Archive for the ‘Anime/Manga’ Category

XxX Holic

December 8, 2010

When I was younger, so much younger than today, I ate up everything CLAMP put out. X/1999 came out while I was in elementary school, and I thought it was brilliant. But I was like 9, and I thought lots of stupid things when I was 9.

However, XxX Holic is borderline brilliant, if only for the art. Much like everything else CLAMP draws, the art is painstakingly detailed, and a real feast for the eyes. The story is pretty good. Not life shatteringly good, but still good to make you want to read the whole series. The story revolves around a young man named Watanuki who is followed, and generally annoyed, by ghosts. While coming home from school one day, he is lured by his legs to enter a very Japanese style looking house. There he meets the beautiful, long haired Yuko, who says she can get rid of these spirits, but for a price. Thus, Watanuki becomes her part-time helper, and his spirit problems seem to vanish.

The plot is honestly much more involved, and even crosses over with another CLAMP title., Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. Both are really excellent manga. Would you be lost throughout XxX without reading Tsubasa? Maybe. I wasn’t. But it doesn’t hurt to pick up the other series either. I probably would not suggest this series if you’re not into manga. While CLAMP is good, if you’re used to reading Batman, you probably won’t get into anything CLAMP does. (However, if you do, then that’s awesome.)

-Lauren

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Soul Eater Om Nom

November 28, 2010

Soul Eater, a newish anime series to come out of Japan, has been running on Netflix Insta-Que. I love the Insta-Que because I can watch so much crap without waiting for a DVD to show up. And no, I don’t download stuff either.

To keep it simple, Death is trying to maintain peace and order in the world from zombie demon things who are eating human souls. Death has a special school where they train kids to be fighters. Maka, is one of those fighters. She works with a weapon called Soul, who is fighting these zombie demon things. If he eats 99 of these bad souls, and one witch soul (meaning 100 in total) he will become a super weapon for death to use. In the first episode they come close, but the “witch” they were hunting was really a cat with magic powers.

The other characters, Black Star and Death The Kid (as well as their respective weapons) are enjoyable. Black Star reminds of Naruto, only more obnoxious. Death The Kid (Death’s son) is pretty funny, and slightly OCD. They’re all not one-dimensional either, as they do grow and progress through the series. However, they are pretty typical characters for an anime. They’re all trying to find themselves, and in the long run they just might.

The animation is what I really want to talk about. It’s pretty awesome. It’s a wonderful blend of 2D and 3D, and they work together very well. The show, despite how morbid it is, is surprisingly colorful and a nice feast for the eyes. It’s no Princess Mononoke, but it’s still good.

-Lauren

Drill Baby, Drill!

November 10, 2010

God bless Netflix via X-Box. Without it my life would be 20% less exciting. Recently, I started to watch anime through it, and I’ve been (for the most part) not excited by anything I’ve seen.

Then I started watching Gurren Lagann.

I tried reading the manga some time ago, but I could not get into it. Thankfully, the anime is the opposite. The story is easier to follow, and really entertaining. The plot is pretty basic, and reminds me a great deal of ‘City of Ember’. In the future, humans live underground since it is unsafe to live on the surface. These villages are completely isolated, as they have no contact with the surface as well as other villages. Giha Village, where our story opens in, introduces us to Simon, a young digger who is possibly favored by the head of the village since he is an orphan.

Simon only knows of digging to expand the village, and of little else. His older “brother” Kamina has been (from what we assume) trying to break onto the surface for some time, in order to meet back up with his father. Kamina enlists the help of Simon, but after getting in trouble for attempting to break to the surface, all seems lost. That is until Simon finds a giant face (a mini Gunman), and then from there, all hell breaks loose. A bigger Gunman falls from the sky, followed by a busty young red hed named Yoko. The three escape to the surface, killing the Gunman before he can destroy the under ground village. Once on the surface, Simon is shocked by what is above them, but he knows he can’t go back under ground.

Simon and Kamina are two interesting characters, although both seem pretty typical for this kind of anime. However, they are both fun to watch (especially Kamina). Yoko on the other hand bores me. To me, she’s just another busty girl with a big gun who doesn’t want to be objectified, despite the lack of clothing she wears. The series does need her in it, but she’s rather disposable once things get moving. The other supporting characters add more to the show, especially Leeron, the teams mecha-tech. He is one of the best secondary characters in the whole series, with his overtly flamboyant personality and funny disposition. The antagonists are interesting as well. Most of them are some form of Beastmen, whose main goal in life is to kill any humans who come to the surface. They serve mostly as a way of giving team Gurren something to do (although without them the story is still very interesting).

Overall, this is one of the best anime I’ve seen in a long time. The animation is (for the most part) fluid and top notch. There were a few episodes where it has clearly been cut back a little, but over all the series is visually striking. While I have not heard the Japanese audio track, the English dub is perfectly fine. Dubbing has come a VERY long way since I started watching anime in 1990, and this is one of those series that proves it. I strongly urge you to watch the first episode at the very least, and see for yourself.

