They’re the best Anime that 1999 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Mugen no Ryvius, Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou, and more!
10: Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne
MAL Score: 7.45
A normal looking high school girl on the outside, Kusakabe Maron is actually the reincarnation of Jeanne d’ Arc. With the help of the angel, Fin Fish, Maron works as the thief Jeanne at night to seal the demons that reside in pieces of artwork, preying upon the weak hearts of the owners. She is branded as a thief due to the fact that the artworks disappear after she seals the demons. One day, a new neighbor and classmate appears, as well as a rival in her night job, the thief Sinbad. With her own best friend being the detective’s daughter, out to capture her and the appearance of her new rival, Maron’s work is anything but easy.
KKJ doesn’t exactly provide anything ground breaking story-wise. It’s standard mahou shoujo material. Like many other thieves you may find in other anime, Jeanne oddly enough tells the police beforehand she actually plans to steal something, and magically completes her missions successfully, foiling the police each time. While there is an obvious plotline, majority of the anime is fairly episodic. It follows a monster of the week pattern, so each week (or should I say each episode) Jeanne seals another artwork, normally helping non-returning characters that have problems most likely due to the demons. The second half has the plot picking up, with new (and returning) antagonists as well as development of the romance between the two main characters. It’s fairly standard, but interesting enough if you don’t mind standard to begin with.
Unfortunately, the infamous reused transformation scene is used in KKJ, and is quite frankly an annoyance to watch after the first time. Animation is also reused a lot when it comes to the demon sealing. The animation is bright and colorful, and this being based off a manga by Tanemura Arina of course means awesome character designs, at least for the thieves’ costumes. An irritating number of still screens are also often used in KKJ, detracting enjoyment at times, simply because nobody likes to stare at a still screen when something else could be done. Anyhow, if you’re looking for amazing animation, look no further, because it certainly isn’t here.
Nothing too special can be found from sound either. The opening and endings are fairly catchy, although perhaps a more slow song would have been more fitting for the first ending. Background music is quite forgettable, but at least there’s nothing that ruins the scenes, proving that the BGM does its job. Voice acting is fairly satisfying, with Maron’s VA doing an excellent job showing her strength, will and loneliness. Fin Fish’s VA, while befitting her role, is fairly annoying to listen to however, probably due to the extremely high pitch.
KKJ’s characters would have to be its strongest point. Most of the characters develop throughout the series, especially the leads. Maron is a seemingly happy person, but behind it all is one who suffers from extreme loneliness. Chiaki is a somewhat trouble male who has a reluctance in engaging in any serious romantic relationship with another girl. The developing romantic relationship between her and Chiaki is pretty much the highlight of the show for the romance lovers, but it’s quite predictable from the start how it would all turn out. There’s more to Miyako then what appears at first, with this and the history behind some of the antagonists, make up for a fairly interesting cast of characters.
Did I like it?
If you’re wondering whether I actually enjoyed Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, I didn’t really. I’m a fan of the manga and thought the drama especially portrayed in it was brilliant. I was disappointed when I saw the anime had taken the mahou shoujo approach, with long and tedious transformation scenes, and pointless clashes between Jeanne and the police. I also hate monster of the week setups, as they prove to be far too boring and repetitive.
Overall, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne is your everyday mahou shoujo. Complete with transformation scenes, flashy (and unrealistic) action, and a bit of romance here and there. Take that with some of the drama and twists presented in the show, an interesting cast of characters, and we have an anime the mahou shoujo lovers could waste their lives on for a while.
1)must see; 2) must see; 3)must enjoy ^_^
Then I was a teenager I used to watch this and imagined that I am that brave, strong, lissome girl. I knew all phrases when she is transforming and that was my inducement to be better and alarm-clock which woke me up every morning with smile, bravery and impulse to continue what I have started.
Story is about friendship which could be very mystical and disloyal, about love which can be beautiful but in the same made-up, bet from the start till beginning it always is truthful to yourself which teaches us to love ourselves too. Great!
story : 8/10
i said i love this anime, but this anime is really stressed on what is absolute evil and what is absolute kindness, im kinda against that so i personally think this is an anime for younger kids and would like u to know that the plot is great its just my personal issues. There are good points and bad points to both the anime and manga, i recommend watching both. The manga have a better ending, though the anime already have a happy ending(i meant it you are not new to anime you pretty much know all this kinds of anime leads to happy ending) but the manga ending is like even more happy or something?
If you watch both, you will get a very detailed backstory for each main character.
art : 10/10
the art is PERFECT. it is so shoujo-ish, its exactly for girls. Now i would say that the manga actually have better art than the anime but… the anime’ transformation is awesome. so this anime is tittled ‘kamikaze kaitou jeanne”,
and you can kinda guess that it have somethings to do with theives. The main characters actually go through a transformation, which involve flashy lights and lots of turning and stuff. But in the manga its kinda dull, there’s not really the process for transformation, like poof the girl has changed.
sound : 9/10
The sound i great, but its like average… there’s no really good points and there’s no bad points either…
Character : 9/10
the characters are awesome, there’s a lot of backstory given for the girl, and a little for the guy. they have strong personality and there’s so much of character development. But you know you can never have too much. Now in the manga, there’s is more backstory given to fin fish. So it’s best to read both manga and anime.
Overall : 8/10
i know it will be 9/10 if i don have a preference over what kinds i like, so it’s just something personal.
9: Mugen no Ryvius
English: Infinite Ryvius
MAL Score: 7.47
The year is AD 2225. Kouji Aiba and Aoi Housen are serving as astronauts in-training in Liebe Delta which is located on the edge of the Geduld Sea. When saboteurs with unknown intents suddenly strike during a routine dive procedure, the space station plummets into the Geduld, a plasma field that links all the planets like a nervous system and crushes any ship that strays too far into it. With all the adults onboard killed, the young astronauts will have to survive this long journey home in midst of the growing tension amongst each other. Meanwhile the organizers of the sabotage look on and prepare to attack once more.
For me, what made the characters interesting wasn’t so much their innate personalities, but the way they handled the situations around them. Ultimately that is what defines the cast in this series. After all, many people find their true colours emerge in life-or-death situations, and I took a strange pleasure in seeing everyone change, stay the same, or reveal their true selves as everything began to crumble. While some of you might think about boys running amok doing all sorts of bad things, the instance that disturbed me the most involved perpetrators from my own gender. There are no groups in this anime that can easily be seen as victims or oppressors… everyone loses their grip a bit. We are all human, and there are no monsters to blame everything on.
The production, though nothing earth-shaking, adequately supports the story and characters, such that I never felt myself cringing due to quality issues. Certainly we’re not taking about a Miyazaki film here, but we spend so much time listening to dialogue that it never grated on me.
Infinite Ryvius is a look at the politics of a confused society under threat. Any student of history or politics would do well to watch this title. For those non-politically inclined, you might find yourselves drawn in by the character drama, thinking a lot about the world you live in, and that’s always a good thing, hmm? What would you do in the same situation? I think I’d probably cry, but then, that’s why I watch anime instead of actually piloting space ships. ^_~
Strange but this anime seems to be the only one that all the people who rated it liked and respect it, even the ones that gave it an average 7 think this is a really good anime, but just gets dragged down by animation and the really depressive story, in their opinion, i happen to like the animation and the story.
This anime has one visible flaw but the good points more than make up for it. The only flaw i can see, and the one that drove people off from this anime even before they gave it a chance is the animation that looks like it came out of the early-mid 90’s. Sure the fighting scenes don’t look so spectacular and there are no majors CG effects, but the animation is still capable of inflicting a few WOOWWs and i find the space battles more intriguing from the logic and realism point of view a lot better than in Gundam, and if you’ll watch the show you’ll know what i mean.
The character design is that semi-realistic mid 90’s Evangelion like style, no pink or blue hair, just the realistic colors you’ll find in humans, Aeris Blue doesn’t count since he has dyed hair. So overall i love the way they are drawn.
The sound is great, with nice music beats, even dough i didn’t enjoy the OP theme to much, but i can’t think of giving it a lower grade than 10 when it comes to voice acting. It has the best voice acting i ever came across, with voices so diverse and acting so realistic in all sorts of situation, from happiness, to anger, cry or desperation.
The plot is good and filled with nice and unpredictable twists and similar to the classic "Lord of the flies" but placed in a sf ground, so it’s all about how a few hundred teenagers without adults to watch over them fight to survive. And belive me, the outside enemy isn’t their own enemy, they are their worst enemy and as time passes things become more and more violent and desperate and the mood darker and darker.
So overall the story focuses on the human nature, on how people act in desperate situation and how these situations change their personalities, the fight for survival and acts of alliances, violence, backstabbing, emotions of all kinds from love, friendship to fear, hate, jealousy and self conservation. All put in an overall realistic and very detailed manner and very dark and dramatic that just keeps you wanting more. And this anime has a real ending, and i don’t mean the short, forced conclusion, no, a hole episode in which you can see the aftermath of "no spoilers" the story, unlike most of the japanese animes.
The character development has to be the crown jewel of this anime, it has the best, most extensive and unexpected character development I ever seen. All the characters are taken care of, some are important from day one others that you’ll never consider get a big importance after a while. I should warn you that there are about 26 characters that appear in every episode and have a real development, and that you might not like any of them in the end, but almost all change and at the end you’ll never recognize them and you’ll probably say "i never thought that he’ll end up this way". Maybe you’ll love some characters at first and then come to dislike then and the other way around.
Value and enjoyment:
This is one of the best, if not the best animes i’ve seen, and if you don’t mind the animation you’ll find a masterpiece of a story development, voice acting and character development…these are the three areas in which this anime could be the best of the best animes.
If you are a SF/psychology fan and you prefer story and character quality over animation quality then this is the BEST choice for you, but if you are a shallow person who just enjoys explosions and cool mechas and pantie shots then you better thing twice.
