Archive for January, 2014

Anime Review: Baccano!

baccano

Genre: Crime/Action-Fantasy

Studio/Creator: Brain’s Base/Ryohgo Narita (writer of light novels) and Katsumi Enami (artist of light novels)

Distributor: FUNimation

No. Of Episodes: 16, counting a 3-episode epilogue

Suggested Age: 16+

My Rating: 8/10

Summary: This anime focuses on various characters people who only have one thing in common–all were on board the Flying Pussyfoot train when it was robbed in a gang war and terrorized by a shape-shifting monster known as the Rail Tracer. The anime shifts between each character’s story and tells events out of order as well.

Review: To be honest, I actually didn’t expect to like this story. I’m not a fan of mafia stories, not even the Godfather trilogy.  However, I found myself intrigued by the various threads within and thought it an interesting approach. Some of the POV’s were even unreliable.  My favorite characters were Isaac and Miria, a couple who dressed up in costumes when they robbed people. Yeah, they were doing wrong, but they had such fun and were so funny to watch, especially Isaac. I also liked Jacuzzi Splot because he evolved from a wimpy dude who realized he was in over his head into a somewhat capable, but still kind of wimpy person, thanks to his explosives-loving partner, Nice Holystone.  Ladd Russo is like the Joker, without the makeup. The order of events was kind of confusing at first, but as I got more into the story, things were easier to follow.

The animation is pretty good. All the characters are designed well and the Flying Pussyfoot looks neat.

This is a great character-driven story, and if you’ve heard all the hype, I suggest giving it a try.

Music/Score: Since this is mostly set in the 1920’s and 30’s, it makes sense that the score is quite jazzy. I liked it a lot, especially the opening theme. The closing theme is also very pretty.

Violence: (9/10) Pretty graphic, but it’s to be expected in a crime story.

Nudity: (0/10)

Sexuality: (0/10)

Religion: (1/10) Szilwald Quates is an alchemist and has a homunculus.  There’s also a specter known as the Rail Tracer, as I mentioned in the summary.

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Anime Review: Claymore

claymore

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Studio/Creator: Madhouse/Norihiro Yagi

Distributor: FUNimation

Suggested Age: 17+

No. of Episodes: 26

My Rating: 9/10

Summary: On a medieval island, humans are plagued by monsters called Yoma. A mysterious group called The Organization has created female warriors called Claymores to fight them.  These Claymores wield broadswords (hence the name) and have enhanced senses, stamina, and strength because they are a hybrid of both Yoma and human.  But this comes with a price–the Yoma half slowly consumes the human half.  The anime follows one member of this organization, Clare.  She is accompanied by an orphaned boy named Raki.

Review: This story is one of my favorite anime that I tried solely on a whim. The animation is very nice.

What I really like about this story is that it brings to mind a quote from Friedrich Nietzche: “He who fights monsters must see to it that he does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into the abyss, the abyss gazes into you.” (from Beyond Good and Evil) While I am by no means a fan of Nietzche, I appreciate the meaning behind the quote: as we strive to defeat evil, we run the risk of it slowly consuming us as well.  As we watch Clare progress, we see her struggle with both sides.

The world itself is designed very well. The medieval backdrop works well with the story, because the modern-day resources that would make these monsters a non-issue don’t exist and humans are less adept.

This was a great series that I tried on a whim. If you like lots of action, I highly recommend it.

Sub/Dub: Both are good.

Music/Score: Sets the tone well. The opening isn’t all that great, sadly.

Violence: 8/10–This is an extremely graphic story. Not for the faint-hearted.

Nudity: 6/10–Quite a few bathing scenes that seem to exist for fanservice.

Sexuality: 5/10–The awakening of the Yoma is compared to sexual release.

Religion: 3/10–The Yoma are demonic beings.

Related Media: This is based on the manga and there is a DS game as well.

 

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Anime Review: Ghost in the Shell Stand-Alone Complex (Dual Review)

ghostGenre: Cyberpunk

Studio/Creator: Production IG/Masamune Shirow

Distributor: Manga Entertainment

No of Episodes: 26 per season, 52 overall (note: second season is released separately as The Second Gig.

Suggested Age: 17+

My Rating: 10/10

Summary: This series tells the casefiles of Section 9, an organization of the Japanese police that fights cyber-terrorism, and is led by Major Mamoru Kusanagi. In season one, the team tracks down the Laughing Man. In season two, the villains are the Individual Eleven.

Review: This is every bit as good as the movies it prequels.  (However, it’s independent of the movie) I especially like season one over season two.  It has a more sympathetic villain in the Laughing Man. I guess everyone has an anarachist in them somewhere.  The second season is by no means bad, just the opposite.  The Individual Eleven are great enemies. I highly recommend both seasons.

Music/Score: It’s by Yoko Kanno. That’s all you need to know.

Sub/Dub: I only got to listen to the dub. It was well done.

Violence: (10/10) It’s among the most violent anime I’ve ever met, but that doesn’t mean the violence is unnecessary.

Language: (5/10)

Sexuality: (8/10) Robots are used for prostitution in one episode.

Nudity: (5/10) Major’s outfit is rather racy and she has a tendency to have nude scenes.  Because this is used for a symbolic means of exploring whether she can still be considered a person, I don’t mind this.

Religion: (1/10) Whether the soul still exists in a cybernetic body is a theme of the series.

Related Media: This is inspired by the Ghost in the Shell Manga, distributed in America by Dark Horse. There are also three movies: Ghost in the Shell, (I recommend the “2.0” upgrade, which I have reviewed on this site), Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, and Ghost in the Shell: Solid-State Society.

 

 

 

 

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