Archive for October, 2012

Anime Review: Robotech Masters

Genre: Sci-fi/Mecha

Studio: Tatsunoko

Distributor: Manga/Harmony Gold

No of Episodes: 23

Suggested Age: 13+

My Rating: 6/10

Summary: This is an adaptation of Super Dimensional Cavalary Southern Cross, and is the second part of the Robotech Saga. Set fifteen years after the events in the Robotech saga.  It concerns the adventures of Lieutenant Dana Sterling, daughter of Max Sterling in the first series.

Review: I found this part of the saga marginally enjoyable.  The story was well-paced and somewhat engaging.

The animation isn’t much different from the previous installment.  I really like how detailed the mechs are.

The series’ heroine, Dana Sterling, seems very immature to me.  She tends to act rashly and I have to agree with her superiors who think that she doesn’t take her position seriously.  At times, I found her quite annoying.

Marie is another central character and is an excellent foil for Dana. She’s less impulsive and will react in a more mature fashion.  If Dana needs to be taken down a peg, it’s usually Marie that does it.

The final central character, Nova, is the youngest.  Like Marie, she’s also less immature than Dana. In fact, she considers Dana a rival.  At first, she seems cold, but as the show progresses, she slwoly becomes more open to others and more emotional.

My favorite character was Bowie.  The previous series had an annoying pacifist named Kyle.  He opposed the military and failed to acknoledge that they were actually protecting everyone from invaders.  Bowie, however, is a pacifist done right.  You can be a pacifist without opposing those who protect you or impeding their efforts, and Bowie clearly shows this.  We get the feeling that this is not something he wants to do, but he knows what is important.

Sub/Dub: Not a bad dub, actually. No annoying voices like in th previous installment.

Music/Score: There’s no change from the previous part’s score, so everything I said in my review of Robotech: The Macross Saga’s music applies here.

Violence: (4/10) If you can handle Star Wars, you’ll be fine.

Nudity: (3/10) Some shower scenes but not much else.

Religion: (0/10)

Sexuality: (0/10)

Related Media: This is the second of three series that made up the Robotech saga. A small press company called Comico adapted it back in the 80’s.

Leave a comment

Anime Review: Blood: The Last Vampire

Studio: Production I.G.

Distributor: Manga Video

Running Time: 48 minutes

Suggested Age: 17+

My Rating: 7/10

Summary:  (from the box) At the Yokota Air Force base in Japan, a nervous military is on the brink of the Vietnam War.  But a greater threat exists within the walls–vampires.  A team of top-secret undercover agents dispatches a mysterious young woman to destroy them…she is the last remaining original.

Review: Okay, this is going to be difficult for me. You see, I’ve set myself a 300-word minimum limit for each review.  The problem is that this is probably the shortest anime I’ve ever watched. So, here goes anything.

The animation is excellent.  It has this very good mix of both traditional cel-drawn animation and early CG. The animation may seem dated by today’s standards, but I disagree. The CG gives the anime a gritty, almost realistic feel.

The character designs are pretty good.  I thought the vampires were quite horrific, and I liked the fact that they were shape-shifters and even took human form.

Saya is an interesting heroine. Although I like her better in the “sequel” to this, Blood+, where she gets more depth.  But that’s because they have more time to develop her. Here, all we really need to know is that she was created for the sole purpose of killing these monsters. She can sense them and I think it’s hinted she can smell them. Killing is all she knows.

The story moves at a good pace. We are introduced to Saya right away and we see that she is all-business. She does not waste time and there is no wasted motion in her movements. In fact, she sees the humans threatened by the monsters a nuisance and only protects them because she’s ordered protects them.  because she’s ordered to do so.  As far as she’s concerned, they just get in the way. You can see this in how she treats the teacher who is caught in the vampires’ massacre.   She is irritated by how fearful the teacher is and quite a few times admonishes her for being a coward.

As you may have guessed, my main gripe is the time. I really feel this could’ve been another 45 minutes at least, instead of just 48.