It is such a brilliant anime and yet so few people know of it, and why you ask? … Well i guess this world is composed of shallow pantie shot, mega-exposion loverz since this show is so unknown and shows like DearS, Naruto or other top100 animes are soo famous.
It’s also worth mentioning that in addition to the design choices, the follow-through on the art and animation in Ryvius is lackluster at best. Stiff, jerky movements abound, and the character art, which is rough to start with, suffers noticeable degradation in quality at many points. The cinematography during some of the space battles is so poor that I genuinely don’t think I would have been able to tell what was happening if not for the narration offered by the characters. Still-frames, poor transitions, reused footage—any technique that could shave a dollar off the cost of animation is used, and used frequently. On a more positive note, the space backgrounds aren’t half bad, and the mecha and ship designs are pretty impressive in comparison to everything else.
I swear that I’m not trying to beat this show up based only on its technical side, but frankly, whoever thought that this musical score was a good idea deserves to be beaten up, figuratively and literally. To elaborate on that a little, I’ll say that the soundtrack is unique—it’s a mix of jazzy contemporary, soft atmospheric noise, and grandiose orchestra, all underscored by a distinct flair of hip-hop influence. That sounds strange on paper, and in this particular case, it isn’t any better in practice. I’ve been impressed by hip-hop and electronic soundtracks in the past, but most of the music in Ryvius consists of simplistic beats that sound tinny and uninspired. One track features a man (who I can only assume was hard-up for cash at the time) repeatedly rapping the word “Ryvius.” I wish I could say I was kidding. It is one of the worst pieces of music that I have ever heard. The score has its high points, but they’re few and far between; in general, it actively detracts from the show. Good integration is theoretically possible even with a sub-par soundtrack, but the music in Ryvius fails to jive with what’s happening at any given point in time. Upbeat tracks play while people are panicking and dying, not just once, but with unerring frequency. Sometimes the music will start, barely manage to reach a point where it’s noticeable, play for five or ten seconds, and then stop abruptly to match an awkward scene transition. My impression of the sound in Infinite Ryvius matches my impression of many other things in Infinite Ryvius: It’s tacked-on and it feels unnatural.
The series hurries to introduce disaster; it takes all of two episodes to get to the “kids trapped on ship trying to stay alive” premise. The beginning is rushed, clearly, but it works; it breeds tension and arouses curiosity about how the situation will play out. It introduces the large cast, briefly but sufficiently, and tosses them all into the fray. But just as it gets to the point where the pot should start boiling, the series freezes. It has no idea what to do, and perversely, it brings some of its less convincing sci-fi elements to bear in a series of dreadfully uneventful mecha battles which mostly consist of the characters shouting inarticulate technobabble at one another. There’s precious little indication that these battles have anything to do with the plot as a whole, and indeed, once the story is complete it becomes glaringly obvious that they serve almost no purpose other than to kill time. Isn’t that an oddity; at the points where they occur, these fights lack the context to be suspenseful or engaging, but in retrospect, that context makes them seem silly and unnecessary. Nor do they appear to affect the characters in any way. You would think that these constant reminders of how tiny and mortal they are would drive the kids mad, but it seems like most of the character conflict pushing the story would have occurred with or without eight episodes worth of borderline junk.
Speaking of those characters, it’s on their behalf that I can finally give the show some much-needed credit. The cast is huge, and individually they aren’t the most complex bunch, but the show manages to juggle a pretty involving web of relationships that ends up bearing some rewards. There is a gritty and understated wit to the way the characters interact that I found myself appreciating more than anything else in the show—they mock each other gently, threaten each other softly, and on the rare occasions where they help each other, they do so with great humanity and sincerity. There is no clear-cut good or evil present in the series; everyone is an antagonist to someone, whether they know it or not. Some of them hate each other, but at the same time they recognize the need for one another. The ship’s pilots don’t like the thugs and the thugs don’t like the pilots, but neither can exist without the other; they know it and it shows in the way they act, which is both clever and true to how a society really functions.
Ryvius also manages to generate a fair amount of effective drama by taking character archetypes and forcing them to react to adversity. The pushy, aggressive, prideful brother? Make him get overpowered by a stronger boy and turned into an unwilling underling, then see how he handles it. The peacemaking, kind-hearted girl who just wants everybody to get along? Make her the target of merciless violence, and see if she can still cling to her optimism. It isn’t the most inspired or original formula, but it’s played well enough here—even in the very early episodes, the series is careful to drop some subtle hints that everyone might not be who they initially appear to be, and some equally subtle hints that some of the cast are undergoing transformations, for better or for worse. Sometimes those transformations are a bit over-the-top, but I’ll forgive that, because in general I found myself having just enough emotional investment in the characters to not want to see them break under pressure. In some of its human elements, at least, the series soundly struck the right note.
To get back to the story for a moment, I talked about the show’s beginning and middle, but not about its last third or so, which is the most satisfying part. It’s not perfect. It’s a plot that definitely requires a stretch on the part of the viewer to appreciate. But the fact that the series actually manages to snap out of its lengthy funk and make something of a story that initially appears to be a complete mess is commendable. Not only do some of the science fiction aspects come full circle, but the show actually manages to draw a meaningful parallel between the unseen antagonists and the children they’re targeting, which is a surprising and welcome turn of events. The last third of Ryvius makes all the difference in the world. It manages to pull the series out of the quagmire of mediocrity that the middle nearly drowned it in and breathe some life into it. There still isn’t any excuse for the painful ineptitude I mentioned earlier, but that the writers actually managed to pull themselves together for the home stretch is nothing to sneeze at.
To pin down just what ails Infinite Ryvius: It’s ambitious to a fault. There are way too many scarcely explained, grandiose sci-fi concepts placed alongside the comparatively grounded character interactions, and for the most part they end up feeling misplaced. Things like the Geduld, the destructive natural phenomenon that suddenly appeared in outer space, or the Sphixes, the beings which are associated with controlling the giant robots. Or the giant robots themselves, for that matter. Some of them do actually end up working, and when that happens they couple quite well with the show’s human half. I can see what the series is going for, certainly, but if I had to pick a number, I’d say that it’s sixty percent of the way there; not every thread is tied off, not every connection is firm. Its world just isn’t made whole on the level that you’d expect a sweeping sci-fi to operate on. But I do think this show earns the privilege of at least some recognition, mostly on the basis of its characters and the way it manages to steer itself into a graceful ending. It does just enough right for me to give it the benefit of the doubt, and a cautious recommendation.
8: Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou
English: His and Her Circumstances
MAL Score: 7.60
Yukino Miyazawa is the female representative for her class and the most popular girl among the freshmen at her high school. Good at both academics and sports on top of being elegant and sociable, she has been an object of admiration all her life. However, in reality, she is an incredibly vain person who toils relentlessly to maintain her good grades, athleticism, and graceful appearance. She wants nothing more than to be the center of attention and praise—which is why she cannot stand Soichiro Arima, the male representative for her class and the only person more perfect than her. Since the first day of high school, she has struggled to steal the spotlight from her new rival but to no avail.
At last, on the midterm exams, Yukino gets the top score and beats Soichiro. But, to her surprise, he congratulates her on her achievement, leading her to question her deceptive lifestyle. When Soichiro confesses his love to Yukino, she turns him down and gloats about it at home with only a hint of regret. But the very next day, Soichiro visits Yukino house to bring her a CD and sees her uninhibited self in action; now equipped with the truth, he blackmails her into completing his student council duties. Coerced into spending time with Soichiro, Yukino learns that she is not the only one hiding secrets.
At first glance, Kare Kano is your average high school romance story. Thankfully, the odd personalities of the two leading characters break the idea of this just being another romance story. Kare Kano does contain the usual shoujo romance story elements when it comes to the trials for our main couple (jealous outsiders, temporary separation). But originality is able to come through with the way the leading characters handle their problems, often ending in a comedic resolve to their troubles. Besides the usual love trials, Kare Kano also features a number of interesting side stories about the support characters, so if you’re not a fan of the main couple, fear not, there are other amusing couples in the series as well. Unfortunately, Kare Kano’s story takes a nosedive with the lack of an ending. The last few episodes continue to build the plot up, but the series simply ends before anything can come out of the previous events. This is one of the greatest annoyances when it comes to Kare Kano, especially if one is not a manga reader.
The animation is more or less quite poor in Kare Kano. Taking into account this show is from 1998, anyone can easily see the budget was definitely not allocated to producing good animation. The first half of the show had its moments, the animation in this part of the series were acceptable. One of the techniques that the producers used was to cut out still images directly from the manga, which can be both a good and bad thing. Obviously this saves the producer a lot on cost of actual animation and some may think it is quite cheap of them. But I would think majority of people feel the black and white manga images added to the atmosphere of the show, especially in the moments they were used (which were when things became more serious). The second half of Kare Kano was when the animation began to lose its charm. More still images were constantly being used. Episode 19 of Kare Kano had the entire episode made up of cardboard cut outs, which were stuck on sticks and moved around (like a puppet show). The last five episodes were horrendous, a lot more of the manga pictures were being used, but rather then adding to the atmosphere, it just made the entire show feel cheap. The final episode barely had any animation at all, simply still images.
The sound in Kare Kano is one of its stronger points. The opening and ending have catchy pop songs that some may or may not like depending on their taste in music. There are also a number of enjoyable piano tunes in Kare Kano. All in all, the background music fitted well to the mood in this anime. A good pat on the back for the Japanese voice actors of Kare Kano as well. The VA for Yukino (the leading female) did a wonderful job in bringing out Yukino’s two faced personality, as did the VA for Arima (the leading male). If anything, the only complaint I have for the Japanese VAs was the one for the supporting character Tsubasa. I only felt her voice did not feel right.
