Friday, October 1, 2010

TV Animes I Got: Mini Reviews


                                                                          Jay Agan                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
                                                                     Outlaw Star

       Gene Starwind & the crew of the aforementioned ship (who is also a crewmember) search vast reaches of space for a vaguely defined treasure known as "The Galactic Leyline". Not only having to contend with various factions of government, pirates, & assasins, each member of the crew has his/her own reasons for finding it.

      I disagree with those saying this is a sorta/kinda not as good alternative to Cowboy Bebop. An apples/oranges  comparison, I like the series for its own merits. One of which is Aisha, the beast babe. She kicks posterior! Oh yeah. Watch out for Fred.

      Rated 13 up.

      "Better Get Ready!"

                          The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (AKA Goddess Whackjob)
      A multilevel theological/metaphysical/sci fi satire. Title character just happens to be God (or at least a god). She may not know it but certainly acts like it! Various friends/factions (some with special "talents") endeavor to keep her from finding out. Otherwise the universe is in the tank.

      A fun head trip that actually has you thinking. Evangelicals viewing this will be forced to rethink their positions. Not!

      Rated 13 up.

      Vox Haruhi. Vox Dei.

                                                         Serial Experiments Lain

      Perhaps it should be titled Surreal Experiments Lain. Another theological/sci fi mind bender about a young lady coming to a startling realization: She's the physical extension of an all powerful entity existing out on all electronics & telecommunications, including the net. The "Wired" becomes the weird as the viewer is toured on various aspects of theology/metaphysics,  technology, history, conspiracy theories, UFO lore, & self awareness conceptivity.

      Anyone coming away from this thinking he's "got it" is only fooling himself. I've viewed it several times & still don't "get it" though I enjoy the process. You come away with what you take from it.

       Rated 16 up.

      "You don't seem to understand......"

                                                                     Hell Girl

      A Wednesday Addams/Penny Dreadful type not only takes one there but gives 'em a taste of it beforehand. Here's the deal: Pull the red thread off the straw doll & she'll take the one you hate to you know where. For a price. Which happens to be your soul when you kick off. Is the jerk worth it? YOU decide. I'd sooner get back at someone by "taking it out in trade" than spend eternity in "the other place" (Cleveland?). When you see the flowers comin' at ya, DUCK!

      Rated TV14 V.

      "This is vengeance. And I am to ferry you to Hell."


       I don't care for giant robot shows but this is an exception. Short early Gainax 6 ep series starts off as a parody then turns serious. Seems mankind is only a virus to the "organism" we call the galaxy & the colossal insectoid "space monsters" act as antibodies. The "virus" disagrees & is determined to survive. This, & the added factor of faster than light time differentials, make for an intrigueing show.

      Rated 16 up.     
      "Hard work & guts!"

                                                                     Kinos Journey

       It's not the destination, it's the getting there. Title character & sentient motorcycle travel from place to place  spending 3days/2nights taking in the locals strange ways. They're either hostile or weird in some way. The "Then Came Bronson" of anime. By the way, Kino's a girl.

      Rated TVPG V.

      "The world is ugly, therefore it is beutiful."

                                                                   Gunsmith Cats

      Gun store owner/marksman Rally Vincent & her bomb making little buddy, Minnie May Hopkins are bounty hunters in 1990s Chicago. The 3 ep mini-series finds them contending with gun runners, a corrupt BATF, an anti-gun politician, & a rogue Russian agent in a plot to transfer guns, drugs, money, & pass more restrictive gun laws. The NRA & Tea Partiers would love this show as do I.

       Animated violence, strong language & mature situations. Parental guidance suggested.

       "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

                                                          Otaku no Video (Fan Video)

       Gainaxs' mini 2 ep series is a self parody of their beginnings. Two guys set out to be the greatest super fans of anime/manga & go full bore into the business end of the hobby. With theatrics/melodrama along the way, they fulfil their dreams beyond their wildest imaginations. Best viewed when leaving out the superfluous live action parts.

       Brief nudity, adult situations.

                                                            Full Metal Panic: Fumufu

       Young mercenary Susuke Sagara has a double assignment: Watch over a future resource named Kaname Chidorie & finish high school. First part's easy enough. The second? Not so easy.

       Brought up in the hyper-military shadowland of the Mithril merc organisation, he has no idea what normal civilian life is about. Even the most mundane situation could be interpreted as dire or deadly & he acts accordingly. Part of the joke is though he's  supposed to be watching over Kaname, she's working way overtime covering for him & preventing the school from being destroyed.

       A master of covert ops, Susuke thinks he's doing a great job in concealing his position when in fact he stands out with all flags flying. Everyone notices he's heavily armed but never arrested (This is Japan after all.). His bearing/demeanor is beyond atypical. Destruction & collateral damage are mysteriously paid for along with a generous donation to the school.

       Tried watching the original series that led up to this one  but contains too much giant robot stuff for me to take. Fumufu by itself is a great watch though. Watch this one if you want to know what this "fumufu" thing is. Has something to do with "the Pokemon effect".

      Rated TVPG V.

      "I don't follow but it's not a problem."

