the segment's climax only begins to makes sense if viewers stick around to read the credits at the end of the film. Even then, after a clarification of exactly what the antagonists were, the segment still only partially makes sense. Radio Silence's segment "10/31/98" is also founded on an extremely preposterous concept - the idea that four grown men wouldn't think twice about entering and exploring a stranger's home. Provided that the viewer can accept that foundation, the segment shows promise but then goes overboard, changing from horror into a Disney-esque Haunted Mansion parody. The film isn't terrible, but sadly it's no better than mediocre.
The amateur pilot film Arrowhead: Signal is handsomely shot, but it really looks and feels like a demo project rather than a sizzle reel. It shows great technical competence, but it doesn't make me eager, or even interested in seeing the story extended and expanded to feature length.
Well, Resident Evil: Retribution is marginally better than its hideously awful predecessor, but that's faint praise.
I watched One in the Chamber because it was directed by William Kaufman. Unfortunately, this is no Sinners and Saints. Dolph Lundgren is enjoyable in his extended cameo and only makes me wish that he carried the movie instead of the bland Cuba Gooding Jr. The movie comes across as a dumb, cheap cash-grab: completely typical for DTV action movies.
|October 2nd, 2012, 08:42 AM||#1540|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Dog Days' episode 10 features a lot of impressive, flashy battle animation. Episode 11 is amusing but not nearly as technically impressive. Episode 12 is typical of the series. 13 is a mundane but satisfactory conclusion.
Went on a little marathon to watch Hagure Yusha episodes 5-12. Not really a bad show, but it's certainly nothing exceptional, and its blunt, massive cliffhanger ending better get a second season.
Similarly, Accel World episodes 20-24 end the series adequately, if a little bit too neatly.
Ah! Harimanada episodes 7-8 continue to be ultra-masculine ridiculous fun.
St. Seiya Omega episode 24 is a bit ridiculous but fun. Episode 25, however, feels a bit routine and uninspired.
Campione episode 5 is a mostly dull transitional episode.
Watched True Blood season 4 episodes 1-3 so far.
Watched the mildly amusing Portugese short monster movie BLARGHAAAHRGARG.
Watched our Bucs drop another pitiful loss to the Cowboys. Watched the Texans beat the Broncos. Watched the very tight Ravens versus Patriots game. Watched the Packers uncredited victory over the Seahawks and their victory over the Saints. Watched the Eagles narrowly beat the Giants. And watched the Cowboys give away a game to the Bears.
|October 3rd, 2012, 06:24 AM||#1541|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Sometimes shoujo anime grab me from the very outset, as shows including HanaDan, KimiTodo, and AnoHana did. Then there are shows like S.A., Skip Beat, Bokura ga Ita, and, judging by its first episode, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun that don't seem bad but don't pique my interest.
Almost regardless of its narrative quality, Shin Sekai Yori is virtually guaranteed to be one of the season's most highly regarded shows among anime fans just because of its visual design and atmosphere. However, I have to say that the first episode was pretty damn boring, and it's definitely not the most creative or stylistic show I've ever seen.
I watched the first episode of Hiiro no Kakera II as much out of obligation as curiosity, I'll admit. To little surprise, I didn't find myself very interested in it. What I was surprised to find is that the first episode is such a boring, bland recap of the first season.
The premiere episode of Chousoku Henkei Gyrozetter feels a lot like an old "Brave series" anime to me. So it's mildly entertaining, but I feel like the way the cars transform is cheating a bit. Also, I wonder if Rinne really is driving while wearing roller skates. Seems hazardous.
Iím tremendously regretful to learn that Dredd 3D is severely underperforming in theatrical revenue. I went to the film on Saturday, paying the extra for 3D. I enjoyed the film immensely. Although itís not quite as gratuitously gruesome as Punisher: War Zone or John Rambo, itís quite satisfying. Olivia Thirlby is very cute, and Carl Urban simply owns the role of Dredd. The movie may not be tremendously complex or provocative, but itís obviously made be people that like and respect the original comics and want to do justice to the franchise while making a movie that fans can respect. Iíve mentioned before that Iím regretful that I saw the film during its second weekend of release instead of during its opening weekend, but now Iím even more saddened that evidently far more sci-fi fans didnít bother to go see the movie at all, especially when it deserves an audience.