Perhaps Kare Kano’s strongest point would be the characters. The leading couple is two somewhat eccentric two faced people (particularly the female) who pretty much break out of the stereotypical shoujo couple. The leading female, Yukino is an absolute riot to watch. You will witness her stressing over the smallest of things, unbelievable for someone who at first glance seemed to be the most perfect person you could find anywhere. Supporting characters such as Asaba and Tsubasa are also equally enjoying to watch as their odd personalities fit in perfectly with Kare Kano’s quirkiness. Character development is very thorough in Kare Kano, with even Yukino’s parents having screen time to develop their back stories. The only negative feature when it comes to the characters is that even towards the end of the show the characters are constantly built up with development, only to have the show end before anything could happen.
For why I enjoyed Kare Kano, I was previously a fan of the manga already. My favourite character would definitely have to be Yukino for her weirdo personality and decisions to solve her problems. I also really like the ending song, which I thought was perfect. Albeit I was definitely frustrated with how the show ended. The terrible animation was just painful for me to watch (especially the last 6 or so episodes). And I thought it was a poor decision on the producer’s part to end the show like it would end every other episode, and slap on a “The End”. I mean, nothing ended at all.
Overall, despite its obvious flaws Kare Kano still manages to be a favourite amongst the shoujo lovers for its interesting array of characters and somewhat unique storyline for the main couple. If you aren’t normally fond of stereotypical high school love stories, try giving Kare Kano a try. It’s recommended though to continue with the manga after watching the anime if you want to see how the story ends, since you won’t find any ending from here. So yeah, If you like comedy, romance, weird characters and high school settings then Kare Kano will probably be for you.
His and Her Circumstance, Kareshi Kanojo no Jijyou, Kare Kano, whatever you want to call it, there is one important thing you should know about this romantic comedy: not once at all does the male lead accidentally faceplant into the female lead’s breasts, nor does he accidentally see her naked when her towel slips off, nor does his hand by chance find its way onto her butt.
Instead, they have sex.
And this is what sets Kare Kano apart from all the other romance anime that have come out in the last decade or two. Those anime are not romantic comedies, they are comedies with sexual tension. The romance in Kare Kano is real romance. Yukino and Souichiro’s relationship is treated realistically, seriously. They meet, they fall in love, things progress. It has a remarkable authenticity, especially in the early episodes.
The comedy element works, too. Yukino Miyazawa, who obsesses over being the perfect student, gets snapped back into reality by a rival perfect student, Souichiro Arima. But while she is left dejected, he ends up smitten. The comedy is character-based, feeding off the hesitation and awkwardness from the two teens as they muddle their way into a romance. Yukino’s family also provides good comic material, especially in the parents, who had their daughters a little too early in life. Other character types are explored: the sassy athletic girl, the jealous girl, the cute guy who’s hard to figure out, etc. But these side characters don’t get in the way of Yukino and Souchiro’s story.
The series is based on Masami Tsuda’s manga, and its weakness is its format. Even with the legendary Hideaki Anno of Neon Genesis: Evangelion fame at the helm, the series suffers from a lack of budget and abundance of static images. Scenes that read quickly on Tsuda’s pages get stretched as filler on screen. The most annoying thing about it are the episode recaps, which on a couple of occasions approach the three minute mark. That’s three minutes that the writers unfortunately couldn’t fill. The budget only gets worse as the series progresses, and when we get to the final episode it’s almost unbelievable that they go as far as they do. No colors, no animation, just line drawings. No full cast either, just two narrators.
The series ends not even halfway through the full 21-volume run of the manga. What the series does cover it covers quite accurately, so the story itself is as strong as the pages of the book, but Kare Kano, for all the quality they could squeeze out of it, remains rough and unfinished. The anime is enjoyable, but I highly recommend reading the manga.
Miyazawa and Arima are one of the most interesting couples in anime. Both suffer from psychological issues and create a fake persona to use in public. As the series progresses, both must learn to discard their masks and be truthful with themselves and each other. Miyazawa has a bad inferiority complex. She is jealous that she isn’t naturally a genius or athletic, so she spends all her effort trying to trick others into thinking she is. She has a low self esteem and has a pathological need for constant praise. Without it, she would fall into a helpless depression. Arima was born to abusive parents who were a disgrace to his wealthy, extended family. He is so terrified that he will become like his parents or that people will associate him with his parents, that he creates an angelic persona. Even though many of his extended family hate him anyways, he must act perfectly or he fears he will lose the love of his aunt and uncle who raised him. We create masks to deceive others into thinking we’re better than we actually are. However, no good can ever come of lying to yourself.
“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” – The Brothers Karamazov
Besides the excellent main couple, His and Her breaks free of several constraints that anime places on itself. Both main characters actually have family that you meet! I want you to think about how rare that is. I’ve seen over 950 anime and less than 10 of them have 2 main characters that each have a father, mother, and siblings that we meet. Anime characters always are orphans or only have a mother or their parents are overseas. Despite the great emphasis that Japan places on family, anime is paradoxically terrified of portraying families!
You know what other taboo this show breaks? The 2 main characters ACTUALLY HAVE SEX in a shoujo anime! If you’re new to anime, you probably can’t appreciate how rare this is. Space Brothers lasts 99 episodes and the main couple never have sex or get physical in any way. Nodame Cantabile is the same way. What about Spice and Wolf, which always makes the top 5 for best couple in anime? Nope! No sex, no kissing, nothing. You sit through 26 episodes of economics lectures to watch the main couple get together and…you get a Wonka ending. “You get NOTHING! You LOSE! Good Day Sir!” The only anime I can think of where the main couple have sex are Berserk (good example) and Future Diary (bad example). As a shoujo, His and Her stands alone in completely unexplored waters.
Finally, you get all the psychology and character drama of Eva without suffering through the most laughably obscurantist plot in the history of anime. A plot filled to the brim with half baked ideas and homages to ancient mecha like Ideon. The central conflict of the entire series is that the Angels are attacking humans. After 26 episodes you never learn why. After Death/Rebirth and End of Eva, you STILL don’t know why. If you want to learn basic, essential plot details without consulting the internet, you have to watch the reboot movies, buy the 15 video games and the Japanese Daizenshuu. Can you imagine any other work of art that’s held in any esteem getting away with that shit? “Yeah Bro! I just finished Werckmeister Harmonies. Now I need to beat the video game in order to make sense of it! I got through the circus level, but the whale boss keeps kicking my ass!”
The character art is shit. I can’t tell which characters are adults and which are children. Miyazawa’s parents don’t look any older than her younger siblings.
Due to massive budget issues, the first 5 minutes of every episode are a recap using previous animation. That way, they only have to animate 17 minutes of new footage each episode. Even that wasn’t enough, so we get popsicle stick characters and animation that’s so bare bones it’s a joke. Also episode 13 is entirely recap. What the FUCK was wrong with Gainax and meeting their budgets? I think they must have blown all their cash on cocaine and hookers.
The secondary characters aren’t really that great. They don’t get enough time to really develop, but do get just enough time to steal from the main characters in a way that hurts the show.
The original mangaka HATED this adaptation and apparently thought it was pretentious. So she drove down to Gainax, screamed at Anno, and pulled the plug on a second season. Anno went into a deep depression and walked off the series after episode 18. The rest of the anime after that point is garbage. Even the most diehard fans of this show don’t watch episodes 19-26. It’s like the Post-Kyoto Arc part of the Rurouni Kenshin anime. It’s so bad it doesn’t exist in the minds of the fans.
His and Her Circumstances isn’t a series for everyone. However, if you have patience and can get over its shortcomings, you will witness one of the most unique and moving romances in anime! Hell, it just might be the greatest anime that Hideaki Anno has ever made (that isn’t Re: Cutie Honey). I can’t get my offline friends to watch this one, and half my online friends dislike it. However, I love this anime and beg anyone who hasn’t seen it to try it out!
7: Master Keaton
MAL Score: 7.60
Taichi Keaton is a half-British half-Japanese archeologist and SAS veteran of the Falklands War. He solves mysteries and investigates insurance fraud for Lloyd’s around the world.
Ex-SAS, Archeologist, part time lecturer, traveler, historian, Insurance agent; Taichi Hiragi Keaton is a Jack of all trades and a “master of life”. He is simple, intelligent, humble, and a moralistic goody-two shoes infused with the love of life and the possibilities it brings.
The show itself is an exact mirror reflection of its main character; a “Jack-of-all-trades” in that it touches a wide variety of genres and themes, from slice-of-life, romance, mystery to historical, war drama, thriller. It dips into almost everything an anime of its premise possibly can. And the result is a flawed masterpiece packed with enough surprises to make it an easy recommend for old-school anime fans.
For people who are on a lookout for episodic shows that are relaxing and can be watched slowly over time, Master Keaton could be a good choice. But the show can appear to be a bit too bland or simplistic for some, especially anime fans who prefer currently airing or recent anime; the reason for that is that Master Keaton is an old school “realistic” seinen, a genre that is largely ignored by a majority of anime viewers, and its animation is barely decent, even for an anime of its time. The show also lacks the bombast or extravagance of recent anime, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on what kind of a viewer you are.
On a related point, some of the sensibilities the show displays are quite simple at times, such as the mostly black-and-white morality, or the importance of bonds or friendship (a favorite theme in anime), or the single dimensional personalities of some supporting characters, but these characteristics are more preference based rather than something that could be singled out as a flaw; indeed, these “sensibilities” are a part of the show’s personality and make thematic sense, despite the fact that they result in simplistic cliche’s at times.
On the flip side the anime is quite intelligent, in a sense that it is set in a real world setting, though stylized to suit the anime medium, and grapples with story concepts that haven’t been seen in any anime. Despite some episodes being predictable, and a few bearing clichés, most of the stories are very engaging. In fact, there are at least a handful of stories that I can safely say are among the most unique and well written in any medium of entertainment, and the show is well worth the watch for these few episodes alone.
Its greatest strength, though, is its simple yet charming personality, and the staggering variety of stories that it tells. The writers have made excellent use of the standalone format to give some of the best variety in episodic anime/manga yet.
