A week ago I finished watching all of Ghost in the Shell. I started out with Stand Alone Complex. Halfway through that series I realized it was based on a 1995 movie, but luckily I didn’t need knowledge of the movie to enjoy the TV series. I really enjoyed SAC and looked forward to the second season titled 2nd Gig. That was also good, but I felt the writing and plot lacked a bit in comparison to the first season. Both were still incredibly good in general and much more entertaining that other animes I’d seen lately. What impressed me about GitS was the script. How on earth so many machine/military/plot strategy/philosophical monologues and speeches could flow effortlessly in the series and keep my attention without my eyes glazing over and zoning out until the action starts is quite an accomplishment. There’s a lot of dialog and detail written into the script which could’ve easily turned into convoluted gibberish – as it usually does with most series. But GitS manages to keep it all in layman’s terms or after giving a rather mind numbing faux-worded explanation of something would then actually tell the audience, “In layman’s terms….” or “what you mean is…” and that helped keep all the chatter grounded. 2nd Gig does get a bit convoluted at times, but not enough to completely lose the audience.
What made all of the chatter even more impressive, was how well it was dubbed. Every word flowed in the series. The Major, Batou, and Togusa had my attention glued to the screen. The rest of the cast were also incredibly well done – with the exception of the annoying twangy Tachikomas. This doesn’t excuse the times I cringed listening to them, but I was awed by the adorable Tachikoma Days skits at the end of each episode and even their little song.
That being said, I went back after 2nd Gig and watched the 1995 movie. It. Was. Painful. The woman chosen for Motoko Kusanagi, aka The Major, in the english dub of the movie was horribly wooden or so radio sing-song-ish I almost said screw it to the dub. She was AWFUL. In fact, I’d probably recommend watching the sub of the movie because of how bad the dub was for that film. Interestingly, the chief, Batou and a few others started in the movie english dub and then continued on to the TV series. By then the voice actors knew what kinds of characters they were dealing with and the voice acting grew TEN TIMES BETTER. Again, it was almost painful to hear the chief and Batou in the movie after hearing them in the series, but it made me realize how much better voice acting progressed in anime over the years.
It’s not necessary to watch the 1995 movie to enjoy the series, but I am glad I saw it since I decided to watch ALL of it. Seeing the ’95 film is helpful when going into the sequel to the film (not the tv series), called Innocence. The animation for Innocence is incredible. Miles and miles above in quality from the first film and even above the quality in the tv series. The dub cast is also incredible because by then the actors were well enough acquainted with their roles from the tv series. I also really like how the music for Innocence was composed by the original GitS composer, Kawai Kenji. This keeps the movies firmly planted in their own timeline separate from the TV series, which has music composed by the awesome Yoko Kanna. Then there’s the movie following after the 2nd Gig season called Solid State Society. SSS was also impressive. I loved all the Togusa/Batou teamwork, mostly because those two are my favorite characters from the entire franchise. It wasn’t as compelling as the tv series, but still definitely worth watching.
I know there’s been a lot of stink about the new character design of The Major for the upcoming new series, GitS: Arise, but I’m not overly bothered by it and am looking forward to it – whenever that might be (probably over a year or so from now and that’s hoping it’ll get a dub WITH the original cast *sigh* ).
For me, the best part of GitS is the role of Motoko Kusanagi. FINALLY, I can now say I’ve seen an anime with a strong lead female character. She’s a respectable character who doesn’t get down played for being a woman, nor does she dumb down herself for having romances and becoming emotionally dependent upon a man. Some might argue since the Major is a cyborg, she’s not really a woman, therefore the argument of her being a strong female lead is invalid. I disagree with this because it’s made perfectly clear in the series that the “ghost” of these cyborgs (Motoko, Batou, etc…) have their own personalities and characteristics that define themselves. Motoko was born a girl, who ended up needing to be cyborized in order to survive. She could’ve chosen to have a male cyborg body (which is noted by Batou a few times in the series, but always shot down by the Major), but she didn’t because she made the point that she could be just as good as the male cyborgs while having a female cyborg body. Retaining her identity as a female meant something to her and should be taken as her exerting herself in a strong FEMALE role. Also, to have a series about a lead female character and NOT have a romance story in it is AWESOME. WHY IS THIS NOT DONE MORE OFTEN!? Ok, ok Motoko-Batou shippers, calm down. I’ll concede there is a bond between those two, but I like how the series doesn’t go overboard with it. It keeps their characters and relationships realistic, which makes this series one I will definitely want to see again.
Tilly hogged most of the attention away from the smaller pig when we came near the pen. The little pig oinked in a very disgruntled manner when Tilly shoved him out of the way.
Ramblings/spoilerific musings/personal review of Ergo Proxy. Read at your own risk if interested in the series. If not, then skip this post entirely.