The day after seeing Dredd 3D, I went back to the theater to see Looper. While I have to say that I enjoyed Dredd move because itís a designed as a crowd-pleaser flick, I have tremendous respect for Looper. Although the movie does have a lot of action, itís primarily a movie of ideas and character development. I donít envision the film becoming a landmark in the history of sci-fi, not because the film is weak or unexceptional, but rather because the movie uses its sci-fi elements as a backdrop to its character-centric story. The sci-fi elements just arenít prominently emphasized enough in the film for the movie to overtly feel like an obvious sci-fi film. I have tremendous respect for the movie because it distinctly provokes the impression that itís an extensively considered film. The movie feels as though countless concepts, ideas, and background details that donít overtly appear in the film were carefully thought through and planned out in order to contextualize and support the film. The movie is an impressive narrative and an impressive accomplishment that certainly feels like the most intelligent and comprehensive sci-fi film since Inception.
|October 7th, 2012, 12:58 PM||#1542|
Join Date: Jul 2001
The short first episode of Litchi DE Hikari Club is mildly amusing.
Likewise, I'm regretful to say that I wasn't as immediately taken with the first episode of Kamisama Hajimemashita as I'd hoped I would be. But this show I will at least give another episode to convince me.
I'm mildly amused by the thought that if Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai is the only significant winner of the annual Kyoto Animation Awards, then maybe the studio should stop promoting its competition as an objective measure of quality and instead promote it as what it actually is: a competition to most closely create something that the KyoAni staff personally likes. Chuunibyou seems so obviously like a hybrid of Suzumiya Haruhi and K-On but without the underlying satire and juxtaposition that made Suzumiya Haruhi interesting. Watched the first episode and the first two "Lite" episodes.
Although very short, the first episode of Wooser no Sono Higurashi was pretty darn funny.
The premiere episode of Zetsuen no Tempest is promising, but it also feels very reminiscent of No. 6, so I can only hope that it will sustain and develop much better than No. 6 did.
I've never been a ravenous fan of Gintama, and the unexceptional premiere episode of "Kintama" did nothing to change my mind.
The first episode of K feels like a tough call. It treads so close to pretentiousness that I'm not sure if it crosses the line or not. I'm also disappointed that for a show with such aspirations and such flashiness, it still reveals some lack of smoothness in its animation during mundane scenes like the opening characters shot and Isana stretching on the roof.
The first episode of BTOOM doesn't seem too bad, but I'm a bit disappointed that it relies on such a stock, predictable protagonist.
Watched Joshiraku episode 5. The obvious Ghibli gag was amusing but its more subtle background integration was even more fun.
The debut episode of the Buso Shinki TV series is narratively and tonally what I expected, but I didn't expect it to have such good animation quality. The animation may not be top tier, but it's significantly better than average.
Although the first episode of Oniichan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne has the same fundamental narrative concept as Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki ja Nai n da Kara ne, it's much more appealing than the earlier show because it feels witty, spontaneous, and charming while the earlier show felt plodding and bluntly obvious.
Good Lord! The first episode of the Jojo's Bizarre Adventures TV series was startlingly bad. It may not quite reach the depths of Zaizen Jotaro, but it's frightfully close.
The premiere episode of To Love-ru Darkness has a nice personality and good design, but the broadcast version is so heavily censored that watching it feels pointless.
Judging by its first episode, Little Busters feels like a restrained version of BakaTest or Angel Beats. While it's not bad, it does cause me to wonder to myself why I wouldn't just watch BakaTest or Angel Beats if this is the style of show I wanted to see.