For instance, in one episode we see Keaton in Burgandy as an insurance agent to investigate one of the most expensive wine bottles in the world, and in the next he is escorting a fugitive through swamps while his criminal buddies attempt to rescue their leader from his clutches. Another episode sees him deep in the mountains of Spain being hunted by a highly trained K9. And in yet another episode we see him spending summer vacations in Japan with his dysfunctional family.
Any other show with such a variety would either fall from the burden of its own elephantine ambition, or succumb to acute schizophrenia. But not so Master Keaton. Its stories are never convoluted or over-ambitious, and it never forgets its identity. Diversity may be the key here, but the aesthetic values remain the same.
In the sound department, the use of music is not always perfect but it’s quite fitting. The overall OST is among the more memorable ones I have heard yet and suits the series perfectly. The dub version does a good job of making the anime feel “global”, as different characters have accents that correspond to their backgrounds, which obviously could not have been done in Japanese. But the English VA direction falters at times, and the overall delivery is not always convincing. The Japanese voice acting, by contrast, is pretty solid.
Lacking in budget, the animation is not as great as some anime from the same period, but it is very much passable. The basic art style is very similar to Monster, which is not the only solid proof of Naoki Urasawa’s involvement in the project. The anime has a strong European feel to it, as the stories take place all over the world, especially that particular part. The art style, music and writing suits this well, and helps create the right European feel, without sacrificing the anime-specific elements.
Despite the flaws, “Master Keaton” delivers something unique that you will not find anywhere in the medium. Its niche oriented content might drive away some people, but its worth checking out for fans of 90s anime and episodic shows, and anime fans who are looking for stories that are more grounded in the world we actually live in.
Master Keaton’s greatest asset is its variety. One episode it is a mystery, the next it is an action show, and the one after that it is a slice of life. The show really does end up getting it fingers in to almost every genre there is. To go along with the different genre, the show is in a different place every episode. In the rice patties of Japan and then in the hills of Scotland. Walking into the beginning of every episode and not knowing exactly what to expect is probably my favorite part.
Unfortunately as much as variety is the show’s greatest strength it is also its greatest weakness. Any RPG player can tell you a jack of all trades is a master of none. The show ends up falling into that same problem. I wouldn’t say that the show does anything down right poorly but it definitely doesn’t do anything extremely well.
Mr. Keaton himself is kind of a James Bond meets MacGyver except he is really dorky. He plays the buffoon and no one ever really expects him to be good at anything until he makes his move and it is too late. Keaton has basically had every job in existence. I really like how the show handled Keaton’s past. The show gives you little bits of information here and there; in almost every episode there is something new introduced about Keaton. It could be something important and explored the whole episode, or it could just end up being a few lines where one more job is added to his already long resume. Most of the other characters are only one episode characters. There are a few recurring characters, like Yuriko his daughter and Daniel O’Connell a friend of his. But even these characters only get a few episodes. I think all the characters are likable and well done for the time given to them but not a whole lot is done with any of them.
The animation is kind of interesting in that it looks older then what it is. The show came out in 1998 but I would have guess the early 90’s to maybe even little earlier. I don’t mean to saying the animation is poor, it just seems that art style is from a earlier era. Characters in the background tend not to be draw as well. It also has a more realistic looking than most anime but at the same time it is just cartoony enough to not look overly realistic either.
The quality varies a little episode to episode and it false to do anything particularly well. On the other hand it has great variety and I really enjoyed the lead character. Master Keaton didn’t exactly WOW me but I could see someone else falling it love with it. I would probably recommend some other shows before this one to someone but I think it could end up being worth wild to check it out and see for yourself.
This varies from episode to episode to be honest, some are solid 10s, others are lower, but there’s no real bad ones to be fair, just ones that are more interesting than others. Plot episodes vary greatly, one episode Keaton might be disarming a bomb with chocolate, surviving in the desert, or making a windmill to bring water to local plants so he can finally have his perfect pudding. Therefore how much you’ll like the series depends almost entirely on….
Taichi Keaton is a great character, plain and simple. The only other non-episodic characters include his daughter, his business partner, and his father, none of whom get a lot of development, but that’s ok because Keaton himself is more than interesting enough. If you like watching smart characters, you will probably like this show.
Eh, it’s just not overly memorable. Naoki Urasawa’s signature character designs are well executed, but music, not bad nor good nor memorable and animation and art? So-so. It doesn’t bring the series down by much though unless you really really care about that stuff.
This is the type of show you watch for Keaton alone, if he sounds like a character who interests you, go for it without hesitation! The dub has a lot of iffy sounding accents that I don’t think quite work, not the best of dubs either, but certainly and underdog that needs more watching. Everything I’ve said applies to the OVA equally as well.
6: Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku
English: Now and Then, Here and There
MAL Score: 7.64
Shuuzou “Shuu” Matsutani lives his ordinary life in peace. He has friends, a crush, and a passion for kendo. Dejected after losing to his kendo rival, Shuu climbs a smokestack to watch the sunset where he finds Lala-Ru, a quiet, blue-haired girl wearing a strange pendant. Shuu attempts to befriend her, despite her uninterested, bland responses.
However, his hopes are crushed when a woman, accompanied by two serpentine machines, appear out of thin air with one goal in mind: capture Lala-Ru. Shuu, bull-headed as he is, tries to save his new friend from her kidnappers and is transported to a desert world, unlike anything he has ever seen before. Yet, despite the circumstances, Shuu only thinks of saving Lala-Ru, until he is thoroughly beaten up by some soldiers. As he soon finds out, Lala-Ru can manipulate water and her pendant is the source from which she is able to bring forth the liquid, a scarce commodity in his new environment. But now, the pendant is lost, and Shuu is the prime suspect.
Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku is the haunting story of a dystopian world, and of Shuu, who has to endure torture, hunger, and the horrors of war in order to save the lonely girl he found sitting atop a smokestack.
The hero of this story, Shu, is actually not so much a hero as he is just another victim of an ugly world gone wrong, and one who himself is nearly broken a number of times. What makes him stand out is his stubborn refusal to succumb to the hopelessness and terror of it all, even while everyone around him has been beaten down to the point where they commit terrible acts out of overwhelming fear and a desire to survive—in some cases a distant yet precious hope that if they can make it through, they’ll one day be set free from this hell that holds them captive.
The setting is an alternate world that Shu finds himself pulled into, a bleak dystopian wasteland of endless, bone-dry desert; the atmosphere is stifling and oppressive, a nihilistic Future Boy Conan where skies are not blue, but blood-red, and there isn’t a drop of water to be found. Enter Lala-Ru, a girl who, like Lana of the aforementioned classic, holds a power that can save the world from its ruin—a power that has fallen into the wrong hands. This is very much like a story Hayao Miyazaki might come up with were he feeling suicidally depressed. Lala-Ru, unlike Lana, would sooner let the squabbling humans wither up and die than exert herself to aid them.
It’s easy to understand how Shu must feel, having stumbled into this world gone mad, but while I become more and more depressed and anxious as characters descend further and further into misery and anguish with each episode, Shu never loses his resolve. Even after being beaten and starved and nearly killed a number of times, he retains his determination to protect those in need of help, and to try to reassure them that as grim as things seem, everything will be okay.
It’s tough to believe him, in the face of so much kidnapping, murder, and rape, all at the behest of Lord Hamdo, the completely insane fruitcake dictator of Hellywood and desperate captor of Lala-Ru. Other characters will accuse Shu of lying, and you’ll wonder if there really is any escape from the utterly dismal state of this nightmarish world. But you’ll also find that there are fragments of hope, and in some sense one may ultimately find illumination in all this darkness and despair.
Now and Then, Here and There has a look and feel that suggests it was a project made on a tight budget, yet with a lot of feeling behind it—especially evident in the wistful ending theme. You won’t find yourself impressed with flashy modern animation, but the overall production is sufficient to convey the bleak atmosphere effectively.
The makers of this anime clearly wanted to say something, and they’ve gone about doing so in the most dire, soul-draining way they could muster. It’s up to you if you can weather the journey, but I guarantee you’ll come out on the other end a bit wiser for it.
So this anime starts out like so many others do. A typicial shounen-anime like boy lead nicknamed Shu, who is living is daily life normally in Japan circa 1999, who’s a little slow but good hearted finds a mysterious girl on top of some smoke stacks at the edge of town. He tries to talk to her, and ask her how she got to the top of the other smoke stack, when all of a sudden these futuristic machines get teleported there, and the people controling them want to capture this girl (named Lala-Ru). Bust just like in any typicial shounen-anime our hero tries to save her, a bit a little stupidely, but he tries. He ends up being teleported to the strange world (possibly the future of earth) along with these strange military people, and Lala-Ru. The place he gets transported to is called “Hellywood” , and he gets separated from Lala-Ru, and accidentally get’s her pendant. But this is were the similarities with all other anime series pretty much stops. After this point this anime evolves into something much, much more. It’s a dark seinen series, about how war effects people, and can destory the lives of everyone. It’s also grounded in reality, even though most of the events take place in this “distant world”, it’s very realistic and feels as though most of this could happen right now (and to be fair, it was inspired by horrble events that happened in Africa over ten years ago). This anime is brutally honest, it doesn’t sugar coat anything, nor does it glorify war or violence. It’s a slap to the face to the DBZ’s and Naruto’s as well as many American war movies and novels of our current era. It also has a very powerful and blunt statement. But it’s much, much more then that too. The story is emotional, engaging, and one of the best overall stories I’ve ever seen. The only “problem” I can find with the story is it isn’t very “deep”, it’s a pretty straightforward, simple story, not very layered, but it wasn’t going for deep in that sense anyway. It does have a message, and a point to it all, and it’s a very good story. I can’t mark it down for that small problem so 10/10.