If you like the type of show that generally keeps you utterly lost with a giant WTS IS HAPPENING! feeling throughout and only having it mildly put together at the end, then this might be right up your alley. For those who have read my previous musings about these types of anime (Evangelion, Revolutionary Girl Utena, RahXephon, and to a small degree Un-Go) I clearly am not a fan of these. I don’t mind philosophical anime with a good amount of symbolism or anime with complex story lines. My problem is with the execution of these types of anime and 9 times out of ten they fail miserably. Utena beats the viewer over the head with symbolic images and Evangelion/RahXephon philosophically mind-fuck the viewer into a state of abject submission (which is then called “Art” for lack of any reasonable way to explain what they just saw) or as in my case, a state of I-want-to-punch-you-all-NOW-for-making-this. Ergo Proxy is no exception.
EP has a great plot, but the execution of it leaves a lot to be desired. It’s the type of show that’s best explained backwards because the bulk of understanding with regards to the whole series shows up towards the end. This is not a bad thing. However, the show does a poor job of trying to point the viewer in a logical progression towards the ending, which when explained should give the viewer that wonderful “A-ha!” moment – but doesn’t. The series starts strong with several episodes building up events I thought would become more intriguing and entertaining. However, the train suddenly stops. The perspective and style of episodes drastically changes from thriller-suspense-mystery to philosophical clap-trap. The change is so jarring I wondered if the writer lost the script and made up shit in an effort to keep the series going and be unique about it. The result is completely rubbish. Not only does the focus entirely shift, but so does the animation in several episodes going from bad to worse. By the time the plot gets back on the tracks, I could barely give two shits for where it was going. The ending, which explains some of what the hell was happening all along, doesn’t entirely feel satisfying. It raises as many questions as it answers. That, in itself, is also not a bad thing and usually most good shows do succeed at it. EP does not because of the train wreck in the larger middle section of the series obliterating most of what I cared about.
To be honest, I felt bored with the majority of this anime. The only thing that kept my interest long enough to see the train wreck to the end was Vincent Law.
Although Re-l, the gothic-esque Evanescence looking heroine, was set up to be The Main Character with Vincent as a second-in-place-but-equally-plot-important minor, his role out-shined hers by miles. [I've since learned Vincent Law is the main character and Re-l or Real or Re-al or however the hell you spell her name is the secondary character.] He starts off as a goody-two-shoes by-the-book type of guy, desperately trying to become accepted as a true citizen of Romdo because he’s a foreigner from Mosk. As a foreigner, he’s looked down upon, but that doesn’t stop him from making every attempt at being a humble, law abiding person one day worthy of citizenship. Basically, he has the backbone of a jellyfish. When shit hits the fan and his character skyrockets from minuscule to INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT CHARACTER RIGHT HERE, he was the only one not getting the memo. ALL other characters go after him as he runs away completely perplexed. [It's ok because for the most part the viewer is left in the same boat with Vince but has a couple of incoherent clues.] As a result of him not knowing what the hell is going on he’s prone to whining a-la Shinji Ikari style. But what makes him intriguing is the fact that unlike Shinji, Vincent makes an attempt to understand what the hell is going on around (and within) him. He’s more proactive than Shinji and his moments of simplistic blind optimism makes his whining less annoying. His desire for understanding propels him at all costs. He is a sad character, but not so sad as to be crippled by it, yet has his emo moments. I can’t say I entirely liked him, but he definitely made the show worth watching.
The next best character was the Autoriev, Pino. Pino is a child companion robot who was infected with a virus called Cogito, allowing her to obtain the equivalent to a human soul and become free-thinking outside of her programing. [Get it COGito, as in COGnati...yeah, you get it. Play on words of the series!] Because she was programmed to be a “child” her behavior after the infection truly depicts the simple innocence of a child. She mostly acts as comic relief for the series and someone to help put everything into perspective particularly in episodes with a dearth of plot progress or positivity.