Sub/Dub: There really isn’t a dub. The anime is in English, except for the characters who speak Japanese. (you can decide to subtitle the English or leave it alone) It seemed a bit unprofessional at times, but it wasn’t too bad.

Music/Score: Very atmospheric and well done.

Violence: (9/10) Saya rips through her prey with her sword, and it’s quite graphic. I had no problem because I expect this from a horror story.

Language: (1/10) Just one or two curse words.

Sexuality: (0/10)

Nudity: (0/10)

Religion: The story does take place on Halloween, but that’s it.

Related Media: There’s also two spin-off series: Blood+ (I highly recommend this series, even if you haven’t seen this movie) and Blood C. (which was just released on TV in Japan.) There’s also a manga and a live-action version.

4 Comments

Anime Review: Deadman Wonderland

Genre: Sci-fi

Studio/Creator: Manglobe/Jinsei Kataoka (story) and Kazuma Kondou (art)

Distributor: FUNimation, streams on Hulu and aired on the Toonami reboot

No. of Episodes: 12

Suggested Age: 17+

My Rating: 4/10

Summary: Ganta is a boy who is framed by the mysterious “Redman”. He is sent to a prison that was once an abandoned theme park. There, he must participate in death games with the other prisoners. He also discovers that he can turn his blood into weapons and meets Shiro, an energetic and enigmatic girl who claims to be his childhood friend.

Review: I have to admit, this was not something I liked.

First, let me give you the positives.  The animation was pretty good and had a good flow to it. Ganta was a great hero. I liked how determined he was not only to survive the games, but also to escape the prison.

Shiro kind of reminded me of Edward from Cowboy Bebop. She had a cheerful personality that made me like her. What made her work for me is that she was unpredictable.  This was refreshing, It was implied that she had a secret past and that made her interesting.

The plot was actually pretty good. Right at the start, we’re shown the massacre caused by the Redman  that Ganta gets framed for.  For some reason, everyone thinks he did it, and there’s even video of him gloating to prove it. I found that interesting, but then we never got any info on exactly how the video was faked. It was good to see them start with the murder since it was an important point.

Finally there’s Yuu Tagami. The prison is ruled by a man called the Promoter, who works the games as a way to entertain the crowds who come to watch.  The Promoter wants him to be Gante’s ally, which he agrees to.  This is mostly because the prison fits the criminals with collars that inject them with prison, but they are given candy that has an antidote.

Now for the negatives.  Firstly, I have an aversion to overtly violent stories.  I start to wonder if the overdone violence is even necessary, and that interferes with my enjoyment.  I have to say I felt this story was too violent for my liking.  I’ve liked some graphic titles like Ghost in the Shell and Now and Then, Here and There.  I don’t mind the violence in those stories because it’s not overwhelming.  It’s necessary for the story, and, most importantly, neither series glorified what was shown.  Deadman Wonderland glorifies and revels in its bloodshed. In order for the prisoners to be released, they must participate in the death games that the Promoter exhibits. One example was a race on platforms that are precariously built over spikes.  And of course, there was a sadistic person at the controls removing platforms so people would fall onto the spikes. The crowd wasn’t the least bit concerned, thinking because these people are criminals, they’re not worth compassion.

Another problem I had was the length, or lack thereof.  I normally don’t like shows that are less than 24 episodes, and this one was only 12. Shows like this are often too fast, and I find them too hard to follow. This was no exception. The plot can move way too fast to comprehend and I don’t get much chance to get to know the characters.

I really feel this one should be skipped.

Music/Score: The music for the opener was pretty good, and reminded me of Soundgarden, one of my favorite bands.  I also thought the closing was good.

Sub/Dub: I only watched the dub, but I found it good.  I was glad to hear Aaron Dismuke.

Violence: 8/10–As I said, this show really overdid it. The death game with the spikes was a good example of glorified violence, especially with the cheering crowd urging even more violence.  Then there was a little girl with a way-too-big sword who enjoyed being violent toward the prisoners when they were trying to escape. She didn’t care that she was killing people, in fact she enjoyed it.

Language: 5/10–Adult Swim’s dub used the bleep button a lot.