It’s a little dated, but it’s still very beautiful. For whatever reason the powers that be decided to give this anime a more “simple” look to it. When compared to other anime from around or before it’s time (Revolutionary Girl Utena, To Heart, Cowboy Bebop) it’s not as detailed. This does not make it ugly, far from it. Still it’s not the best animation and art ever, even given it’s time. Cowboy Bebop truly shows what could be done with technology of the time, and a extremely large budget. This anime has no use of CGI or other computer techniques that newer anime series use. It’s not as flashy as Cowboy Bebop (1998), and no where near as nice looking as say Black Lagoon (2006), a newer anime for example. The character designs are simple but effective, and the background art is very beautiful. The sunset in episode one is something to really enjoy, feel free to pause and just look at how nice it is. It’s clear this anime was not made with a very large budget, but it still is very nice looking at times, esecially backgrounds. Don’t let the dated animation turn you off this show, because it is an amazing series. This anime proves you don’t need flashy animation, and gimmicks to make a great anime, all that’s needed is a good story, and some talented people involved.
The music in this series is quite amazing. From it’s very nice opening theme to it’s background music everything is great! The ending theme is one of my favorites from any anime, because not only is it a great song, but it helps to calm the audience down after seeing some brutal and disturbing stuff. This anime has some of the best use of music I’ve ever seen.
The dub for this anime was recorded at Taj Studios Inc (NYC), for Central Park Media. The group of actors from New York City have proven themselves to be a talented bunch, but sadly many of the producations are still very poor. I think they get a bad rap due to the many poor 4Kid’s dubs these guys have been in though. They are great actors, and they have have good directors and writers that work for the dubbing studios in NYC too. Luckily this is one of the best dubs I’ve ever heard, and definitely my favorite dub from a studio in/near New York City. The first episode starts off a little iffy, strong but with some awkard lines here and there (no pun intended) but afterwards it’s really a top level dub. This anime needed a good dub, and CPM reconized that and allowed extra time for the dubbing to take place. Actors got to watch the entire show once or twice through before even starting on this anime. Special attention was given to this dub, and it clearly shows. With well known actors/actresses like Lisa Ortiz, Dan Green, Crispin Freeman, and Rachael Lillis giving great performances (that we’ve come to expect from them), but the one who steals this anime is Jack Taylor. He plays the horrible and insane ruler of Hellywood, King Hamdo, and he nails it! Jack Taylor is incredibly frightening and convincing! You would NOT want to deal with King Hamdo! If Jack Taylor’s performance was not as strong as it is, the entire show might have buckled under the weight of that. The man should get an award for what he did in this show. He makes you hate Hamdo, with an undieing passion! Another relatively unknown, Dana Halsted, plays his assistant Lady Abelia, and she quickly gets used to her role. She gives out another great performance. Everyone in this anime knows their roles, and can really act. Only problem with the dub is the confusion on how to say the name “Nabuka”. That and some may say a few of the children sound a little too old. I however did not think so at all. Both are forgivable seeing how amazing this dub is. The dub script stays pretty close to the subtitle track, as many CPM titles tend to do. This is one to show to the sub-only fans!
(I checked out the sub and it seemed fine to me)
This is not an anime you will “enjoy” as a form of entertainment. This is not an action show, this is not a comedy, this is some serious stuff! This is an anime that will be hard to re-watch because it is very depressing, very dark, and very distrubing. But this is an anime you will be very happy you watched. This is an anime that truly uses the medium to it’s full advantage, much in the same way Grave of the Fireflies did. I can’t imagine watching this as a live action movie, or reading it as a book. Anime is the perfect medium for this story. It may be a little too dark and depressing for some, but if you have the strength to finish it, you will look back at it and say “that was amazing”.
Very well directed and written story. The animation may be a little dated and simple but it’s still very nice and it works, and the music is stunning. The dub is one of the best from NYC, and it’s one to test on those subtitle only type people, but the subtitle track is perfectly alright as well. Both are very good. This anime is very dark, disturibing, depressing, visualy graphic at times, but it’s still one of the best stories ever told. Brutal, but brutally honest and realistic. Highly recommended esecially to those who like Grave of the Fireflies , fans of Mohiro Kitoh’s mangas, or fans of Akitaro Daichi (who want to see him do something darker). Actually if you are a human being (and even if your not, lol) I suggest this to you, as long as you can deal with it. It’s really 16+ due to the subject matter,violence, implied rape, visually graphic scenes, and overall dark tune. Much of the violence is aimed at innocent children, and it makes it much worse. A very mature series, but a true masterpeice.
I don’t really like the “Lord of the Ring” books all that much. One of the main reasons for this is that there are points in the books when it felt like it’s trying to be a fairy tale adventure for kids (the Tom Bombadil part especially), and then the next moment, it gets all serious again, trying to be an adult’s fantasy novel. As a result I was confused over what frame of mind I should be reading it in.
Unfortunately, “Now and Then, Here and There” suffers from the same problem. My initial impression was that it’s meant to be an anime aimed for younger viewers, due to the simplistic character design style which gave it an almost Studio Ghibli kind of look. In episode 2 or 3 the anime starts showing its true colours, portraying the kind of disturbing violence and cruelty that makes it obvious that it isn’t meant for kids. And yet, and yet… the kid’s style animation is still there, glaring out at me from my screen, sending contradicting signals into my brain and confusing the hell out of me. The early sudden change of settings in the opening episode definitely didn’t help me get to grips with this anime either.
“Now and Then, Here and There” seems to be made with a specific purpose in mind, with a specific set of morals they wanted to tell through the anime, and it does succeed at times through some really hard hitting moments that may have caused many other viewers to forget its flaws. However, I found myself unable to look past its flaws and enjoy the show – its attempt to get its message across is just too amateurish because its story and characters often don’t hold water.
The primary example here is King Hamdo. No doubt other viewers have already pointed out that history has shown how such an insane dictator can exist, and most likely pointed to dictators such as Hitler as evidence. But, in reality, there are always complications that give rise to such situations whilst in contrast, “Now and Then, Here and There” gives you a retarded version that just shouts at you: “the leader is mad… just like it can be in real life!!” You can only get away with this kind of simplification of “Mad King ruler” if you’re spoonfeeding a fairy tale to children, for whom the content of this anime obviously isn’t suitable for. I haven’t studied other dictators in history lessons, but I can tell you a thing or two about Hitler that I learnt back in school all those many years ago (bear in mind that even this is a watered down version for kids, and the reality would have been even more complicated). Yes, Hitler may have been crazy, but there was far more to him than that. He had amazing leadership ability, and was one of the finest orators of the 20th century. He wove a magic spell over the German population, raising morale, restoring German pride and giving them new hope when the nation was suffering in the wake of an economic collapse in combination to the backlash of losing World War I. And what’s more, he delivered. Germany was on its knees when he came to power, and not only did he led them to recovery, he led them back up pecking order into a position to challenge the most powerful nations in the world at the time. Although in retrospect, it seems unthinkable someone like him could have got hold of power, when you take a closer look at the details, it does make you see how it could have happened.
Now lets take a look at King Hamdo. He’s obviously mad. Um… that’s it. Oh yea and he’s incompetent and is totally devoid of charisma. Wait! Why is he in power again?? Sure his fortress made his army practically invincible, but that isn’t exactly because of his competency. A muppet could sit there and produce much the same result, so what’s stopping people from overthrowing him? It seems infeasible that he could stay in power like that, especially considering that, from the way his subjects seem to feel about him, it doesn’t appear to be the kind of monarchy where people see the King as some kind god’s chosen – it feels closer to a dictatorship that’s evolved from a military organisation. How can someone as useless and mad as King Hamdo keep his grip on his position in this kind of environment when he can’t even keep his hold on his own sanity (or even give the impression that he is anything other than mad)?
Then we have Hamdo’s second in command Abelia, who isn’t really a bad person at all. I can’t understand why she hasn’t taken power over from Hamdo, especially in this military environment that requires discipline and cool headed decision making. As King Hamdo is clearly in no condition to rule, you’d think someone like Abelia would just confine him somewhere, take care of him, and stop him from hurting everyone including himself. But instead she chooses to just stand around taking abuse and having her conscience knocked about on a daily basis. But of course, if she takes a course of action that actually made sense, then there would be no half-built platform for the anime to launch its intended messages from etc -_- I waited and waited to see why Abelia was so obedient to Hamdo, but still couldn’t find the answer by the end, and can only conclude that it hasn’t been thought through properly.
Instead of showing some of the realistic dilemmas of war like, say, “Gundam Seed”, “Now and Then, Here and There” opts to go for the simplified, one sided “fighting is bad, full stop” version, and ends up tripping over it’s own messages. By painting in such a saintly light one of the characters Sis who, without providing an alternative solution, is against any sort of action against Hamdo, and also painting all those who wants to take action against Hamdo as being hot headed youths, the anime is clearly endorsing her pacifist view. But at the same time, it unwittingly showed the fact that doing nothing is probably is why things have become so bad in the first place. Hamdo’s own sustained grip on power is due to the unwillingness of his subordinates to overthrow him. How many lives are lost because of this kind passiveness? I’m not annoyed about which particular side of the argument that “Now and Then, Here and There” has chosen, but I’m annoyed that it has chosen to present it in such a black and white, overly simplified manner, and I’m also annoyed that it doesn’t make a particularly good argument for its case – it’s a bit someone like preaching against violence of any kind, including fighting back, while a crazy guy is running around unrestrained in the background mowing people down with a chainsaw.
Unlike “Lord of the Rings”, the fantasy world in “Now and Then, Here and There” is severely lacking in details. We are thrown straight into this chaotic world, and at no point in the anime do we get to hear an explanation for how it got into this mess. I want to know how it happened, and I want to know about all the strange technology this world possesses. Why are they so desperately short of water when they have all this technology to go to other worlds? Can’t they just appear near a massive lake in one of these other worlds and collect water?! You can argue that this isn’t the point of the anime, but because of the omission of such information, it’s not really easy to get a good grasp of the situation or to sympathise with the unwillingness of the characters to do the right thing. For example, if more background information is provided, then I *may* be able to understand why King Hamdo holds so much power over his subjects, for example. Throughout the series, I couldn’t help but constantly questioning many aspects of “Now and Then, Here and There”, and when this happen it’s almost impossible to really enjoy the show.
