Archive for December, 2012

Anime Review: Haibane Renmei

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Genre: Fantasy/Drama

Studio/Creator: Rondo Robe/Yoshitoshi Abe

No. of Episodes: 13

Age Rating: 10+

My Rating: 10/10

Distributor: FUNimation

Summary: In the town of Glie, angelic beings called Haibane coexist with humans. The story is told from the point of view of Rakka, a new arrival for the Haibane.

Review: I am so excited that this title has been revived. It’s one of my all-time favorite seris.

The art is just beautiful, with lots of attention to detail. For example, in one scene, we see several characters on a hill with windmils. You can actually see the cracks in their walls.

The Haibane are all great characters. I love their simplistic lifestyle, with everything being hand-me-downs rather than being able to purchase things. (they are, however, expected to work.) Each of them was once human and that they are reborn in their cocoons. While they are in these cocons, they dream and this dream is the source of each Haibane’s new name, because they do not remember their old lives. Let’s look at them individually.

Rakka is the chief protagonist. The best way to describe is to call her an “Audience surrogate.” This means she shows us what it would be like if you were to arrive in this town.  She is very inquisitive and  kind.

Kanna is quite tomboyish. She is sarcastic, but has a kind personality underneath. She also has a knack for machinery. She works at the clock tower.

Kuu is the youngest Haibane.  She (yes, she) seems very wise for ehr age and forms a special bond with Rakka.

Hikari wears glasses. She is a brigh-hearted girl who works at the bakery.

Nemu is the eldest Haibane.  She is a sleepy woman, but a dilligant assistant librarian.

Finally, there’s Reki.  One thing I really enjoy about the Haibane is that they seem very much like a family. Reki could be considered the big sister of the group. She dotes on the others and acts very motherly. She watches over the children who aren’t that important to the story. (although they are cute.)

The main reason I enjoy this show is that it resonates With Christianity. It explores redemption and forgiveness. In a way, the town is similar to the Catholic concept of purgatory, where souls go to be purified of their sins before entering Heaven.  I think every anime fan, Christian or not, should watch this.

Music/Score: The score is very pretty.  The opening is one of my all-time favorite themes.

Sub/Dub: Either one is great. I think they did an excellent job with the dub.

Violence: SPOILER! (1/10) When Rakka arrives in Glie, she does not have wings, unlike the other Haibane. Much later, in the first episode, the wings break through her back.

Nudity: (1/10) The opening and closing are the only nude scenes, and you don’t see anything because Rakka is in the fetal position anyway.

Sexuality: (0/10)

Religion: (1/10) I must point out that this is not meant to subscribe to Christianity.  Although the Haibane look like angels, they are not meant to be seen in that light.  However, as I have stated, the overall theme of the story does parallel Christian teachings, particularly in regards to sin and salvation.

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Anime Review: Texhnolyze

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Genre: Cyberpunk/Crime

Studio: Madhouse

Distributor: FUNimation

No. of Episodes: 22

Age Rating: 17+

My Rating: 9/10

Summary: This is the story of Ichise, a boy prizefighter with a prosthetic arm living in the city of Lux. Lux is a city ruled by various crime families.

Review: When I heard that FUNimation had revived this title, I was intrigued. I’d heard some good things about this and wanted to check it out. Here’s my thoughts.

The city of Lux is almost a character is almost a character in itself. It has a gritty feel to it. It is ruled by three groups. The Organo is a syndicate running the prosthetics. The Union is a populist organization. And finally, there’s the Racan, a group of “texhnolyzed” kids (meaning they all have prosthetics).

The story does not work like most shows.  While Ichise is the protagonist, he really doesn’t seem to get the focus you’d think. It’s really more of an ensemble story. Ichise himself is a different hero. For most of the story, if not all of it, he hardly speaks. We are only given his actions to go on. 

Another intersting character is Ran. Like Ichise, we also don’t hear much from her at first.  She can see into the future, but ironically can’t change it.  She seems interested in his future because of what she sees in it.

The woman who gives Ichise his new arm is known only as Doc. She is a firm believer in evolution and believes prosthetics are the next step.  The closest thing to a hero in this story is Shinji, the leader of the Racan. Like his followers, he has a “texhnolyzed” limb.  In this case, it’s his pointer finger.  He instigates many of the wars for his own agenda.

Finally I want to talk about Kazuko Yoshii. He wants to upset the city’s order and comes from the surface world. Almost his entire body is mechanical.

In conclusion, this is a great story.  I found the multiple focuses interesting.  It is definitely a series worth looking at. I’m glad I took the time.

Sub/Dub: I only saw a couple dubbed episodes, so I can’t comment.

Music/Score: The music has a techno feel to it. I didn’t like the main theme, but after a while I kinda liked it.

Violence: (7/10) There’s some very graphic moments, particularly when Ichise first receives his arm.