                                                                         Stratos 4

      Fifty years from now, Earth will be going through a period of heightened comet/meteor activity. The second of the two stage defense system of the Cosmic Emergency Managment Agency, is the Meteor Sweepers. This division is composed of pilots & cadets flying planes as old as I am now (TSR80 & YAK28s), blasting comet fragments before they impact.

      Mikaze Honjo must get past personal difficulties & work with her team mates as they save the Earth. This, along with two subplots (An X-Files type & a lesbian subplot that turns out NOT to be a lesbian subplot {trust me on this}.) make for an interesting series.

      Rated 16 up.

      "I'm going to outer space!"

                                                       Mezzo Forte/Mezzo DSA

       Kick-butt babe Mikura, Pops & Harada, are the Danger Svc. Agency. A hand to mouth trio of gun toting troubleshooters taking on all sorts of risky jobs. As such they deal with gangsters, assasins, an alien, & a corrupt, lolita complex afflicted police chief. That VW takes a beating too.

      Forte is a two part "series" involving gangland infighting. DSA is a 12 ep series with several story arcs, & a subplot of a little girl idolizing Mikura & her problems with bullies & asserting herself.
      Forte rated 16 & older. DSA rated 15+.

      "Reach for the sky if ya wanna live long enough to eat dinner!"

                                                                     Area 88

       Shin Kazama is a mercenary pilot, but not by choice. Railroaded into flying for an at-war mid-eastern country by a "friend", he must serve out his contract before being let go. If he survives that is. Two motivators are to wed his fiance, & kill the aforementioned "friend".

      70s era story also features a veritable circus of war planes for the military history buff. Two previous movies cover the same ground, the second being the better of the two.

       Rated TVPG.
                                                                 Black Lagoon

      Four anti-heroes, a Nam vet, an electronics/computer genius, an "abducted" business negotiator, & an ultra foul mouthed, trigger happy, uber babe form the Black Lagoon Co. Operating out of a lawless area of southeast Asia, they'll do any job for anybody if the price is right. Gang/Mafia infighting, pirating/theft, smuggling, killer nuns (redundant), & incestuous vampire kiddies  (What?!). All this & more in Black Lagoon. Everybody but the Creature shows up (Why not?).

     Warning: Not only is this show ultra-violent but  the F-bomb is uttered almost 300 times in the series. Not for kids. Rated 16 up.

                                                Dirty Pair OVA/Dirty Pair Flash

      Girls 'n guns! Babes'n Bullets! Collateral damage! Horrendous loss of life! My favorite semi-homicidal, girls 'n guns, anime duo. Kei & Yuri (code name: Lovely Angels), a pair of "trouble consultants" for an FBI-like organization: The Worlds' Welfare Work  Assoc. (3WA). (The "Americanized" comic book version from the early 90s, by Adam Warren & Toren Smith got me hooked on the franchise.)

      If a case proves too tough for the locals, the 3WA sends agents on request. If it's these two, watch out! Dirty Pair is their unofficial nickname (wich they hate) as their missions tend to get out of hand. Civilizations wipe out, & whole planets have been known to melt when they're around. The central computer (An Apple?) always clears them of any wrong doing. I suspect the Dirty Pair are a cynical governmental form of population control as they're quite good at keeping the numbers in check.

      The Dirty Pair Flash reinvention is supposed to be about a couple of young ladies bearing the same name a century later, but we know better.

      The three (original) Dirty Pair movies, Flight 005 Conspiracy, Affair At Nolandia, & Project Eden, I rank in that order. Have every intention of getting the original 28 ep TV series when it comes out on disc.

       OVA rated TVPG V. Flash rated 15+.

       "It's not our fault!"

                                                                 Paranoia Agent

      Is he for real? A figment of someones' imagination? A figment of a figment, maybe? A warped 13 ep series about mass hysteria, urban legends, rumors, & yes.....paranoia. Woooooooo!

      Who is Lil' Slugger, this assailant on inline skates wielding a warped ball bat? Where will he strike next? And .....who's next? You? Me? The guy down the block? Owwww! That hurt! A lot! Strangely, I feel relieved about it. Ahhhh!

      Rated 16 up.
                                                                      Cowboy Bebop

      The best for last. The one. The only. THE anime essential. This is the anime, not only for fans, but for those who don't like anime. It's that different.

      The sponsers told the makers they didn't care what was in it as long as it had spaceships. This gave the studio latitude other creators can only dream of. Bebop is great not only for what it has, but also for what it doesn't. The vast majority of "tropes", cliches, & stereotypes are absent (No giant robots! Yay!). What ones there are, are downplayed, or as in the case of the Ed character, turned on its head (At times literally!).

      Jet, Spike, Faye, Ed, & Ein are itinerant bounty hunters cruising our solar system doing what they do. Set to great jazz, story arcs, some excellent stand alone eps & interesting characterisations, make for great viewing of a very atypical anime. The movie should be watched between eps 23 & 24 for continuity.

       Rated 13 up.

      "Whatever happens, happens."

      "You're gonna carry that weight."

      "See you in space..... cowboy."

      Disclaimer: Ratings are what were on the respective disc cases. Discretion is up to you.

      Next Time: Anime Movies I Got: Mini Reviews.

Article copyright © Jay Agan



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