“Now and Then, Here and There” is by no means a bad anime, though. At the end of the day, King Hamdo doesn’t get that much screen time – he’s just someone who annoyed me immensely with his mere existence. The main character also quite annoying with his incredulously happy-go-lucky attitude – is he from some alien race that are incapable of feeling pessimistic or something? But those aside, there are some fairly interesting characters that I would have liked to have seen more of, but their potential are not fully explored for the most part. Some of the emotions generated by the series feel very real and touching (something that’s well reflected in the slow, contemplative ending theme), and the portrayal of issues such as rape is very gritty – much more convincing than some shallow attempts made by other shows such as “Elfen Lied”. But at the end of the day, its childishly simplistic view of dark, complex issues just doesn’t work. It’s a bit like reading a twisted version of a fairy tale like Snow White where an extra bit of storyline got inserted, in which she gets raped by one of the seven dwarves or something, and has to deal with the mental trauma that results from it – it’s just feels all wrong and out of place! I guess you could say that “Now and then, here and there” does kind of live up to its title though – it doesn’t seem to quite know what it’s doing, so ends up being a bit here and a bit there, and ultimately neither completely here nor there. I was really expecting something so critically acclaimed to be better constructed!
5: Turn A Gundam
MAL Score: 7.70
It is the Correct Century, two millennia after a devastating conflict which left the world broken. Earth is now mostly uninhabitable, and thus a remnant of humanity has resided on the Moon while the Earth and its few survivors recover. For years, the “Moonrace,” the people of the Moon, have continued to check if Earth is fit for resettlement.
A boy named Rolan Cehack and two others are sent down to Earth for a reconnaissance mission. Rolan ends up spending a year on the planet working for the Heim Family, aristocrats living in a Victorian-like society. This family, like others of similar wealthy status, celebrates one’s coming of age with a ceremony involving a giant stone statue known as the “White Doll.”
To Rolan’s surprise, the Moonrace suddenly touches down on Earth with the intent of taking it by force. During the attack, the White Doll is broken apart, revealing a mobile suit called the “Turn A Gundam” inside. With Rolan in its cockpit, the Turn A causes a standoff between the forces of Earth and Moon. The young pilot, along with the people of both sides, must keep the peace and avoid another all-out, catastrophic war.
Breaking away from his Kill ‘Em All melodramas that marked his earlier successes, he came up with a much lighter outlook which has shown in the works after. While Turn A follows the usual teenager finding himself piloting a mecha in a war it manages to present plot devise in an interesting and untried way successfully. The Mecha themselves (by futurist Syd Mead who designed Blade Runner and Tron) are so aesthetically different they border on grotesque. This plays very well in early episodes when the battles take on a very War of the Worlds feel to them. The characters interacting in a typically rich Tomino script are well rounded, likable, and surprisingly complex who carry with them stings of an individual plot that the director skillfully weaves into a deep and complex story. The plot itself is heartwarming, funny, tense and has Machiavellian dealings on both sides of the war. Action does take a back seat to plot development, but as the series progresses fights become faster, more brutal, and with none of the canned battles that tend to pop up in mecha series recently. Yoko Kanno delivers again in the soundtrack, one of my favorites she has done. Of Particular note is Tsuki no mayu which appears in the first episodes in one of the most memorable scenes in the show.
Now if there was a downside I would have to say hardcore action fans would be disappointed in the slower pacing as Tomino slowly develops characters and the political situation. On the plus side this is one of the few Gundam series you do not need prerequisite knowledge to understand what is going on. It also has the single best ending I have ever seen in an anime. Whether you are a mecha fan or not I would implore you to at least give this underrepresented series a try, you will undoubtedly find something to you own liking.
If you’re not familiar with Gundam and the UC universe in particular, then this is not a good place to start.
It does have a stand alone story, but it’s certainly not intended for people who have little to no prior knowledge about the franchise.
This is a spoiler free review.
This one takes place thousands of years in the future in which the only space colony left is on the moon and obviously its population has advanced technology (including mechs of course), meanwhile, the people on earth are still living in a 1930s way of life. Everything is fine and dandy, until one day the moonrace decide to return to their roots, earth. And of course, a war breaks out.
It is a little different from the usual Gundam since it gives one side of the war a clear advantage due to their technology and knowledge on how to use it, while the other side is rather primitive. They also make it clear how different the two cultures are in many interesting ways and the 1930s clothes and technology really give off a unique vibe to this series, it’s something you rarely see in anime in general.
It’s also different because the atmosphere is relatively lighthearted, but at the same time it also deals with its themes and issues with a straight face.
Another thing you’ll notice about Turn A is that even though it follows the Gundam tradition of a boy eventually finding a Gundam – piloting it – fighting in a war and so on.. It also goes through its traditional route in a noticeably unique way that you’d never see elsewhere. Furthermore, it’s also famous for containing various easter eggs from previous Gundams that only fans will immediately recognize.
I must warn you though, that the first episode is very rushed and poorly presented. I don’t know what they were smoking when they made it, but thankfully the next 3 or so episodes slow down and assist in making everything sink in. And much like in most series in the franchise, the pacing in general is kinda slow and it does get faster towards the end. And it’s not really slower than usual so you should be used to this by now.
The story is also very rich since it explores this conflict through the various perspectives of each party that’s involved, whether it’s the citizens, the spies, the soldiers or the leaders of each side. It does this very throughly and it keeps going back and forth from peace or some sense of settlement and then back in to war again so the situation won’t remain static. Also things do get wrapped up very nicely and the story is concluded very well. It also focuses a little more on politics than your average Gundam and as a result it doesn’t have as much action and the battles aren’t on a massive scale with many deaths in each episode either, but it does make sure that most deaths have a certain impact on the story and not just death for the sake of it (I’m looking at you, Victory Gundam).
Overall the story is both more unique and more complex than usual, but as a result it’s also a little more clunky and it felt like it’s a bit much for the show to handle from time to time. Heck, at times it’s even a bit hard to follow because it keeps jumping around, but I still think it’s handled very well for the most part.
As much as I love Gundam in general, I can’t deny that characters and characterization are among the franchise’s biggest weaknesses. Gundam characters normally consist of angsty teens and/or dumb adults who randomly do irrational and unreasonable actions for petty reasons just to take the story in a certain direction. This is a bad thing because it normally makes them feel like slaves to the story without much free will or solid reasoning behind them.
Fortunately, in this particular installment those types of things seem to be toned down significantly. Some characters are even more complex than usual and their motives and dilemmas are a lot more believable and easier to follow.
Whether these motives are related directly to the war, or just normal motives related to their personal lives as a result of the war. This is truly what drives the story forward and not in an overly forced way.
Many characters are inserted in to different inconvenient scenarios throughout the series that inevitably change them over the course of it. Their development in general is given a lot of time and focus.
Even the main character is not your usual Gundam angsty teenage boy either. He’s basically a pacifist, (“I’m on neither side!”) and much like the story, he’s also quite unusual. Oh, and I should probably mention that this boy talks, looks and even dresses up like a girl from time to time. So that might turn off some people (and turn on others, lol).
I’m no fan of these types of characters, but this does make him far more memorable than usual. But besides that, he’s also well portrayed and his actions are usually quite believable. The only downside is that he’s kind of a Mary Sue and he’s mostly the one who’s there to change the people who surround him and not the other way around..
The series even tries to avoid having clear villains, but I’d be lying if I said it completely succeeds, since they do emerge eventually. And some characters even seem like plot devices who’s main purpose is to prolong the conflict between the two sides (quick! throw in some random lunatic before they find an excuse to stop fighting each other!). Though I do like how some characters that seem to be very minor at first, unexpectedly play rather important roles later on.
Overall, for a Gundam series, these characters are handled exceptionally well and are also pretty memorable.
The visuals do have their ups and downs.
On one hand the mecha designs are nothing amazing and the production values in general are a little low for the franchise. The Gundam of this series in particular gives me a craving for Pringles for some reason. With that being said, there are cameos of mechs from other Gundam series, most notably, the Zaku which is present through out most of the series. Now that more than makes up for those weird designs for me.
The animation is overall fairly average, but the battle choreography is noticeably good and well above average, despite having less action in terms of quantity than most Gundams do.. And that’s probably the result of it being on a smaller scale.
In terms of character designs, they aren’t the most detailed, but are expressive enough and they do have an interesting variety in their features. Each one looks very different from the other and the 1930s clothes add a lot to it as well.
The first opening is a pop song (I guess) and it isn’t exactly a masterpiece, but you get used to it and at least the lyrics fit perfectly with what the series is about. And pretty much the same can be said for the second opening.
The ending songs aren’t bad, but are way too quiet for me to remember and the soundtrack in general doesn’t have much variety but it does fit the series’ tone and it’s very noticeable. Especially one track in particular that had a violin in it, or something..
I don’t speak Japanese, but voice acting is also ok, I guess, but nothing really stands out about it.
I enjoyed it very much of course.
It’s an exceptional Gundam series and a great anime on its own as well.
Though admittedly, not every Gundam fan would appreciate it because of how different it is. I guess you either love it or hate it.
thats the way of Turn A Gundam.
i enjoyed it very much, got deeply sought in.
even more than by the literary quality of storytelling and the excellent work of all the participating visual and performing artists i was deeply impressed by the great respect toward nature and humanity as a part of it. the smallest thing was allowed to create its own beauty, the least important character was granted its complexity. so this is giving an idea how far you may advance the art of animated film.
the title is programme, but again a mark for the thoughtful balance of this oustanding art piece – a programme not only for the makers also for the recipient. so at least you have to decide how good Turn A Gundam might be for you…
…and. may be there is no turn back!
