Archive for December, 2013

Crystal Ball: Watchlist for 2014

Well, 2013 barely worked out the way I wanted to. I still got to watch some of the anime I wanted to review.  So, on to 2014. Here’s what I have planned so far:

Clannad (24 episodes)

Clannad After Story (25 episodes)

Attack on Titan (25 episodes)

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (rewatch–26 episodes)

Rurouni Kenshin (YES! Found this one!–94 episodes)

Someday’s Dreamers (12 episodes)

Someday’s Dreamers II: Sora (12 episodes)

Sword Art Online  (25 episodes)

Patlabor (OVA version) (7 episodes) and TV Version

Saiyuki (rewatch–50 episodes)

Beyond the Boundary (12 episodes)

Blood-C (12 episodes)

Speed Racer (52 episodes)

Voices of a Distant Star

5 centimeters per second

The Place Promised in Our Early Days

and that’s just some of the stuff I plan to watch next year. See you in 2014!

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Anime Review: Star Blazers (Season 3)

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Genre: Space Opera

Studio/Creator: Leiji Matsumoto/Toei

Distributor: Manga Video

No of Episodes: 25

Suggested Age: 13+

My Rating: 7/10

Summary: The Argo is caught in the middle of a war between the Galmans (the re-formed Gamilon Empire) and the Bolar Federation. A stray missile fired during the war causes the sun’s thermonuclear reactions to go out of control. Unless it can be stopped, the sun will destroy the Earth in one year and the entire solar system in three. Derek Wildstar, now officially in command of the Argo, is charged to help find a new home for Earth’s population.

Review: This final season was not quite as good as the others. The animation was vastly improved from the previous seasons, although the drawing style hasn’t changed.  This season aired in the early 80’s, but it still holds up.

I didn’t much like what happened with Desslok. SPOILER: He actually goes back and forth on the good guy/bad guy scale, eventually settling on “wary ally”.  I don’t really see how Wildstar can trust him since he not only betrayed them a few times, but the other allies he gained in the second season as well.  I kind of wanted him to be executed at this point.

Overall, I liked this series a lot and had fun watching this milestone. Matsumoto month was a blast.

Sub/Dub: I only saw the dub.  It’s a pretty good one, for 70’s and 80’s anime.

Music/Score: Full of 70’s cheese. I loved it.

Violence: 5/10–If you can handle the violence seen in J J Abrahm’s reboot of Star Trek, this won’t be too bad.

Language: 0/10

Nudity: 0/10

Sexuality: 0/10

Related Media: There is a live-action movie, the original manga, and even a video game.

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Anime Review: Star Blazers Season 2

star

Genre: Space Opera

Studio/Creator: Leiji Matsumoto/Toei

Distributor: Manga Video

No of Episodes: 26

Suggested Age: 13+

Summary: With the Gamilon Empire defeated, the Star Force now has a new enemy: The Comet Empire. To make matters worse, Desslok is still alive and has joined the Comet Empire as well for revenge.

Review: The second season is every bit as good as the first.  Captain Avatar is no longer alive, and now Wildstar is in charge. I liked this change because I felt it showed how much his character had developed from the previous season.  I liked how at first, the Earth Defense Force was reluctant to oppose the Empire, as it reminded me of how wary the League of Nations was at the end of the first World War (no, I’m not that old).

The story still has that great Star Trek feel.  The animation is great, even for its time.  The show does not seem the least bit dated to me.

Desslok is still a great villain, even though he is now a man without an empire. He is the cliched man who has nothing to lose and everything to gain, and this story exploited that status.  I was glad to see him back.

So, should you watch season 2? If you enjoyed season 1, go right ahead.

Sub/Dub: I only saw the dub.  It’s a pretty good one, for 70’s and 80’s anime.

Music/Score: Full of 70’s cheese. I loved it.

Violence: 5/10–If you can handle the violence seen in J J Abrahm’s reboot of Star Trek, this won’t be too bad.

Language: 0/10

Nudity: 0/10

Sexuality: 0/10

Related Media: There is a live-action movie, the original manga, and even a video game.

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Anime Review: Star Blazers (Season 1)

star

Genre: Space Opera

Studio/Creator: Leiji Matsumoto/Toei

Distributor: Manga Video

No of Episodes: 26

Suggested Age: 13+

Summary: The evil Gamilon Empire is invading Earth by dropping “planet bombs”–meteorites that release toxic gas when they explode.  Fortunately, the Star Force receives a message from Queen Starsha of the planet Iscandar. She has a weapon that will neutralize the gases.  However, the Star Force has only one year to retrieve the weapon before Earth becomes too toxic for humans.  To make matters worse, the Empire is in pursuit to stop them.

Review: Like Captain Harlock, Star Blazers, is another milestone in America’s growing interest in anime.  It aired for three seasons, from 1979-1984.  Because each season had its own separate storyline, I have decided to break my review into parts, one for each season.

The anime is very much like a  Japanese version of Star Trek.  Even the uniforms the Star Force’s members wear are similar to the Federation uniforms on Star Trek.

The Gamilons are great villains. This is especially true of their leader, Desslok, who is a sophisticated despot and considers humans inferior.  His smug demeanor is well-characterized and I enjoyed despising him.

If you’re interested in anime history, I suggest giving this series a look.  Next week, I’ll look at season two, detailing the battle with the Comet Empire.

Sub/Dub: I only saw the dub.  It’s a pretty good one, for 70’s and 80’s anime.

Music/Score: Full of 70’s cheese. I loved it.

Violence: 5/10–If you can handle the violence seen in J J Abrahm’s reboot of Star Trek, this won’t be too bad.

Language: 0/10

Nudity: 0/10

Sexuality: 0/10

Related Media: There is a live-action movie, the original manga, and even a video game.

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Anime Review: Captain Harlock

harlockGenre: Space Opera

Creator/Studio: Leiji Matsumoto/Toei

No of Episodes: 42

Distributor: Discotek, also streams on Crunchy Roll

Suggested Age: 13+

My Rating: 10/10

Summary: Harlock is the captain of the pirate ship Arcadia.  He roams the stars, reveling in the freedom they provide while admonishing his homeworld of Earth.  He fights the all-female alien race known as the Mazone.

Review: Leiji Matsumoto is to anime who Gene Roddenberry was to our sci-fi.  He created several space operas, two of which–Captain Harlock and Star Blazers were broadcast in the US in the 1970’s. His vision can be seen in such titles as Outlaw Star, Cowboy Bebop, and to some extent, Last Exile. For this reason, I have decided to devote all of December to both Captain Harlock and Star Blazers. (the latter will be broken into three separate reviews, one for each season). Let’s start with Captain Harlock.

Captain Harlock is a classic anti-hero. He is disillusioned by the greed and selfishness of Earth.  However, he still believes that they are redeemable. This is why he fights the Mazone, because he realizes they will deprive him of his freedom.

The Mazone are good villains. They are relentless and believe that conquest is their birthright. They are also unique in that they are only one gender and are actually plant people. They completely despise humanity.

If you want to check out a milestone in anime history, I suggest checking this out. The art style takes a little getting used to, but other than that, I think it’s great.

Music/Score: Cheesy, but I like it.

Sub/Dub: Only watched the original.

Violence: (6/10) There’s some graphic violence here and there since the Mazone burn up when they die.

Language: (1/10)

Sexuality: (0/10)

Nudity: (1/10)–A few scenes with the Mazone, but mostly in silhouette.

Religion: 0/10

Related Media: There’s the manga, which I believe might be out of print.  I’ve also heard of a new CG movie and CPM used to have a movie called Arcadia of My Youth.

 

 

 

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