As mentioned before, Re-l Mayer is the heroine of the story. Aside from stylish looks Re-l Mayer is bratty, arrogant, dim-witted, selfish, vain, and as her personal robot Iggy pointed out – a bitch. As the granddaughter of the dude running the city of Romdo she’s kow-towed to wherever she goes. She starts off the series as being completely BORED by her life as an investigator for the intelligence agency, which is a joke in itself because I really don’t understand how she’s considered smart enough to work for an intelligence agency. The only thing she can do is use a shotgun and look badass. Throughout the series she changes very little or rather very little too late for me to bother caring about her anymore. When forced into somewhat dire conditions outside Romdo, she cares less about what is important and focuses more on who will brush her hair. That episode of her vanity is quickly followed by an excellent one where I was hoping I’d see a change in her character for the better. Her robot, Iggy, becomes infected with the Cogito virus, abducts Re-l and gives her a very much needed verbal bitch-slapping. During the whole episode he calls her out on her worthlessness in life because he’s always done everything for her, which I take it the writers really wanted to emphasize. The emphasis on him being necessary was two-sided, or so I think. It calls out how pathetic Re-l is as a character, but also generalizes how humanity as a whole becomes dependent upon technology to do everything. [Note: The whole series has several generalized messages like this which were well done half the time.] The episode is wonderfully refreshing because it gives a not very likable character an eye-opening chance to understand herself and hopefully make gradual changes for the better. Unfortunately, the episode twists at the end into a cliched damsel-in-distress routine and days later Re-l appears as brow-wrinkly-moody and pathetic as ever. A few episodes after that and she’s given center stage again when she does some “investigating” on her companions, Vincent and Pino. She’s clearly a control freak and when direct answers aren’t immediately before her tends to wrinkle her brow, frown a lot, and generally give up. Meanwhile, Vincent and Pino come across as completely normal, happy functioning people making the best out of a bad situation any way they can. [Note: Irony since Pino isn't a human.] Again, I’m sure Re-l’s moody no-nonsense attitude was deliberately pointed out as the “wrong” attitude to have, but it doesn’t endear her or make insights to her character meaningful in any way. Vincent and Pino endear themselves more in the episode than Re-l’s glacially slow character change into a more relaxed and open-minded being, which was mostly propelled because she had no choice against Vincent and Pino’s shenanigans. Her heartless response to Vincent’s declarations of love towards her make her all the more hateful as well. The only emotions she does display include: fear, irritation, shock, irritation, anger, and more irritation. She and Vincent could’ve been a good romantic couple for the show but fail because she’s a heartless bitch and he’s a bit of an idiot for liking such a heartless bitch to begin with. Re-l eventually comes around to Vincent’s aid/point of view in the end, but as I mentioned – far too late for me to care. Meanwhile Vincent’s acceptance of himself and his predicament change him for the better as a more assertive being with a purpose.
If there is one thing the show has going for it, it is visuals. They are quite spectacular. The character designs are good, the backgrounds are detailed and interesting, the fluidity of animation remained mostly steady throughout. As a post-apocalyptic series with dark landscapes to the set the mood it wins, big time. However, there were TONS of inconsistencies in the still graphics, particularly with character designs. I know what the characters are meant to look like because 60% of the time they do look good. But that 40% of stills where focus was placed on a thoughtful Re-l or a happy Vincent had me wondering if rookie illustrators were used every other episode. The glaring differences between what the character looks like and HOW that character should look in a different camera angle were mind-bogglingly BAD. Also, the several annoying “fluff” episodes meant to be different for philosophical reasons or… whatever, threw such a wrench in the style I nearly skipped them entirely because of how sloppy and out of place they looked. I didn’t skip them because I thought they might hold key plot points, but they usually didn’t, which pissed me off even more. Some backstory or character development usually occurred, but nothing to really merit those episodes (and shitty animation) worthy of being included in the series.
Overall, it was an ok anime. I don’t think it’s great, but it could’ve been a lot worse.
More anime reviews/ramblings…. Oh and btw, I’m making a separate category for all these on my site.
Natsume Yuujinchuo (Natsume’s Book of Friends): Viewers will either love this or be bored by it. From what I’ve seen so far online, most love it. As a huge fan of Miyazaki/Ghibli films I tend to like the quiet, simple styled anime as well as the action-packed. Natsume falls in the former category. It reminds me a lot of My Neighbor Totoro and Whisper of the Heart: very low-key slice-of-life style with a simple plot and well developed characters.
Natsume Takashi is an orphan (aren’t they ALL orphans in anime?) passed around from one disinterested distant relative to another. He’s kinda quirky, which makes his relatives not want to keep him for very long. He sees ghosts. Ever since he was little Natsume could see youkai, which is the Japanese word for spirits/ghosts/demons. Since Natsume always sees these ethereal creatures, he’s seen doing odd things by other humans who can’t see them: talking to himself, swinging arms/bags/whatever at thin air, randomly breaking out in a sprint, and spacing out when someone is talking to him. He knows he’s a nuisance to his relatives for this oddity and is aware that he’s not normal. Eventually two kind samaritans – the Fugiwaras, who are very distant relatives from Natsume’s father’s side, offer to take care of him. For the first time he feels the true warmth of a loving couple who honestly want to make him their son and take care of him. Overwhelmed by their kindness, Natsume resolves to be as good as possible and to never worry his new family.
