6 episodes – if EVA had been that short, it might have been more bearable. Ta-kun definitely was more so than Shinji. A Gainax production of a kid in a robot fighting aliens under the watch of a strange agency while indecisive in relations between three different girls, yes I can make that comparison.
The soundtrack is awesome. The sound of The Pillows is as iconic as that of Cowboy Bebop. It is not a disservice to say that the show is built around the themes rather than other way round. I like Crazy Sunshine and Little Busters.
The art is beautiful. As with many such 6-12 episode series ( that even extends to the dr who series ) the production value is high in the sense that every still frame appears to have been drawn, nay painted, by either Hayo Miyazaki, Tony Taka or Alex Ross.
The story – it expresses the ideas of anxiety around growing up very well. A guy has a horn growing out of head he can’t control – thats acne, right?
Anyway, its the kind of randomness that’ll make you leap upon the raft of causality when the narrative mentions a tenuous conspiracy plot, sandwiched between scenes of the obscenely strange and the perfectly observed mundane.
Ta-kun, the son of a bizarre publisher-baker and grandson of a pornagraphic retired baker, brother of a burgeoning baseball star in America, friend to the girlfriend (ex) of that brother, friend to the daughter of disgraced local politician, living in the town Mabuse, whose skyline dominated by the iron-shaped Medical Mechanica building. The preceding sentence makes little sense, and so does Ta-kun’s life when he gets hit on the head with a drawstring guitar by the moped loving alien hunter, who proceeds to dominate his life and make weird robots emerge from his head.
Its excellent and I need to get a dose of opening and closing themes regularly.
Haibane Renmei: Seen
Its like the exact opposite of Elfen Lied, with a polarity shift in the time devoted to darkness, but when it goes dark its very dark.
Like Genshiken, it shifts from who you think the lead is going to be to somebody else’s story. It starts with Rakka, who awakens in a small town, walled upon all sides, with wings and (eventually) a halo. She is called, and lives with other beings like herself as haibane. The individual haibane only live in the town (which has a regular human population) for a few years. Then their Day of Flight comes, personal to each and known to each, and they disappear. Those who do not take their day of flight . . . do they become crows? Become the mysterious cloaked Toga who are the only ones to walk beyond the town bounds? Die?
The threat lies in Reki, whose Day of Flight seems to approach. As this proceeds, we get the feeling that the haibane are, though never explicited stated, the dead that have time yet to serve, problems yet to resolve, and that if they do not resolve it on a basic emotional level, the circle of sin for some, then thats it forever. Reki, more than any other character, reflects Rakka’s stages of development, and foeshadows her future.
Essentially, its the most beautifully drawn, happy-sad anime I’ve seen. Definitely a first showing to the right type of audience.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Seen
Ah, there is a much better review of this on the internet. Its on the blog marked ‘revenant’ to side there. However, something appears to be eating its data alive, so until thats resolved, let this poor example be its understudy stand-in.
A little explanation. A friend of mine began using some very strange language on bebo, such as “Don’t believe in the me who believes in you, believes in the you who believes in himself.” Also, there were strange icons of a green-tinted sunglasses wearing fellow.
As such, I decided to investigate, and, well, I caught the meme. And this show does have a meme. Spiral beings are every set-busting, rule-breaking, magic-shattering, mind-smashing, sons of monkeys that bust up the formal status quo.
The shows boundaries are therefore burned through every few shows, doing in a season what it would take several to do, if at all. Simon the Digger, Kamina and Yoko go beyond that original set up very quickly, and so well written that every step made sense, felt right, and fit in with the series theme.
Simon and Kamina, in busting out of their underground village, discover the topside to be dominated by Gurrens (mecha) driven by various beastmen. This is the perfect set up for a seasonal gurren-of-the-week, which is rejected out of hand. It instead moves on, and on, and on, and on, and on, spiralling through to the universe to the infinity of the other side.
The characters I adore without comment.
The story shouldn’t work – it should jump the shark every other episode, but doesn’t.
The soundtrack is quite awesome, with its strange mix of classical themes and ‘Fight the Power’ rhythm.
Beautiful ending, you know. Don’t why a kid was trying to drill a coconut, but it was beautiful all the same. Don’t know if the mole-pig runt Boota had power of its own, or its exposure brought it out. Even that shouldn’t have worked, but did. Not a big point, but seeing as he was in human form at the start of the first episode (with its ambiguity in time), I wasn’t sure if he was a descendant of an early spiral knight being who deevolved into pig moles, or if that little flash was of late-Simon era Boota.
I really liked Rossiu. Crazy religious guy who converts and thus becomes more terrible than original adherents is rarely done so well.
Very rewatchable. Very first time friendly.
Ah, Kamina. And Kittan. And Nia. The Yoko kiss of death.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya: Seen
This little recommendation was another little life long love.
Kyon, our narrator, who dreamily wished that the strange was real as a child, then cast that aside, comes into a world where is the only normal human. This little world consists of three beautifully written characters – Yuki, the interface-purpose human data module, Mikuru-chan, the time-travelling jailbait and Itzumi, the transfer-student esper. All of these centre around the one, the only, believer in all, super utility talent mystery girl, Haruhi Suzimiya.
