Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Animé - The Great Anime Review

One thing I do with my spare time is continue to watch animé. Whether what I watch delivers or not is, of course, up to my own personal preference (and mood) and whether I actually enjoy something enough to keep watching it through to the end. My preferred genres are sci-fi, action, martial arts, adventure and comedy, although some thriller, supernatural and detective stuff is good too. I'll mix my genres up if something looks good. In fact, I'll try just about anything because most animé could be considered mixed genre.

But give me guns and grenades, magic and mechas and I'm (usually) all over it.

A note on files
I avoid .mkv wherever possible for two simple reasons: firstly, my graphics card (GeForce 7600 GT) doesn't like them. It often decides to stop halfway and crash my system. Secondly, my Xbox can't read that file format, and so I can't watch them on my 29" TV, sitting comfortably in my armchair. I can convert .mkv files to .avi, but the programme I have been using keeps crashing, so this is turning out to be a bit of a mission for me as well.

Currently Watching
Here are the animé that are either currently running or that I am currently watching for whatever reasons.

Bleach - current
Shinigami waving their zanpakutous (soul slayers) around. Bleach is in to it's 140s but I'm not quite at episode 100 (episode 96). I've been struggling to catch up because I'll watch a burst of episodes and then get sick of it and have to take a break. It gets tedious and frustrating at times because of the way that battles and such drag out but it is still cool and I know that once I get through this story arc, things will pick up again.

Naruto Shippuuden
The carry on series from the popular ninja animé Naruto (that had ~220 episodes) that I heard is playing on Cartoon Network these days. I don't think I could bear to watch that in English. Shippuuden doesn't air again until next week, unfortunately, and the last episode was a double (Shippuuden special, 29-30). I'm still enjoying this, even though there is some of that frustration of things being drawn out and/or repeated too often.

For some reason I keep leaving this for a while. I started watching it months ago but am only up to episode seven. It's just not doing it for me, but if I get sick of anything else I'll go back to it. I guess purely supernatural stuff just isn't as good as other action series.

Recently Finished
I try to keep up with some current animé but do go back to series that I just never got to watch, either because I was too preoccupied with other things to consistently watch it or because I just didn't have the opportunity to. The following are some series I have recently completed and that I recommend.

Death Note - recent
This finished a few weeks back. Randomly, it was 37 episodes. I was a bit disappointed with the ending but it was actually inevitable when I think about it. Still, I'd have liked to have seen Yagami Light become the ruling god that he was trying to become. Nice animation and the content just really interested me from the beginning. I enjoyed most episodes. I think it dragged a bit as it got into the 20s, but after he beat the first L it picked up for a while. Overall, I did enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone that enjoys thrillers and doesn't mind a bit of drama.

Claymore - recent
Another disappointing ending - for anyone, I'd say. There was so much left open that I really, really hope they release an OVA. Apparently it shied away from the manga and that was really its downfall. The kakusenshu (however you spell it - awakened beings) weren't explained well enough and the last battle between Clare and Priscilla was so meh. Way too much korosu (I'll kill you!) , although I must admit, Clare looked freaking awesome in her awakened state. The fighting throughout most of the series was great, however, and the story up until the end was actually quite good.

RahXephon - old
I only just finished watching RahXephon last night for the first time - and it was awesome. This series is getting quite dated; I think it aired in 2003. I really enjoyed it, despite being confused for most of it - even after reading the wikipedia entry, which actually helped to grasp things a lot more. I was even pleased with the ending, although I'd like to see the TV movie that was made because it will fill in a few more gaps - and just simply because it's over QQ and I want to see more.

The animation was consistent and the CG was pretty nice. The motif of music and concert that ran through the series was really cool, too, but kind of added to the confusion - I think too much was left unexplained until the end, and even then some things didn't make complete sense (the whole Quon / Maya / Ayato relationship is a little unclear to me). But the concept of tuning the world was truly original, and the red/blue motif in that last episode was so freaking classy it almost made me cry.

The amount of people that died was pretty sad, though (which also brought tears to my eyes), so it sure delivered emotionally. When main characters die at the end, it hurts. In fact, due to that, it was a bit of a tragedy, despite the happy ending - and to me, endings where he gets her are always depressing anyway, because they are a reminder that reality just isn't one big happy ending. Some of us are destined to be alone.

D.N.Angel - old
I actually finished watching this quite a while ago - a few months - but I'm mentioning it because it still stands out as a series I completed this year that was worth watching. I'm not sure what genre to slot it into (supernatural, cutesy romance, fantasy), but the pace, the story and the character development were all well done. The concept of a supernatural art thief and his supernatural nemesis was just cool. And the whole animé was really kawaii, too. It left me feeling happy at the end.

Currently Downloading
There are a few titles that I am trying to get currently because they piqued my interest. Please note that some of these are from last year or 2005, so not all are current animé. The biggest reason I struggle to download anything is because torrents hate me - or my router, or my ISP, or something. I might have a file that is showing 300 seeds and it sits there for weeks in utorrent, mocking me with its 0.00 kb/s. Go figure o.O

Seirei no Moribito - finished
This looks like a cool shounen (guy) series. I heard that it's a mixed genre, but it contains fighting and some fantasy elements. Should turn out to be one that I'll enjoy - if the torrents will go. The only problem for me is that I can only find .mkv files to download - but that's a problem I'll have to sort out once I get the first episode.

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 - current
People say that they really are milking the Gundam franchise for all it's worth. One thing I'm a bit hesitant about is that the main characters seem to be teenagers. I'm thinking it could turn out to be like that latest Transformers; I didn't even watch a full episode and I had a bad impression of it. However, despite having never seen a Gundam episode (I have the full series of both SEED and Destiny but haven't watched any from either - yes Darrin, T.T) I am willing to give this one a shot - if the first episode will download.

Texhnolyze - finished
My brother recommended this. It sounds pretty aesthetic in nature with talk of having to really engage the story with all of your brain and admiring it for its artistic rather than thematic qualities. It sounds somewhat similar to Serial Experiments Lain, actually (which I found pretty out there, having watched just seven episodes a couple of years back). Here's hoping it decides to finish downloading because it does sound like a bit of an interesting watch.

Master of Epic - finished / short series
This just sounds really funny. It's an MMO parody animé, and as the World of Warcraft fan cum otaku that I am, I'm sure that I will enjoy this. It sounds almost as random as Excel Saga and I hope that it delivers just as much crazy humour :O

Suteki Tantei Labyrinth - current
Not sure what to say about this as I don't know that much as yet. It's a crime thriller but is a shojou animé. I don't tend to lean towards shojou (girl) series but this actually sounds like it could be good.

Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihorito - finished
I just typed that without checking back ^.^ Aside from having a tricky title, I think this one sounds like my type of animé. It's a samurai one, set in the bakumatsu period.

To Be Seen
There are a number of titles that I want to see but they either don't have the torrents available or no one has translated them. Such titles as Noein, Law of Ueki and Astraea Testament all sound really good, but I may never get to actually watch them. The older an animé gets, the harder it is to track down. You just have to let them slide on by and hope you can grab some from the next wave.


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