That proves a bit problematic when he realizes he’s living in the exact same area where his late grandmother, Reiko, lived. Through an encounter with a youkai, who can take the form of a regular house cat, Natsume finds out his gran also saw ghosts. Reiko was a take-charge kind of woman whose sassiness got her into trouble, but her kindness usually won the youkai over. She made a book of names of spirits she’d bested in various confrontations and having the names meant she could control those spirits. Over the years the spirits became restless with waiting for Reiko, who none of them knew was dead since human lifespans are very short compared to a youkai. Since Natsume looks a lot like Reiko, the spirits go after him and decide they want their names back, or worse, they want control of Reiko’s Book of Friends so they may become all powerful and have many underling spirits at their beck and call. Natsume, who isn’t as action-seeking as his gran, takes a different approach to youkai and gives them back their names – or at least the ones that ask politely. The house cat youkai endears himself to Natsume, who then promises the book to the spirit after his death. The spirit could very well eat the boy, which seems to be what all the spirits want do do with humans, but decides he prefers to be amused for a while and promises to be Natsume’s bodyguard.
The episodic series shows the progression of Natsume as a person and with each season the subjects become more serious/darker in nature, but so does all the FEELS. Holy crap does this series go through emotional mountainous landscapes. One episode had me smiling and laughing all the way through it and the next would have me in a puddle of feelings so heart wrenching it’s difficult to put into words. Basically, I LOVE THIS SERIES. The characters are amazing and entertaining, especially the youkai bodyguard/ house cat Nyanko Sensei. His comic relief in the series is always welcome and usually puts a hard-to-feel-through scene into some perspective with a few well placed quips. The animation is also something fantastic to behold. I was thoroughly amazed with the beauty of each episode and impressed the animators would dare to use articles of clothing with so much detail. The use of light is incredible. Lots of golden sunsets and fantastic speckled streams of sunlight through trees in forests drew my attention to the quality of animation in this series more than it has in others I’ve watched. Awesome eye-candy!
There is no dub for this series, so english speakers will have to deal with subs, but that’s fine. The two voices of Nyanko Sensei (one for his cat form and one for his spirit form – I think) are well worth it. The twangy, nasal-y tone of Nyanko is really half the fun in his lines. Here is the ever adorable Natsume and Nyanko Sensei, who is highly disgruntled more people haven’t watched this series!
Un-Go: This is a detective series – or so it would have you think. The “detective” part is a bit underwhelming since usually the culprit is made blatantly obvious half the time. I’m struggling to find a way to really describe this series because most of it was odd. Not necessarily in a bad way, but not in a good way either. At 11 episodes it suffers greatly from trying to pack a good punch in far too short amount of time. Each episode is crammed with so much information and weird twists (especially the first couple episodes) I was left shaking my head and thinking WTF did I just see? What is going on?
So here is a slightly spoiler-ific attempt to explain it. Dude is told the best way to pay someone back is by doing a good deed or being useful/helpful to others. So in an effort to be selfless/useful he goes about the world(?) bringing entertainments to impoverished children. He comes across a group of people traveling in a van doing the same thing and joins them. This is all done in a war zone, but what war and where is not necessarily explained. You just know BOMBS AND GUNFIRE ARE HAPPENING! Hippies in van careen into a cave and apparently activate some spirit creature thingie by touching it. Main dude looks to be DEAD – only not? Spirit takes over and says Lunchtime! stealing the souls of fellow van people and revealing their true “altruistic” (hint: NOT) feelings about what they are doing. Dude wants to live and spits out spirit. They create a contract saying spirit will help dude in doing whatever dude does and in return spirit gets to eat a lot of souls, but is not allowed to kill people. Both go back and Dude – now by by the name of Shinjiro Yuki – goes around solving cases with his spirit sidekick Inga, who is a boy. Sort of. However, whenever a case is “solved” the credit ends up going to a super smart electronics dude helping to rebuild Japan’s electronic infrastructure – kinda?… I guess?… – by the name of Kaisho Rinroku. By the way, Japan was in WAR! but you don’t really know what WAR! it was or why it happened, but this is Alternate Universe Modern Japan so things don’t need to make sense, right? Rinroku is known as being Teh Awesome and Shinjiro is known as being The Defeated Detective because his glory is always taken by Rinroku, who also likes to change up how the public/media/world sees the case – i.e. never revealing entirely the truth of what happened, but more along the lines of military-style “cover-ups”. [Think Iron Man's "it was a Training Exercise incident" type of thing.] Inga’s role is to help Shinjiro, but is usually only there for comic relief and then on a somewhat seemingly random format to the events in each episode takes the soul of some culprit by sprouting into a voluptuously buxom female who looks more Alice-in-Wonderland styled sex kitten than spirit. He/She asks the culprit one question pertaining to the case and the person has no option but to truthfully answer her.