Language: (1/10)

Nudity: (5/10) Mostly during the operation sequence mentioned above.

Sexuality: (2/10) There was a rape scene.

Religion: (0/10)

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Anime Review: Serial Experiments Lain

lainGenre: Cyberpunk/Mystery

Studio/Creator: Radix/Yoshitoshi Abe

Distributor: FUNimation

No. of Episodes: 13

Suggested Age: 13+

My Rating: 10/10

Summary: A girl named Lain discovers secrets when she starts accessing (meaning the Internet) after a classmate commits suicide but gives her an e-mail after her death.

Review: I was so happy to see that FUNimation is reviving this and two other Yoshitoshi Abe titles Texhnolyze and Haibane Renmei. So I’m reviewing all of the titles they’ve revived because I feel every anime fan should check out his work.

The animation is fantastic. The best example I can give is the way shadows are drawn. Normally, shadows are drawn as, well, shadows. Just black, formless blobs.  But here, the shadows are colorful and look like distortions.

Serial Experiments Lain is a mystery. Watching it is like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle.  You can only see pieces and you have to figure out how they all fit.  You’re not given much info at first, but as the series continues, the pieces slowly come together.  I’ve watched it several times and I must admit.  I still haven’t completely understood the whole thing.  In fact, I had to read articles on Wikipedia to even start to understand it.

Lain is probably the biggest mystery of all. She seems autistic.  She doesn’t socialize with her fellow classmates.  She only has three friends, and of those, only one–Alice–actually treats her friendly.  It seems as if the other two are only nice to her because they hang around Alice.  She does not maintain eye contact when speaking to others, and often seems to have difficulty paying attention to others. As an autistic person, I have learned these are symptoms, so that’s how I came to this conclusion. Lain is also a prodigy.  Once her father buys her a new computer, it doesn’t take her long to upgrade it even further.

I feel that this is a series everyone should give a try. It is unique and well-animated. I am so glad FUNimation has revived so many of Geneon’s titles and I hope that you fans will try out titles like Serial Experiments Lain so they will continue to revive what was once one of my favorite distributors. So go ahead, try this series out.  You may not understand it, but I think it will make a good impression.

Sub/Dub: I only watched the dub, but I thought it was great.

Music/Score: I love the theme songs. Especially since the opening is actually in English.

Violence: (3/10) SPOILER!In episode 2, someone terrorizes a night club. In episode 4, a girl is shot by someone with an invisible gun. He does not stop shooting until the gun runs out of bullets.

Language: 1/10

Sexuality: 1/10–Alice is seen masturbating and she has an affair with a teacher.

Nudity: 1/10–Lain is naked in the closing credits.

Religion: 1/10 SPOILER! Lain meets an enigmatic man claiming to be God. However, it’s implied that she doesn’t believe him.

 

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Crystal Ball: New Anime Plans Dec 2012-Mar 2013

Well, a new year is upon us, meaning I have a plan a new anime schedule. Here’s what’s coming for the next 4 months.


December

Ergo Proxy (Dec 2)

No. of Episodes: 23

I’ve seen this one before,but I didn’t feel comfortable reviewing it. Luckily, I can watch it again on Hulu!

Monster (Dec 5)
No. of Episodes: 74
I watched this when it was on Syfy’s poorly managed anime block and I felt I should rewatch it at a faster pace.

Kaze No Stigma (Dec 8)
The trailer I saw in my boxed set of Last Exile and it sounded interesting.

January

Tiger and Bunny (Jan 8)
No. of Episodes: 25
I heard about this on CAA’s podcast. I like superheroes and this sounds like fun.

Tenchi Muyo OVA’s (Jan 19)
No. of Episodes: 13
I’m ecstatic to see that FUNimation has revived the Tenchi Muyo franchise, so I’ll review how it all started.

February
Blood+
(Feb 20)

No of Episodes: 52

I’ve been meaning to rewatch this forever. I’ve already watched and reviewed the movie Blood the Last Vampire so why not review the kinda sorta sequel?

March

Fafner in the Azure (March 2)

No of Episodes: 26

I remember reading about this in the now-defunct magazine Anime Insider.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (March 6)

No. of Episodes: 26

Yes, I’m a Christian and I’m reviewing this controversial anime.

Noein (March 24)

No of Episodes: 24

I saw this on Syfy and enjoyed it immensely.  I reviewed it for CAA, but I’ve always felt I could do better.

Piano: The Melody of a Young Girl

No. of Episodes: 10

I remember reading a review of this on the old version of CAA’s review page and it sounded good. I like slice-of-life, so I thought why not?

 

And that’s just the beginning of the year. I’m also going to do two projects I feel you’ll all find interesting. More on that next April. And next March, you’ll also see articles on some of Japan’s anime studios.

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