The premiere episode of Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb isn't substantially different from previous seasons, but the show isn't groundbreaking, it's still as good as it's ever been.
SAO episode 14 feels like a very abrupt conclusion, but once again, it's an episode with a great amount of characterization.
Watched Jinrui Suishimashita episodes 9-10.
I'm rather disappointed to find that Taken 2 is has less of everything that made the first movie so compelling, and nothing to make up for the compromise. The primary players are all competent. The movie's big weaknesses are its completely perfunctory and rote narrative and its direction & editing that feel like they're constantly holding back. While the movie is technically a sequel, it feels like a watered-down remake.
|October 13th, 2012, 11:31 AM||#1543|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Turns out that the first full episode of Chiisana Ojisan is half of the initially released pilot footage.
The first episode of Teekyuu is uniquely enjoyable because it's so bizarre.
The first episode of Magi has impressive animation quality and nice visual design, but the story feels so beholden to shounen conventions that it doesn't even feel entirely believable or natural.
The first episode of the third season of Bakuman is what I expected it to be. Like the second season, the art design and animation quality are capable, with the brief exception of the noticeably poorly animated brief sequence when Miho leaves her house. The bigger problem is that the show remains boring. I donít automatically discount talking-head shows, but I do demand some degree of engaging characterization or personal conflict, of which Bakuman has practically none.
Judging by its first episode, Girls Und Panzer is still an uncertainty. Everything about the first episode that deals directly with tanks is engaging and fun. The bulk of the episode that focuses on characterization and relationship building is strictly rote and entirely uninteresting. The dullness is even compounded by the fact that the protagonist has the absolute least interesting character design in the show.
I sort of ended up watching the second episode of Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai. The introduction of new characters does a lot to keep the story mildly amusing.
I want to like the first episode of Suki-tte Ii na yo, but I have some reservations because it appears to be a straightforward remake of KimiTodo, merely with the protagonist given a minimal change in personality.
Not every episode of the first season of Jormungand was action packed, but the action episodes were the seriesí best. The first episode of ďPerfect OrderĒ lacks any action and suffers for the absence because the episode is simply dull, albeit probably necessary to set up the second-season narrative.
The premiere episode of Code:Breaker turned out to be a lot more lighthearted than I expected. Unfortunately, while it wasnít too bad, although a bit reminiscent of Medaka Box, the end of the episode that should be most exciting simply turned very clichť. The show, so far, is not especially good, but thatís not to say that no entertainment can be gleaned from it.
Tonally the premiere episode of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is very reminiscent of Seto no Hanayome, which may be to its advantage with viewers. But while I'm not prepared to dismiss the show quite yet, the first episode didn't grab me the way I hoped it would.
Psycho-Pass seems to be a mixed bag. The production values from I.G are up to the standards expected, but the narrative is founded on a difficult to accept principle, and the episode includes at least one distracting inconsistency. Like Minority Report, the concept is based on the idea of law enforcement before, rather than after, the fact. Yet this series seemingly eliminates all trace of reasonable civil rights by resorting to authorized violence as a first reaction rather than a last response. Furthermore, after the episode takes pains to explain that the gun's announcements can only be heard by the gun wielder, the episode ignores that pronouncement.
I can't say that I'm disappointed by the first episode of Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal II because my expectations weren't very high, but unlike the debut episode of Battle Spirits: Sword Eyes that managed to be fairly fun, the debut episode of Zexal II does begin a new story but does so in a very bland, conventional, and uninteresting way.
ROBOTICS;NOTES will probably turn into a fairly popular show just because it's a Nitro+ dramatic title like Steins;Gate was. But the first episode is almost surprisingly dull with practically no conflict and certainly no characters to care about.
Watched the very enjoyable second episode of Wooser no Sono Higurashi.
The first episode of Oshiri Kajiri Mushi has attractive background art, but there's not very much else especially interesting about it.