The show becomes formulaic, but the reasoning behind Inga pulling out her Jem routine to solve cases makes no sense at all. The show doesn’t try to be compelling as a detective series, but rather focuses on what people’s inner thoughts/feelings are, which makes one wonder What Is Truth when dealing with EVERYONE around you. Are people as nice and true as they say they are or are they like the 99% of bullshitters we KNOW they are because we ourselves are of that percentage. That in itself is compelling as an idea for a series and I get the feeling Un-Go originally tried to do this, but fails in nearly all aspects. In order to even care about what truths lay behind people’s motives you have to want to know and care about the character first – to a degree. Even a small degree is fine. Maybe a teensy one? Like, say… 5 degrees? Nope. Sorry. Characters are mostly flat and boring throughout. Even the main dude is plain vanilla. The only interesting character is Inga, whose she-male antics are amusing, but usually given far too little time on screen. This is a shame because the show itself is beautiful visually. I’m not a huge fan of the pointy-looking character design for the main dude, but most other characters look ok and general animation is awesome. What also irks me is the fact that I REALLY LIKE the opening and ending songs to this series. I love a good piano riff and the ending song gets me every time I hear it. It’s just a shame the show isn’t as good as the songs. Here is Inga, up to his/her weird antics.
Where to begin with this craptastic series? Jenny, I’m sorry, but I really DID NOT like it. Let me try to articulate why in a better fashion than the blathering I posted the other day about the other animes.
1. Protagonist is a pussy.
Seriously, Ikari Shinji is the most pathetic protagonist I’ve seen yet in an anime. I’ll admit – I identified a LOT with him because it’s clear the writers nailed down perfectly the epitome of someone with clinical depression. However, I still did not like him one bit. Maybe because it was a little too close to home? Could I have fawned over such a protagonist when I remember feeling the exact same way as a teen? NO. The level of desperation and constant “I hate myself”-ness exhibited by this character is downright nauseating to point where I wanted him to do the whole show a favor and kill himself. When I was his age, Captain Harlock was my hero and he was AWESOME. So although I could identify with Shinji (as I remembered myself being way back when), I still don’t think I’d have liked him because he was a weak ass whiny git. If he’s to be a superhero/protagonist of any kind, it’s of whiny annoying emo kids and that’s just not what I look for in a protagonist. I don’t mind flaws and weakness, but a core of identity and dignity is a must for me, so this character pissed me off from the first episode to the last.
2. All the other characters sucked too.
The cyborg-esque Rei could’ve been interesting, but wasn’t and ended up being as boring as the deadpan expression constantly on her face. The loud-mouthed red head, Asuka, needed a good bitch slapping. This post will be a novel if I go into why I can’t stand that character. The woman/Major the kids live with who is declared a slut just because she slept with one guy in the series was interesting, but still annoying. She was the only mildly tolerable character out of the whole bunch. The guy she slept with is a d-bag, but in that player-yet-kind-hearted-philosophical kind of way that makes me want to puke because of how pretentious it is. Shinji’s father is a total tool because you never know what he’s about. You only know he’s into doing whatever the hell he wants but without proper reasoning, hates his family, and sleeps with any woman he wants. Also, what the hell was with the 5th “child” to operate the newest Eva, but being a flamboyant masochistic angel of prophecy introduced way late in the series? In one episode he becomes BFFs and totally hearts Shinji, but then goes into bad angel mode and destroys stuff and then asks to be murdered by the one he loves. Um….. errr…… *head*desk*
3. The ending…. I’m sorry WHAT THE HELL did I just watch?
Ok, so story starts off with Shinji being yanked from daily life and thrown into a world of Evas (Evangelion machines… but not really… of sorts….) and military secret service called NERV so he can fight mankind’s nemesis, angels. The angels take various forms and the only things to defeat them are manmade “angels” that are actually living versions of angels, but harnessed with machinery. And they can only be operated by 14 year olds. So Shinji, Rei, and Asuka hop into the angel machines called Evas and fight off the baddie angels. Only those baddie angels might be controlled by an organization called SEELE, which Shinji’s dad is actually part of… or was… or was kicked out of for being a d-bag….? (He’s also part of NERV as well, so you know, has his hands in all the pots I guess.) Several annoying angel fights and rather paltry character developments later the show doesn’t give too much explanation until around episode 20 where ALL THE THINGS are explained, but in a not very good way. It would’ve been nice to spread out this info more throughout the series so the viewers don’t sit around with a general WTF? feeling until nearly the very end. A couple episodes after that ALL the angels are defeated! Yay? So what’s going to take up the last 4 episodes? 2001 SPACE ODYSSEY! Only not because it’s more or less cryptic cross examining of the main characters (mostly stupid Shinji) in an effort to be philosophical and DEEP about the state of the human psyche. The animation goes to pot in an effort to be artistic and starts to give me a headache. What makes you you and why? Huh? ….. ok. Well this is a curve ball. A pseudo-weird alternate-but-not ending of happy kids in happy school leading happy normal lives is shown, but that’s not the reality because Shinji has The Feels and is too emotionally disturbed to know what the fuck he wants. So everything we’ve seen thus far in the series is… all in his head? A joke? A lie? Is he going to realize he can tolerate living in LIFE after all? The end.