4: Initial D Second Stage
English: Initial D Second Stage
Japanese: 頭文字〈イニシャル〉D SECOND STAGE
MAL Score: 8.13
Accumulating an impressive series of victories with his AE86, Takumi Fujiwara has imposed himself as street racing’s newest rising star. However, his newly found confidence of winning at his home turf of Mount Akina has been put in jeopardy by a new Emperor team exclusively using a car model favored by most professional racing pilots: the Mitsubishi four-wheel drive Lancer Evolutions—also known as Lan Evos. The Emperor team leader, Kyouichi Sudou, looks down on Takumi and regards him as an inferior pilot for driving an antique car that lacks the makings of a true modern race car. Kyouichi’s elitist philosophy is also the reason why his team is only made of Lan Evo drivers.
Will Takumi be able to keep his perfect track record intact against the highly skilled and mechanically superior Emperor team, or does his hot streak end here?
Itsuki from stage 1 annoyed me, he was brash, loud, irritating and a failure as a human being, it was frustrating that he didn’t develop at all – but the during the second stage he begins to show signs of changing, and it isn’t just Itsuki. Every single member of the cast shows signs of changing – this sort of character development was completely absent from the first stage.
Having said this the 2nd stage hasn’t lost its focus at all, along with this character development we get to see lots of exciting races and they’re animated even better than they were before.
I take my hat off to whoever picked the ending theme – because it suits the series so SO well.
To conclude, if you don’t like cars you’re probably not going to like Initial D (especially the first season), the show does have a lot more to offer though.
PS – I have always driven like a lunatic – Like Takumi I began driving Illegally at 14 and own what many would describe as a piece of shit on wheels, but to me it’s my piece of shit – something I’ve driven for 7 years now I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world!
I like cars, but I’m against spending loads of money on them, I think what’s important is that you understand how your vehicle works, that you put in the time and effort to “make it your own”.
One criticism I do have – is that so far there hasn’t been a single fatal injury in the series, my cousin died while street racing, the sort of happy endings that Initial D portrays don’t always take place, in the real world people end up smashing through barriers and falling off mountains
Once again, the technical jargon is still present. If you did not see my review of season 1, I will once again state it may be difficult to understand, but once everything is applied, you’ll understand it better. I feel it needs to be present so it can educate the viewer. Plus, I still stand by regardless of being able to fully understand, I feel that the tech speak is what help makes it more distinctive and aims to be realistic.
Sadly, as a Keisuke fan, though he is used, he’s not useful in the way that I want him to be, but with Ryosuke being my number one favorite character, well, check out the series to find out what I mean because it’d only be a spoiler with what his character does.
Not only do the characters and the relationships develop, the art and animation tremendously improve from season 1 as well. The coloring is more shiny and glossy, there is more detail to the hair, the proportions are more even, and the cg is much better rendered. There aren’t much races in this season, but what’s good is that the races aren’t exclusive to Akina anymore and only one race happens there so it prevents itself from getting repetitive. You finally get to see the Red Suns’ home turf of Akagi, and we also get a brand new course of Shomaru as well. However, the outcome of the final race in this anime does differ significantly from the manga version which may either disappoint you, or something you can embrace since it is something different and it’d be boring just to watch something when you already know the outcome. Anyway, new factors such as a combination of psychological and environmental come into play still, but in a whole new approach in comparison to season 1 in ways you wouldn’t expect.
Once again, the cast from season 1 that return are still present. I really love how Itsuki is portrayed as more sensitive and emotional and Iwata does a great job of that. I also love Tanaka Masahiko, who I recall as the voices of the Kazekage from Naruto and Mashiba Ryo from Hajime no Ippo as Kyoichi. He’s a total asshole you want to see get his ass handed to him. And the best addition to this season is Wataru’s seiyuu, Matsumoto Yasunori, the voice of Gourry from Slayers, Jacky Bryant from Virtua Fighter, and many others. He does a great job of playing someone who is distant and has a short temper and it makes him oblivious, so I like that portrayal. Nothing really to complain with voice acting.
And the music only gets better, the perfect example, the ending theme Kimi Ga Iru by Galla. It’s so beautiful, well toned and pitched, and excellently paced. It really captures you and reflects the character relationship nature of this show on my impression. And you can’t have Initial D without the good ol’ Eurobeat. We got 100 by Dave Rodgers and we also got Burning Desire, also from the Para Para Paradise games. So pretty much everything I could say about music and voice acting from season 1 can be said here.
Well, to watch this season, I strongly recommend season 1 first. Yes, I still also say that Initial D isn’t an anime for everyone, but this season has more traits that most anime fans would want in an anime, but to understand the characters and how they developed to that point and how they further develop, you have to watch season 1 first and to get a better understanding of the cars as well. Granted it does have some significant changes if you are at all familiar with the manga, but the changes are done for all the right reasons and is still an enjoyable anime.
3: One Piece
English: One Piece
Japanese: ONE PIECE
MAL Score: 8.59
Gol D. Roger was known as the “Pirate King,” the strongest and most infamous being to have sailed the Grand Line. The capture and execution of Roger by the World Government brought a change throughout the world. His last words before his death revealed the existence of the greatest treasure in the world, One Piece. It was this revelation that brought about the Grand Age of Pirates, men who dreamed of finding One Piece—which promises an unlimited amount of riches and fame—and quite possibly the pinnacle of glory and the title of the Pirate King.
Enter Monkey D. Luffy, a 17-year-old boy who defies your standard definition of a pirate. Rather than the popular persona of a wicked, hardened, toothless pirate ransacking villages for fun, Luffy’s reason for being a pirate is one of pure wonder: the thought of an exciting adventure that leads him to intriguing people and ultimately, the promised treasure. Following in the footsteps of his childhood hero, Luffy and his crew travel across the Grand Line, experiencing crazy adventures, unveiling dark mysteries and battling strong enemies, all in order to reach the most coveted of all fortunes—One Piece.
As for the art style, it’s true, it’s completely different from almost anything else I’ve seen. Much more “cartoonish” and maybe not what you’d expect from an anime. Despite that, you end up loving it. I wouldn’t even say that you have to “get used to it” because it’s not something that detracts from the rest of the series in any way. It didn’t even take me two episodes before I was thoroughly enjoying it and seeing it as a fresh, new style, exciting almost and unlike anything I’d experienced before. Now, some 300+ episodes later, I can’t remember ever NOT liking it, or even why I would have. Especially now with One Piece being aired in high definition, the art is crisp, clean, colorful – VERY sharp and wonderful to look at.
Now that we’ve got those two points out of the way…
One Piece is actually one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, anime or otherwise. The plot is pretty basic at first. Monkey D. Luffy has just set out on his own to find the legendary treasure ‘one piece’ and become Pirate King, and he’s looking for a crew to sail with him. You’ll find yourself falling in love with each and every new member as Luffy finds them. They’re all extremely well developed, with interesting backgrounds and unique, fun personalities. They form one very quirky crew that’s always discovering new adventures and somehow getting themselves into trouble as they strive to achieve their dreams. Each main story arc introduces new minor characters as well, and they’re just as much fun and easy to fall in love with as the Straw Hat crew. Not one character is left out or feels like they’re there for no reason. Everyone has a purpose and adds to the storyline, and one of the really cool things about One Piece is that these ‘purposes’ often resurface at later points in the series. No detail is left untouched, and you’ll seriously be amazed by the way Oda threads together plots and characters and blends all their stories perfectly the more the series progresses.
The plot itself, though fairly straightforward at first like I said, quickly evolves into something HUGE. Much of the beginning of the series is dedicated to forming the crew and letting you get to know the characters, though it’s definitely never lacking in action, but once they reach the Grand Line, you’re swept up in adventure after adventure and following some of the most fantastic story arcs you’ll ever watch. The battles and fights are well-paced, with the final boss fight almost always being completely EPIC. But even through the action, One Piece never quite loses it’s lighthearted, humorous edge. The episodes are sprinkled with PLENTY of funny moments, never too many and never too few. There’s always a wonderful balance of action and humor.
One Piece also has its fair share of heart-wrenching moments, which may take you by surprise! There are some EXTREMELY powerful scenes and episodes that kind of blindside you and leave you wondering when you became quite so emotionally attached to certain characters or other things. I’ve definitely found myself near tears or actually crying at more than one point. One Piece has it all – amazing characters, the never-ending yet never TOO over-the-top humor, exciting battles, fun adventures, heartbreaking moments with quick to follow touching moments. And underneath everything, there’s always the theme of friendship and teamwork, of working to reach your dreams and helping those closest to you achieve theirs, of growing and maturing as a person and discovering the power within yourself to overcome obstacles of any sort, of just BEING THERE for the rest of your crew when they need you – of being NAKAMA.
In a word, One Piece is perfect. And perhaps I’m just biased, being an obviously OBSESSED fan at this point, haha, but what can I say? It’s been running for 344 episodes so far and not ONCE have I wondered or hoped that it would start to reach an end. It is, simply put, amazing.
So why should you watch One Piece?
Because you’re missing out on one hell of a fantastic show if you don’t at least give it a try.
But not all share the same views as I do, lets remedy that, shall we?
A long time ago, there live a fearsome pirate king who goes by the name of Gold D. Roger. He was able to attain everything. But alas he was captured and sentenced to execution. In the brink of death, he proclaimed that he left the great treasure, One Piece, somewhere in the Grand Line and it is for anyone to claim. This event ignited the Great Pirate Age.
In the world of One Piece, there is such a thing as a Devil Fruit. A devil fruit is a fruit bearing some supernatural ability and whoever devours it will get a unique ability however its origins are unknown. There are three types of Devil Fruit, Paramecia, a fruit that can materialize your body into a property. Zoan, a fruit that gives humans the ability of a certain animal, but if its an animal, it gives the ability of humans. And the last but certainly not the least Logia, is a fruit that makes the consumer manifest a certain element. But of course nothing is perfect. If you eat any of the Devil Fruit, you will be rendered immobilize when submerge in the water.
