Archive for June, 2013
No. of Episodes: 25
Suggested Age: 13+
My Rating: 8/10
Summary: The remote island of Tatsumiyajima survives in isolation from the rest of the world thanks to a force field protecting them from the Festum, an enemy they thought they destroyed. After several years of peace, a lone Festum discovers the island and attacks. In desperation, the island launches the Fafner Mark Elf, an experimental mecha piloted by the untested Kazuki Makabe. But now that they have been discovered, what is the next option?
Review: I think by now my regular readers can guess that I”m a huge mecha aficionado. I’ve given high marks to GoLion, Gundam 00, Big O, and others. When I started watching this, I wasn’t impressed, but it grew on me. The art style is pretty close to Gundam Seed, (which I highly recommend, by the way). Kazuki looked like a clone of one of Gundam Seed’s protagonist Afrin Zola, and personality-wise, resembles Rahxephon’s hero, Kamina. It’s really not as generic as it sounds. Once you get the “this looks like Gundam Seed” thoughts out of your head.
The characterization is pretty good too. This is an island that has known nothing but peace for years, so we’d expect Kazuki to not be ready for the challenge. He’s headstrong, hot-tempered, and easy to sympathize with. I also liked the fact that there was a variation on the UN that demanded that the island share its secret with them to protect them from the Fafner, because that added some conflict, especially when they became enemies too.
So, is this worth a look? Yes. I’m surprised more people haven’t heard about this title. I really enjoyed it. If you like Gundam and Rahxephon give this a try.
Sub/Dub: One of my favorite voice actors is in this. Johnny Yong Bosch can turn anything into a great dub.
Music/Score: The Warsaw Orchestra does the BGM and gives it an epic feel.
Violence: (6/10) Typical mech-stuff. Some blood here and there.
Religion: (1/10) There are numerous references to Norse Mythology, particularly in the mech names.
Studio: OLM/Kazuke Fujishima
Distributor: Right Stuf, also streams on Hulu
No. of Episodes: 10
Suggested Age: 7+
My Rating: 8/10
Summary: This is the story of Miu Nomura, a piano student on the cusp of puberty. She is shy and struggling to find her joy that she used to feel playing the piano. Her teacher pressures her to compose and perform a piece at a recital.
Review: A pet peeve of mine is the anime that is less than 26 episodes. I always feel rushed along and I rarely get enough time to absorb everything. Sometimes it’ll be worthwhile, like Serial Experiments Lain or Haibane Renmei, but more often than not, I often wish the show was longer. Piano is a little of both.
The character designs are quite simplistic, but I like it. THe children all look the ages they’re supposed to, and Fujishima’s a great designer. Miu is just adorable. As someone who plays the piano himself, I could sympathize with her plight.
Yuuki is Miu’s best friend. She and Miu both have the same crush. I love how the story handles this issue and it’s great seeing Yuuki try her best not to let this dilemma handle their friendship.
One character who annoyed me a lot was Miu’s teacher. I felt that he was putting way too much pressure on the poor girl. The pressure permeated into her personal life and I couldn’t stand his refusal to listen to her.
By the time I got to the seventh episode, I dreaded getting to the end because I could feel the show needing more time. I still say this is worth a look, but I’m not going to say it’s a keeper. Fujishima is a good creator, but this is not one of his better titles.
Sub/Dub: I only got to hear the dub, which was pretty good.
Music/Score: Very pretty. I should point out that the opening song was actually composed by Miu’s Japanese voice actor.