Ah, to explain her. Impossible. To describe her. Improbable. To defy her. Undoable. Sufficed to say, the first episode doesn’t feature her until the last few seconds, but by the time its over you have an exact grasp of her character. You probably know someone like her. From a distance.
I’ve overused this line to much in these reviews, but its a common theme in the shows I like best that they observe unidentified, universal gestures, experiences and situations. The way Yuki raises the book cover slightly when she is asked what she is reading, to the way they have her talk by simply sitting reading a text. The way they have Itzumi pause to discuss his emotions in the scene of a poor student movie, to his offhand comments about the state of existence. Mikuru’s high pitched whining to her kerfuffles in time travel. All nailed so perfectly that they slip so easily into the mind.
I liked Kyon. A good little narrator. Witty. Last episode narration just beautiful. He does it with panache were so many other males do it with contempt or shame. I’m actually interested in the manga for this one, and I’ll have to find out if its My Thing. Hopefully it is.
Ah, Asakura. Before she turned out be a sociopathic murdering robot, I might have felt sorry for her data disintegration.
Good bye World.
If you want a Fireflyesque show about a guy who can shoot people better any human, nay any carbon-based non-chlorroflyll beings and chooses not to ever, ever take a life, and backs that up at his own expense. Its off the wall, hilarious, painful, tragic, wise enough to be quiet, brave enough to be foolish and thoughtful enough to end.
Vash the Stampede, most feared man on the planet Gunsmoke, is an individual of plant parallel evolution whose speed, strength and reaction times leave humans in the dust. These abilities are shared by his brother Knives, who nobody knows about, and thus no-one fears as much as they should. Vash, on the other hand, has an unlimited knowledge of gunplay and would never take any form of life. And he backs it up, and that is such a rare theme in any narrative form, that I feel the need to repeat. Its hard, it’d be easier in so many ways, he could save so many more good folk, and his friends, and he never relents.
Its like that Dr Who episode where he gets to say “Nobody dies!”
It was like Green Arrow, but could confront the issue of a realistic non-anachronistic killing weapon being used for a non-fatal use.
It was Back to the Future III where he takes a bullet in the oven plate.
It was Shepherd Book and the Operative, (I just read ‘Those Left Behind’ – awesome!). It was Bilbo sparing Gollum, it was Light-dono sparing Mihael, etc.
It was Batman.
I’m probably letting the eye of nostalgia overselling it, but I’m interested in a show that either denies death or makes it happen only to those defined as non-people. The death of the man with cross filled with heavy mercy was one of a choice not to survive on the bones of others. It is not proud, does the impossible, and thus makes it mighty.
Here endeth the lesson
Also, I finished Death Note. I can see why there would be a much preferable ending. I think of it an elseworlds tale whose examination of a Light whose psychosis only exacerbated upon unplanned revelation to the point of total mental breakdown. I’d like to read this manga ending.
Ex Machina – First Hundred Days:
He is a superhero, quits, becomes a mayor of New York, (before Heroes). The order in which this is presented are flash backs that seem to be composited quite carefully. A lot of implieds dropped in the first issue. This has been out of the corner of my for a while, and it totally fufilled. Good stuff. More later.
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.
Like American Gods, unlike it, Gaiman claimed he wrote it after people he though Pratchett did the comedy in Good Omens. Silly puppets. Hilarious observational stuff. Lets put this way: There are two fairly impossible scenes about an entirely unanticipated cheap flight to Saint Andrews and the resulting taxi cab to hotel that only differ from what happened to Gaiman in two respects: One, for Gaiman the Island was Barbados, not Saint Andrews, and two, for Gaiman, when the driver pulled the car in a one-eighty hand brake turn, it was to pluck a nutmeg from a tree, not a lime.
A mythology anthology all his own.
The Chili Peppers had a song called Animal Bar. Quite recommendable.
The Anime Bar has a similarly random theme. In the Anime Bar, Kamina and Kittan are constantly fighting joint hosts and Nia head cook whose food nobody can eat.
In the Anime Bar, Maes Hughes shows pictures of his child to anyone, and dandles the Tucker girl on his knee while she feeds Alexander under the table.
In the Anime Bar, Kyu sups at a lemonade while sketching a flight device on a bar napkin. Reki is painting a painting in tomato ketchup. Maybe its a smiling train, maybe its a sun coming out after rain, who knows.
In the Anime Bar Kaji and Kaoru munch on melon from the brunch menu. Misato Katsuragi chugs away regardless, but she’ll need help getting home as always.
In the Anime Bar the man with the cross full of mercy gives a sermon between drinks.
In the Anime Bar, Spike is watching the TV for another bounty. Theres a girl there called Julia, like the Beatles song.
ITAB Mr. Hibiya discusses economics with the original Yumi.
ITAB Light-dono is reading a notebook with great interest. There are many police officers around him. There are no shinigami here but Rem and Jealous.
ITAB, I’m not going to lie to you, there are a lot of the Elfen Lied cast. Pretty much all of them. There is a shortage of chairs. There is a little girl with a dog getting along alot better now.
ITAB, which crosses genres quite easily, there is a man with dinosaur toys making shadow puppets on the wall while a Shepherd observes the good Reverend with great interest and some humour.
And why this diversion? Because that is 2,000+ words and I’m taking next week off.
Remember: Love and Peace!