I know Evangelion is considered a “classic” or “great” of sorts now amongst anime, but it really does not live up to the hype. I’m very critical of what people consider the amazing classics or must-sees of anime and so I’ve not been impressed with this offering. Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, and Samurai Champloo are a few others that are considered “greats” I’ve yet to watch. The only one that mildly interests me is Cowboy.
There is a short movie that came with my download. Apparently it’s a retelling of the ending. There are several Evangelion movies (1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and I think another one being released this spring), but I doubt I’ll bother with any of them. I tried watching the one I had right after the series because I was so pissed off with the ending I immediately wanted something else. However, after ten minutes I had to give up. Ten minutes and I couldn’t take anymore of it. Just… no. The story picks up where Asuka has a break-down and can no longer operate her Eva. She’s thrown into the hospital and Shinji goes to visit her – mostly to whine about not being able to do anything because he’s a whiny pussy who needs everyone else to boss him around. Asuka seems to be in a comatose state and Shinji- being whiny- shakes her so violently that he turns her body over in the bed, exposing her breasts. He then jerks off next to her bed and calls himself a sick fucker – cue to shot of his personal juice covered hand. I had to stop it and honestly have no desire to even bother with it now, even if the ending does make more sense. Why? Because Shinji still sucks and it’s obvious he’ll remain The Worst Protagonist Ever (in my book) regardless of how the ending is changed.
I feel like writing down thoughts on the anime shows I’ve watched lately. For those not into anime/manga this will most likely bore the crap out of you. There may be spoilers.
Headless motorcycle riding Celtic mythological creature. Hunky super Hulk guy with a short fuse who hates violence. Conniving puppet master Loki type psycho. 3 high school kids with personal issues due to reasons. The first three characters mentioned are the most fascinating, yet the series focuses on the last three, which were not fascinating. One of the 3 high school kids moves to Ikebukuro for high school. He’s a slightly anti-social naive little wallflower. His junior high best buddy takes him under his wing and both befriend another shy naive wallflower girl with big boobies. Booby girl has a dark secret because she is lonely and just wants to be loved. Junior high buddy also has a secret but he stays quiet because it’s cool not to say anything while noticing shit happening that he can most likely control but doesn’t because he’s too cool for that. Right. Celty (pronounced Selty), aka the headless rider, searches for her missing head in hopes of regaining her memories, which constantly seem to flit away from her the more she goes without said cranium. The scientist dude she lives with, who also has a bonor for her, knows where her head is – or at least who took it – but because he’s in love with her he doesn’t really help her much. And the viewers are supposed to accept that this “love” between the two characters is genuine although it feels more creepy stalkerish and highly manipulative. Angry hulk, Shizuo Heiwajima, has the uncanny ability to NOT control his pain thresh hold when doing something dangerous. Also, his short temper causes him to throw vending machines and street lamps when pissed off. Over time all his broken bones get stronger and he eventually becomes immune to the pain so he struts about Ikebukuro like a masochistic Superman, who nearly ALL other residents are terrified to even look at. His superstar younger brother takes care of this Hulk brother by providing him with a constant supply of clothes and a job with some other dude as a debt collector…. bully… guy. Izaya, the trickster-eque mastermind of the show, throws all above mentioned characters (mostly) into dangerous/ compromising daily situations to see how they get out of them for A) fun, B) stir shit up because he can, and C) be chosen as some great mythological hero Celty has the ability to take to another world to possibly sort of rule or do something or….. something. Basically he knows about Celty’s head and knows she is the key to making him some Great Dude, but the only problem is the actual Great Dude is in fact the Hulk, who just so happens to be BFFs with Celty, which makes Izaya kinda pissy. I just realized, I don’t really remember at all what the names are of the kids because they were THAT boring. One was a color gang leader, but gave it up because of a girl and feelings. The other is also the leader of a gang, but he’s Mr. Passive Wallflower about it until he realizes he’s got a battalion of people to use at his beck and call in case of emergencies and only uses them in a few situations. Emo booby girl gets stabby with a special knife when she wants attention, turning residents of Ikebukuro into stabby attention seeking zombies like herself and all because of feelings. There is no real cohesive story line in the series because there are too many to deal with and NONE of them are properly explained. Ikebukuro itself is a character in the series known for its oddness and weird happenings, mostly due to the interesting characters. Gangs flood the area on and off, legends (headless rider) are born and flying vending machines are considered daily occurrences. While the first half of the series throws all the story lines about pell-mell, the ones that truly stand out are the three weirdos (Celty, Shizuo, Izaya). However, the second half of the series focuses on the 3 kids and completely drops all the fascinating tidbits of the 3 weirdos in favor of the mundane. Whether or not the show’s writers were trying to say that crazy shit will occasionally happen (3 weirdos) so it’s not as important as friendships and Disney feelings (3 kids) is the sorta kinda half-assed badly explained point at the end, left me with mixed feelings. I get it – reality, you know. But honestly, I prefer the weirdos. Here’s a Shizuo punch to exemplify what I felt the writers did to the second half of what could have been an amazing series.