-Lauren

Happy Sunday!

October 3, 2010

Oh, Japanese cinema. I love thee.

-Lauren

Wonder Woman, T.V., and you.

October 2, 2010

http://livefeed.hollywoodreporter.com/2010/10/wonder-woman-tv-show.html

Not much to really comment on. I would love to see a female super-hero do well on the big screen by herself, but many people say it won’t work here. Now, dare I say, it works in Japan, we should make it work here. Before you go hysterical on me, Sailor Moon lasted on television, comics, and had three theatrical movie releases over most of the 1990’s. That does not include the MANY stage musicals that came after as well.

And while Sailor Moon did have a man she sort of relied on, please keep in mind this is the same man who got kidnapped by an evil space witch every season/movie/musical.

-Lauren

ANIME SWAG: I’M FLYING LIKE GOKU

July 27, 2010

-Lauren

Dear Europe, fuck you

July 19, 2010

I’m only jealous because according to this:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_r9BGMMVpdVk/S8S6BZFtboI/AAAAAAAACL0/1XeW4bdVFgc/s1600/smkazachokapril2010.jpg

many of you guys are getting Sailor Moon back.

Come on America, I need to see this series re-dubbed and shit!

-Lauren

Peter Fernandez RIP

July 16, 2010

Earlier today Peter Fernandez, the voice actor for Speed Racer, passed away. He also wrote the catchy theme song for the dub, as well as directed the English language cast. Fernandez also worked on other anime such as Astro Boy, Lupin the Third, Starblazers, and others. His contribution to anime in America is great, and it’s a shame American anime outlets didn’t acknowledge him more.

Fernandez landed the Speed Rracer gig, because he was a ghost writer for the Astro Boy and Gigantor English language scripts. He also edited and changed Speed Racer from its original Japanese format, to be acceptable for American audiences. He never knew the lasting impact Speed Racer would have on audiences across the world at the time. Speed Racer may be more or less a forgotten anime to your standard anime and manga fans (albeit he was at Otakon 2008, and he did get some attention there.) but the general American populace still acknowledges the series.

RIP

-Lauren

Free Collars Kingdom

July 5, 2010

This three issue series, by Fujima Takuya, is a gigantic piece of shit. Well story wise at least. The art is really appealing. However, the story was really lack luster. It started off on a good note. A cat is abandoned by his master (a young boy) who is sick and has to go to the hospital. For whatever damn reason, the mother throws the cat away because it reminds her of her not dead son. Honestly that is a great way to start a manga. It’s sad, dramatic, and it gives you hope that maybe the little boy will get well, go looking for his garbage kitty, rescue him, and then pimp slap his mother and throw her away.

Well, that doesn’t happen.

Instead the cat is “found” by other thrown away strays. And they all have super powers. At that point I can’t even tell you what happens because it’s all annoying fluff and pointless filler stories. I don’t even know if the kid comes back for his cat because I can not stomach this series. It’s not even cute, it’s just fucking dumb. Save yourself the agony and go read Sailor Moon.

-Lauren

Metropolis and Metropolis

June 29, 2010

A few weeks ago I was lucky to see the restored Metropolis (1927) with the new footage (or rather, original that had been lost for decades). This was my first time watching Metropolis, and I fell in love with the movie. The movie really did catch my attention, and held it better than most modern movies. I even cried when I thought Freder or  Maria were going to die during the end fight scene. But they didn’t. And no, that’s not a spoiler if the movie is older than everyone reading this. If you have not seen it, I urge you to do so. Netflix has the movie on instant watch (which you can stream into XBox or Wii), however that version is the shortened version. It’s not as clear, and the story is much different without the added scenes. Still, this movie is an exceptional film.

So naturally, I sought out the anime Metropolis. Based on the manga by God of Manga Osamu Tezuka, the movie has a similar core message, but it still hits the mark. What is truly impressive, is that Tezuka wrote his Metropolis based on stills he saw of the original Metropolis. The movie has the lower class (robots) rising against the upper class. There is a robotic girl based on a dead loved on, and there is heart, brain, and muscle in the film. There is also tons of homage to the Fritz Lang film. The original Machine Maria can be seen in the movie. When we meet this movie’s robot girl, she transforms much similar to Machine Maria. The other similarities are there: A cruel dictator, a son who is at odds, and again, a robot. But that’s it. This story is its own movie. It’s not a remake, not does it try to be.

This movie is also fantastic. You will feel empathy for some of the characters, and you will be engrossed by this film. However, this movie has the best animation I have seen in years. Fluid, colorful, stunning, and just beautiful. Cell animation and CG blend perfectly to create this amazing world of man and machine. The pacing is a little slow at times, but your eyes will not get bored. This movie doesn’t need sound, but it has it, so whatever. The music was odd. Jazz as opposed to sweeping orchestra music. Still, it worked.

Go see both. You’re life will thank me.

-Lauren