They have super moves! The first episode of Aikatsu kept me entertained, although it's not much different from other idol anime like Lilpri and Pretty Rhythm. However, the concert scene that's supposed to be a highlight of the episode is rendered in very underwhelming, stiffly animated CG.
An alien squid that vulnerable to water doesn't make sense to me, but otherwise the first episode of Pichi Pichi Shizuku-chan was about what I expected.
Watched the Falcons extend their winning streak to five by defeating the Redskins. Watched the Patriots handily beat the Broncos. Watched the Saints narrowly beat the Chargers. Watched the Texans continue its winning streak by beating the pitiful Jets.
|November 6th, 2012, 02:21 PM||#1544|
Join Date: Jul 2001
After the ridiculous character designs of Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal II, I'm grateful to see normal looking characters in the first episode of Cross Fight B-Daman eS. Like the recent Beyblade and Danboru Senki series, this show doesn't seem to depict children playing wiht toys so much as children playing with small weapons.
The Accel World EX OVA is an amusing side-story treat for viewers familiar with the TV series.
Watched Hunter x Hunter (2011) episodes 49-52.
I still don't really know about the second episode of Magi. Once again, the production values are quite good, but I'm not fully buying into the narrative because the two protagonist characterizations just feel weak. They both feel more like plot devices than actual people.
Hayate no Gotoku series 3 episode 2 was quite fun. Episode 3 wasn't quite as entertaining but wasn't bad. Episode 4 is fun because anime about anime culture are frequently pretty entertaining.
The second episode of Zetsuen no Tempest feels a bit better than the first because it feels more natural and less forced. It also reveals a bit of intelligence and thoughtful consideration that wasn't immediately evident in the first episode.
Watched St. Seiya Omega 26-30. 27 was an unusually powerful episode.
K episode 2. A cat is fine too. Also watched episode 3.
Girls und Panzer episode 2 again adheres to the principle that the show is entertaining when it's dealing with tanks, and not so when it's not. Also watched episode 3 and the very fun episode 4.
Jormungand 15 is still pretty slow. Episode 16 feels a bit lazy.
Watched SAO episodes 15-18.
Watched Tari Tari episodes 6-9. Maybe I'll actually finish this show eventually.
The first episode of Medaka Box Abnormal is fun. The first three-quarters of the second episode bother me because Medaka seems like an almost entirely different person. Her established characterization seems discarded in favor of artificial plot development.
The second and third episodes of Jojo's Bizarre Adventures aren't better than the first, but they get so ridiculous that they're fun to watch sheerly for their absurdity.
My first impression upon beginning to watch the first episode of Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de was, ďWow! Nobody makes anime like this anymore.Ē I was thinking specifically of second-tier original action/fantasy shows of the sort that seemed fairly common in the 90s and early 2000s. When shows like this get made nowadays theyíre either based on shounen manga or theyíre shows like Jyu-Oh-Sei that are both based on manga and made for specialized broadcast, or theyíre shows like the two ďShiningĒ series that are based on video games. A few minutes into the episode I realized that this was the console wars parody fantasy anime based on the manga by Crimson, and I realized that I was right. Nobody does make second-tier original action/fantasy anime anymore. This is a mediocre show based on a gimmicky shounen manga based on video games. Itís not great, but I canít fault it because itís not trying to be great.
Enjoyed the second episode of Teekyuu, once again because it's so bizarre.
The zero episode of Seitokai no Ichizon Lv. 2 isn't bad at all, but it certainly does feel like it's trying too hard to be witty.
Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 episodes 3-6 continue to surprise me by being far better than I anticipated.
Watched Smile Precure episodes 24-26. I find that I'm continuing to fall farther behind on this show than I'd like.
OniAi episode 2 is more playful, mindless fun.
Watched the Minami-ke Omatase OVA.
Watched Wooser no Sono Higurashi episode 4.
Watched Joshiraku episode 6.
Finished off True Blood season 4 & watched season 5 episodes 1 & 2. I find that although I suspect I'm supposed to care about Tara, I don't, at all.