*head*desk* I had to wiki this one after watching it to try and figure out what the shit I just watched. I had the same mind-numbing feeling of: What great bastion of mind fuckery is this! about the show as I did Revolutionary Girl Utena. Ayato is a high school boy who one day on his way to school gets caught up in WAR/TERRORIST ATTACK on a train with his fellow students. Train derails, people fly about like a tossed salad and blood is shown. Red blood. Blood. Plot point. Got it. Boy runs off to get help, but finds out all of his city is SNAFU from the attack and ends up running onto a different train line…. question mark? He’s mostly led there from hearing a pretty girl in a yellow dress sing and be deadpan. He left one train line that was damaged, but now another is perfectly fine and…. eh? Dudes in black suits grab boy and mystery woman shows up kick butt on the suits. Suits bleed. OMG. Blue. Blood. BLUE. Plot point. Boy ends up running away from all by getting on the train the suits wanted him on to begin with. Boy gets off train at super secret shrine stop that maybe never existed before until he got on it…. question mark? Cylon-esque mech machine lives at shrine and awakens when boy is tranced into fusing with machine and dead pan yellow dress girl. Sort of. Mystery woman shows up at shrine and is rescued from flying debris by mech boy machine. All of a sudden MOM? shows up, gets hurt. Blue blood. Boy goes WHAT THE HELL! and flees into other portal dimension thingie, which takes him to… dun dun dun…. The. Real. World. Mystery woman, Haruka, not really but sorta explains Ayato is in Real World and it’s actually much bigger than Tokyo, which is actually enveloped in a small planetoid-like sphere created by the evil multi-dimensional people called Mu. And in the Real World it’s referred to as Tokyo Jupiter. Because it looks like Jupiter. Mulians = bad people because they have blue blood and forget memories once they come of age, sorta. Ayato, who has a “Mu Phase” in his blood, is treated like a hostile until a Dolem shows up and breaks things on the island/ military ocean cruiser in the Real World. Dolems are clay-with-blue-blood-when-explodey Mulian attack thingies that use songs or arias or tunes or something do do with sound reverberations to destroy stuff. They do this because they can since they think they are superior because they have blue blood. I think. Ayato uses mech machine to destroy Dolem and becomes semi-popular with military as a tool, but even more popular with a harem of vapid annoying girls with no real character traits nor need in the series other than to fawn over him. Ayato goes back and forth between Tokyo Jupiter and Real World a few times to collect girls for his harem and maybe gain a few very obscure plot points. Every time he likes a girl or someone in general, he says he’ll “protect” that character and then proceeds to violently kill them through symbolic obscure fighting scenes while in his mech, also known as the RahXephon. Another deadpan girl, who is part of the harem, is special like Ayato because she can operate a Xephon as well, but doesn’t until the end because she’s apparently a special needs kid. When she does “awaken” she and Ayato “fight” in a cryptic pseudo-sexual way in order to “tune the world”, which then explodes but also becomes incubated in an egg shell. Whatever the fuck that means. [This is where more Utena references flooded my brain, making it hurt more.] A movie was included in my series download and I found out it is a retelling of the anime that makes sense. Ok. So I decided to give that a whirl. Nope. It was merely a collage of clips from the series spliced together in a bad way to make the series shorter and more to the point, only not. A few added scenes, include Teh. Sex. between 29 year old Haruka and 17-ish year old Ayato because they are actually meant to be together 4evar but because he was in Tokyo Jupiter he aged much slower than she did. So she’s way older than him because biology doesn’t work the same in different worlds where time is messed up apparently. A few more scenes were added to the bad splicing, but for some reason all the really bad harem stuff was mostly intact. The world still goes egg shaped. My reaction, a hysterical Ayato:
This was a good, but frustrating series. From what I’ve learned in my thus far limited knowledge of anime, this series is a rarity because there is NOTHING magical in it. It’s a 74 episode psychological crime thriller, which was 20 episodes too long. Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a Japanese neurosurgeon working in Germany during the mid 90′s, has a sparkling future in front of him. He’s known as the best brain surgeon in the world, looks forward to doing more research to be the best brain surgeon in the universe, is engaged to the selfish materialistic and self righteous daughter of his boss, who is the chief director of the hospital Tenma’s at or something like that, and all around good guy. Hospital politics, bureaucratic red tape bullshit and self righteous head doctors being self righteous put Tenma in a morally ambiguous situation he’s not comfortable with. He makes a choice, resulting in an avalanche of misfortunes dumping on his head when he decides to save the life of a child instead of the mayor. The child has a twin sister who was witness to such a traumatizing event she’s gone dumb and is in the same hospital. Once the boy Tenma saved recovers, both he and his sister disappear and three hospital people – Tenma’s boss/fiancee’s dad included – die through mysterious happenings. Fingers point to Temna but substantial evidence is lacking so he’s in the clear. Fast forward ten years and strange events happen again at the hospital where people die and fingers wag again at Tenma because of similarities. Tenma, who witnesses the death of a patient and becomes suspect due to overwhelming circumstantial evidence, flees and begins a journey to take down the true killer of the patient – and nearly half a country’s worth of other people – Johan Liebert, aka the child Tenma saved 10 years ago. The characters in his series were fascinating and well thought out. Around 20 other supporting characters add hilarity, sadness, thoughtfulness and a whole slew of other thoroughly enjoyable emotions and subplots to the story arc. In the end nearly ALL of them are connected in one small way or another so not one seems overly extraneous. However, the constant game of cat-and-mouse between the characters being *thisclose* to the grand A-ha! moment that will help solve ALL the mysteries happens far too many times for tolerance. Character (not always Tenma, but someone you know will end up getting in touch with him or another character that will pass on the details) finds out something Super Important, but Johan and his minions or wannabe minions or sometimes even not even a minion or Johan but some rando who just so happens to be in the right place at the right time messes stuff up somehow by destroying evidence or dying, resets cat-and-mouse game for another 10-15 episodes to rebuild and happen all over again. Only for it all to happen in nearly the same way again. And again. And again. Despite the constant merry-go-round of how-Monster-could’ve-ended-30-some-odd-episodes-ago I was always willing to watch it. Although it’s not necessarily a series I could marathon due to the heavy subject matter. Here’s Tenma, doing what he does best to viewers.
Currently I’m halfway through Neon Genesis Evangelion, which is making me react much in the same way I felt about RahXephon, only without the harem, but much more pointless fan service. More thoughts when I’ve done with it.
A few weeks ago I was craving chocolate covered donuts, so I bought some minis at the grocery store. The following week I ended up at a Dunkin’ Donuts and bought 4. Why do the guys who work at Dunkin’ Donuts always push you to get 6 donuts? Seriously, the employees at Dunkin’ Donuts are the most annoying, pushiest people I’ve ever encountered. I was asked no less than FIVE TIMES and told I’d be getting more for my money and it’s a deal! How about BECAUSE I DON’T FUCKING WANT 6 DONUTS YOU TWAT! I’ve had this happen to me at several of the DD locations. Each time I leave wanting to punch someone – namely the douchebag behind the counter giving me a dirty look for not walking out with 6 donuts. Maybe I should get all 6 next time so I can throw the ones I don’t want at the guy behind the counter who pressures me into buying them.
Ok, so I didn’t mean to go on a rant, but seriously hate DD employees. It’s like they are brainwashed to up-sell and not take NO for an answer, which is really disturbing to me. Their donuts aren’t even all that great anyway.
Tonight Zach and I had mozzarella sticks, fried chicken, and orange slices. I had a Dr. Pepper with my dinner. I seriously have issues with eating well at times. I looked at my food and drink and wondered how old I am.
Normally I don’t do this sort of stuff, but I’m nearly in tears here.
For several years Zach and I have been watching videos of an adorable corgi named Goro from Japan. You could literally spend hours watching all the beautiful videos of Goro and sites of Japan. The owner takes lots of wonderful videos showcasing shrines, landmarks, parks, events, and everything else about where he lives.
Right now Goro is in trouble. He’s got a disease and needs an operation quickly. Unfortunately, the operation may be very expensive for Sirowan (the owner). So if you can, please subscribe to his feed, like his videos, and click on any ads if they show up. The revenue from the ad clicks will help give Sirowan money for Goro’s operation. Right now he’s also working on getting his paypal account working too so he can take donations that way.
Please note that you shouldn’t crazy click on the ads because youtube will then think the videos are spam and possibly block the account. So if you see any, then a click a day or every other day will suffice.
Also, the owner of the youtube account YoshiWelshCorgi will be donating all revenue from his account to Sirowan, so if you subscribe and click ads on that account you’ll be helping Goro as well.
*loud farting sound from the bed, where Zach is with his computer*
Zach: It wasn’t me.
Me: Then who was it?
Me: Bijoux isn’t even in the room!
Zach: I know, it was very loud.