Sexuality: 5/10–Warden Makia’s uniform leaves little to the imagination. You can practically see her huge breasts. She looked like a hooker in a police uniform.

Nudity: 2/10–Shiro might as well be naked, considering how pale her skin is and her white outfit with strategically-placed spirals.

Religion: 0/10

Related Media: Based on the manga of the same name.

Trivia: This aired on the Toonami reboot!

1 Comment

Anime Review: Chrono Crusade

Genre: Fantasy/Historical

Studio/Creator: Gonzo/Daisuki Moriyama

Distributor: FUNimation, streams on Hulu

No of Episodes: 24

Suggested Age: 13+

My Rating: 9/10

Summary: Set in the 1920’s, this tells the adventures of Rosette Christopher, a demon-hunting nun working with the Magdalene Order, and Chrono, a demon she’s contracted with.  She is fighting the demon Aion to free her brother Joshua from his control.

Review: Because Japan isn’t a primarily Christian  nation, I don’t expect them to portray my denomination accurately.  So I went in expecting a negative approach. To my surprise, I got the exact opposite.

First of all, Rosette is a very heroic woman. In the gospels, Jesus tells his apostles that the greatest love is to lay down one’s life for his friends. Rosette certainly does this. In every encounter, Aion’s forces constantly endanger innocent civilians and she put herself on the line to protect them. True, she does have her flaws. She’s an obsessive gambler. She has a hot temper. But to me, this is a positive. You see, if you think the founders of the church and its heroes were perfect and unrelatable, you obviously haven’t read the Bible.  So seeing Rosette as clay-footed as the average human is actually accurate.

Azmaria is a girl with special powers that the Order adopts after Rosette rescues her, and she is adorable.  I love how she plays the heart of the group and is so generous. Plus, she’s so pretty!

Chrono is an excellent ally for Rosette. You can tell that they trust and love each other. In fact because using his powers can weaken Rosette, he often holds back.

Aion is an excellent villain. I love how he is constantly lying to Rosette and how ruthless he is. He tells her that God won’t help her or anyone else; that God doesn’t wish to involve Himself in human affairs.  This is completely contrary to Christian teaching because if it were true, Jesus wouldn’t have come to Earth.  I think this is great because since Aion is a demon, I would expect him to lie or twist the truth. Aion also never once addresses God by name. He’s always just addressing him indirectly. This is actually biblical.  In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he says that Jesus’s name is so revered, that all life, even demonic, must bow or kneel when it is said.  This brings to mind The Screwtape  Letters  by C.S. Lewis. In that book, Screwtape, a demon, wouldn’t dare say God nor Jesus’s names. He would call God “the enemy” instead

To sum it up, I was very impressed by Chrono Crusade.  I highly recommend this one.

Music/Score: The music is very beautiful. I enjoyed both themes.

Sub/Dub: The dub is better. The reason is that Satella is actually given a German accent by Tiffany Grant, who is famous for playing Asuka in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Rosette’s voice is also pretty good, despite its raspiness. And Greg Ayers is excellent as Chrono.

Violence: (7/10)–Quite a lot of bloodshed in this one.

Language: (2/10)–yes, Rosette is a nun and she curses.

Sexuality: (1/10)–A scientist at the order constantly makes lewd advances at the nuns.

Nudity: (2/10) Rosette’s habit gets ripped a lot in this show.

Religion: (7/10) Where to begin? It’s implied that demons actually can reform, which is not possible. If you decide you do not wish to be in God’s presence when you die, you never change your mind when you get to Hell. You stay that way forever.  Also, two spoilers:

SPOILER 1: Rosette is implied to be the reincarnation of Mary Magdalene, a woman who was a disciple of Jesus.

SPOILER 2: Late in the series, Rosette gets a stigmata, or wounds similar to those Jesus received when he was crucified. There are actually at least two accounts of saints who received stigmatas: St. Francis of Assisi and Padre Pio.

Related Media: This series is based on the manga of the same name.

Trivia: This was the final series to air on Sci-fi channel’s badly run and ill-fated anime block. It also aired on Showtime Beyond.

6 Comments