Director J.T. Pettyís 2008 horror western The Burrowers is an impressive looking film. The movie really has gorgeous cinematography, and the film does an impressive job of taking advantage of its full widescreen frame. The movie is also an admirable intelligent, albeit just a little clichť, dour and grim horror flick that feels no need to condescend or compromise to the audience. The film may be very superficially comparable to Tremors, but in tone itís polar opposite. The film never quite hits a fever pitch necessary to make it completely riveting or fully engrossing, but it is a solid, commendable little movie.
The 1963 classic haunted house film The Haunting suffers from some of the expected weaknesses of its era. The scientific researchers seem like nothing of the sort. Everything feels just a bit too polite. The set-up for the narrative doesnít quite feel like it entirely makes sense. And the movie relies far too heavily on blunt internal monologue. But the set design is wonderful, the horror evocative, and the direction quite impressive. The movie features a few key haunting scenes that are framed and shot very impressively. Unlike so many contemporary horror flicks that strive to create terror by posing a threat and intimidating with a concrete, palpable threat of pain and death, The Haunting works with true ambiguous fear and uncertainty that continues to torment the viewer.
Silent Hill: Revelation may be the most visually intense horror film since Hellraiser 2. Itís a horror film in the literal sense that it depicts scenes and events that are horrific. The movie has a distinctive visual aesthetic thatís faithful to the Silent Hill franchise and completely unlike everything else. Iím not entirely sure that the filmís narrative all makes sense, and the movie feels like it leaves a few plot points dangling, but ultimately it is fairly comprehensible, and itís fascinating because it devotes itself so completely to its horrifying otherworldly scope. Itís quite a good film, and Iím very happy that I had an opportunity to see in on the big screen, 3D notwithstanding.
Iím disappointed to say that I didnít love The Man With the Iron Fists. I respect the idea of American kung-fu movie fans creating their own homage to wu xia films, but I have a number of gripes about Iron Fist. The narrative may indeed have originated in a four-hour-long screenplay because the final movie feels like half of its story is missing. Particularly in the early going, when so much of the film is explained in expository summary, the movie feels like it had a much bigger story to tell but had to compress heavily. Possibly as a result, plot points seem to make no sense. The film fails to explain why the blacksmith feels such a strong connection to Gold Lion. The movie seems to assert that the Lion clan was to oversee the governmentís gold transfer, but then suddenly the Lion clan isnít transporting the gold anymore, with no explanation for why not. Bronze Body makes a few loaded references that are never explained or fulfilled: his killing his clan and his reference to the ďblack widows,Ē which I assumed meant more than what comes next. Jackís references to Peking Duck likewise donít get any elaboration. The Gemini twins are preceded by tremendous reputation that seems unjustified by their appearance. Moreover, for a kung-fu film, the martial arts throughout the film arenít very impressive. The movie certainly has the wire and stunt work of Chinese movies down pat, but the actual fighting isnít spectacular at all. I was also distracted by the filmís rather obvious effort to jam Russell Crow into absolutely as many scenes as possible. Oh, I also canít guess why ďPoison DaggerĒ is so named when he uses darts instead of daggers. Ultimately, the movie is mildly enjoyable, but it feels undercooked, like a movie that couldnít be what it wanted to be so instead turned into a spontaneous, make-it-up-as-we-go-along feature. The film wants to emulate films like Kung Fu Cult Master, Xu, The East is Red, and Burning Paradise but it doesnít feel iconic or epic the way those earlier Chinese films do.
Watched the exciting Falcons win over the Raiders. Watched the Giants pretty easily beat the 49ers and the Packers definitively defeat the Texans. Watched the Broncos come back to beat the Chargers. Our Bucs gave up a game to the Saints. Watched the Patriots narrowly beat the Jets in overtime. The Steelers versus Bengals game was more exciting than I'd anticipated it would be. The Bears didn't put up very many points against the Lions, but they didn't need to in order to win. Watched the Broncos crush the Saints, and caught the tense fourth quarter of the Giants narrow victory over the Cowboys. Watched the 49ers beat the Cardinals. Watched the close Miami/Baltimore game. Watched our Bucs manage a victory over the Raiders. The Falcons kept their undefeated streak by beating the Cowboys.
|December 16th, 2012, 05:23 PM||#1545|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Jojo 4-6 are so ridiculous that I actually laughed out loud multiple times during episode 6. The story is so exaggerated that it's as if every character only speaks in exclamations.
Jormungand episode 17 is a very boring episode that ends with some enjoyable action. Episode 18 is a bit more lively. 19 is the most fun the show has been in quite a while, although episode 20 slows way down again.
Watched Initial D Fifth Stage episodes 1-2.
Psycho-Pass 2-3 continue to strike me as very compromised. Certainly the art design and animation are nice, but the narrative wants to be taken seriously yet is so far outside of rationality that it feels like it would be more believable if the story occured on some foreign planet with alien characters instead of humans.
The Strike Witches movie feels like an extension of the second TV series, meaning that it's fairly inconsequential but not really bad. I do absolutely love the detail when Minna swaps out her overheated MG-42 barrel.
Watched SAO episodes 19-24. 24 is an especially satisfying and affecting episode.
I continue to find that I'm not enjoying Medaka Box Abnormal as much as I did the first season. Episodes 3-5 just don't have the same sense of fun that the first season did.
Watched Hunter x Hunter (2011) episode 53-58, wrapping up the Spider Troupe story arc.
Saint Seiya Omega episodes 30-35 aren't bad but certainly do feel like they're extending the story at a snail's pace.
Watched Joshiraku episode 8.
Watched K episodes 4-5.
I could only find the second episode of Gainax's old yakuza/mahjong OVA series Naki no Ryu. Honestly, in untranslated Japanese, it's pretty boring.
Watched the Penguin's Memory movie. My thoughts on it are here.
Watched the very cute home video exclusive Acchi Kocchi episode 13.
Watched Wooser no Sono Higurashi episodes 5-10.
In Inu x Boku SS home video episode 13 was uncharacteristically funny.
The 20th Crayon Shin-chan movie, Arashi o Yobu! Ora to Uchuu no Princess, feels reminiscent of the "Made in Saitama" movie in the regard that it's once again a very story and dialogue-heavy film with very little action. I still think that the "Hero of Kinpoko" movie is the weakest of the franchise, but this one certainly isn't as much fun as the series' best films like "Unkokusai's Ambition," "Kasukabe Boys," or even the immediately two prior films, "Golden Spy" and "My Bride."
Read the Battle Angel Alita: Last Order volume 16, Yotsuba &! volume 11, and Angel Para Bellum volume 1 manga.
Since I was abruptly in the mood for some Ultraman, I watched the Daikaiju Battle - Ultra Ginga Densetsu movie.
Watched the Titans humiliate the Dolphins, the Cowboys beat the Eagles, and the Texans beat the Bears. Watched the ugly Steelers vs. Chiefs game. Watched the second half of our Bucs' amazing overtime win over the Panthers. Watched the Patriots beat the Colts and the Steelers vs. Ravens game. Watched the 49ers crush the Bears on Monday night. Watched the last three quarters of the Texans Thanksgiving victory over the Lions and the Cowboys versus Redskins game and the Patriots humiliate the Jets. Watched the Browns unexpectedly manhandle the Steelers. Watched the 49ers beat the Saints and the Giants destroy the Packers. Honestly, since I was feeling tired, I kept nodding off throughout the Bucs loss to the Broncos. Watched the Cowboys play the Eagles. The Redskins victory over the Giants was a pretty good game. Watched our Bucs (again) lose, this time to the Eagles in the last two seconds of the game. Watched the Giants demolish the Saints and the Packers beat the Lions. Watched the Pats crush the Texans.
True Blood season 5 episodes 3-5 just seem to be laying on the misfortune. Also watched 6-10.