And where is our protagonist? The anime revolves around our mentally impaired boy, Monkey D. Luffy or a.k.a The Straw Hat Pirate(title came from his worn-out straw hat that he always have on). When our boy here ate a devil fruit that turns the consumer’s body into rubber, he sets off to find Shanks, his pirate idol to return his straw hat as promise and find One Piece to be able to earn the title of Pirate King. Along the way he gathers all kinds of oddballs for his crew, The Straw Hat Pirates.
Now how exactly is One Piece different from the hundreds of shounen out there. Well, it isnt. It is exactly what a shounen should be. It follows the lose-train-win formula. So how is it any better? Bingo. Because it incorporates the formula into something fresh and simple.
One Piece arcs can be surprisingly good. There were even times that I was shocked at some plot twists and revelations. It has a very interesting setting as well. And what might that be? The World. The whole world is One Piece’s oyster. It varies from vast, scorching deserts to cold snowy mountains, the concept of adventure here is well defined, it really makes you feel that world isnt small after all. And that my friend, is what an adventure anime should really be.
One Piece knows how to pull it off, be it comedy or serious, and believe me, One Piece knows how to be serious when it needs to be. But it never forgets its roots at the same time, and that is the emphasis of friendship and the bond of Nakama/Friends that glues the whole crew together.
Most shounen anime’s suffers immensely from originality. Because of this, it is hard to distinguish characters from each other, especially in my case as I have my fair share as an otaku. And most of the characters in em lack depth and substance, its hard to remember a character when you know very little about him. But One Piece is immune from this disease. Each character of One Piece is very… say….unique that you’ll find it hard to forget about them. They all have their individual motives, strengths, weakness and even quirky traits. Plus, each individual of the Straw Hat Pirate Crew has an immersing past, that’ll be hard for you not to get delve into. And they all have a certain role, not one character gets overshadowed by the other. They do meaningful interactions with each other. And regardless, that each member is vastly different from each other, they all formed a formidable bond. Even the by-passing characters are memorable.
In contrast to the majority, I find the animation to be creative. Just like how the characters are different and distinguishable. Unfortunately people see it as something of a turn off, and quickly judges One Piece as something infantile. I am not going to lie. One Piece will not go beyond the borders of a shounen. It is not mature. But thats not the point here. An anime doesnt need to be ripe to be good. It just needs to be entertaining. Although I do enjoy a deep, thought-provoking anime, an anime doesnt need to be complex to be satisfying. It can be anything, as long as it offers gratification. And One Piece does.
Another potential problem is its popularity. Most people consider mainstream anime’s to be somewhat of a failure because of its targeted demographic, and that is everyone. "If its able to attract toddlers, then it sucks" that seems to be case for most people. Some people neglect any anime that is able to summon countless little children in its area, thus abruptly convicting it as over-rated. Heck, some people even constantly hunts threads, just to be able to crack Narutard jokes off some newcomer. Do not judge One Piece from its fans. Judge it for what it is.
Do not be mistaken, I am not saying One Piece is for everyone. In the end, its all about taste. But if your have any hint of love for shounen surging in your veins, there is no reason for you not to watch this, not one bit.
In short, the plot is very promising, the main cast is several but well flesh out, the battles are very diverse, and engaging and the comedy doesnt get old, even after 300 episodes. But One Piece is not a masterpiece. It does not break any ground whatsoever. No matter how you see it, its still your typical shounen.
Regardless of this, the level of enjoyment I receive from One Piece is insurmountable. And sometimes thats all you need. Scratch that. Most of the time that’s all you need.
If I were to say anything bad (and I will have to do that as this review is not a positive one) about this anime that would not offend the hardcore fans (and I know there are a lot) is that it’s PAINFULLY slow.
Even if you leave the fillers aside, still- the plot itself progresses in such a slow pace that it’s rather hard to watch. Now for a younger audience it may not matter that much, but to me as a higher age audience, it matters greatly, after all, out of the 23~ minutes of each episode 3 are spent on opening and ending (which is usual I guess), but in most episodes, roughly 5 (!) or more minutes are spent on a recap of the current story arc, as if the creators of the show forgot it’s a shounen anime and instead got the idea that the audience are elderly people with Alzheimer.
But ok, this means there is still 15 minutes left per episode right? Well, not really. In most episodes, the heroes get separated. When they do, the anime tries to keep track of ALL of them simultaneously, cutting every few minutes. This wouldn’t be so bad IF after the cut, the same exact scene did not repeat itself (example – a few seconds that show one of the main heroes standing and looking at a place/ villain that is shown from a few angles. Then the anime continues elsewhere, and when it comes back to the same place, the same exact scene is shown). That may not sound as much, but in drastic cases that can sum up to a few minutes (the worst case I bothered to count was almost 4 minutes of time wasted on watching the same scene). Combined with a lot of other tricks, I’d say that a lot of episodes are left with about 11 minutes of actual content on average. That is simply dreadful.
Now to say some positive things for contrast- the story is actually very interesting and the characters are well done… BUT, no matter how good something is, if you drag it out too much (and this is indeed the case with One Piece), even the best story in the world and the best characters possible (not to say one piece has neither of those.. The story is great, and the characters are good, but not more) will not keep you entertained, and turn even the best story possible into a boring experience.
Now back to the negatives. NO ONE DIES IN THIS ANIME. This is of course an exaggeration, as some people actually do die in this anime BUT only when it’s critical to the plot. At all the other times, the characters “die” just to add drama and to come back a few scenes later.. Sometimes to “die” again and add even more “drama” (added “” because at this point its more awkward/silly after one time rather than dramatic). The worst case of this I saw was with Brownbeard who “died” something like 5 times over 2-3 episodes (if I remember right), and still stayed alive in the end while the show tried to suck as much drama out of this as possible. And this brings me to the next point- fake drama. They seem to try and squeeze out as much of it as possible, at every opportunity they get. From crying children (and adults) to characters repeatedly “dying” and to the most cliche tearjerkers possible at every turn of the story. They even go as far as to try and make the villain’s henchmen AND EVEN THE VILLAIN himself have a tragic past that you are supposed to relate to and feel sorry for (because seems a villain can’t just be evil because that is just the way he is, he had to become evil because something bad happened (lol, how about sheer ignorance or plain greed for wealth or power?)… and we apparently MUST know. for both villains and side characters that we’ll never even see again). Also I mentioned crying.. There is an unbelievable amount of it in this anime. And that would be ok (I guess) if
A- they did not try to milk it for drama (yep, that’s a word that sure gets a lot of use when discussing this anime huh?) every single time
B- they didn’t think that when someone cries, he instantly turns ugly, with snot running down his nose and with the worst face expression possible, regardless of gender, age or how emotional he is.
I’d say a lot more, but there is already a lot of text, and it’s enough to sum it up – this anime is not one I would recommend someone to watch under any normal circumstances (maybe only if someone made a shortened version with all the repeats, openings, endings and cuts removed thus making the whole anime be at around 300 episodes max), I watched over 600 episodes myself, and I can safely say that although some parts were enjoyable, it was mostly rather boring when looked as a whole, and especially the later episodes, and I am regretting the time I spent watching it (as to why i watched it so far- my friend recommended it to me and I did not expect it to last this long. I usually finish what I start, but this is ridiculous, bad, and really beyond me at this point.)
2: Great Teacher Onizuka
English: Great Teacher Onizuka
Japanese: グレート ティーチャー オニヅカ
MAL Score: 8.69
Twenty-two-year-old Eikichi Onizuka—ex-biker gang leader, conqueror of Shonan, and virgin—has a dream: to become the greatest high school teacher in all of Japan. This isn’t because of a passion for teaching, but because he wants a loving teenage wife when he’s old and gray. Still, for a perverted, greedy, and lazy delinquent, there is more to Onizuka than meets the eye. So when he lands a job as the homeroom teacher of the Class 3-4 at the prestigious Holy Forest Academy—despite suplexing the Vice Principal—all of his talents are put to the test, as this class is particularly infamous.
Due to their utter contempt for all teachers, the class’ students use psychological warfare to mentally break any new homeroom teacher they get, forcing them to quit and leave school. However, Onizuka isn’t your average teacher, and he’s ready for any challenge in his way.
Bullying, suicide, and sexual harassment are just a few of the issues his students face daily. By tackling the roots of their problems, Onizuka supports them with his unpredictable and unconventional methods—even if it means jumping off a building to save a suicidal child. Thanks to his eccentric charm and fun-loving nature, Class 3-4 slowly learns just how enjoyable school can be when you’re the pupils of the Great Teacher Onizuka.
The story is somewhat cliche: troublesome high school students with peculiar skills or traits trying to rid a teacher who’s trying hard to to teach them a lesson in life. However, there are some very clever surprises and plot devices to keep the viewer poised for more. My only complaint is the rather hashed season finale (Ep. 42 and 43), but that was to be expected since those are the only two episodes that didn’t diligently follow the manga.
The animation is adequate for its time, but that isn’t the reason why you should watch this.
Both the opening and ending soundtrack for the series is great. Although, neither are as good as the GTO Live Action theme, "Poison".
The reason why you should watch this is simple: Onizuka Ekikichi, 22 years, virgin. This anime is all about character, rather a character. Truly GTO is ineffable in that sense. Watch the first episode and tell me if you’re not immediately enamored by Onizuka and his ridiculous ways.
While there is a certain moral message to the anime, watch it for the sheer fun value. It will make you laugh, that’s for certain, perhaps it might even make you cry. The live action series, I’m not ashamed to say did make my eyes wet.
The live action series (12 episodes) is quite good as well but there are certain things one can have liberty with in an anime that is not possible in live action.
Overall, I highly recommend GTO. Not just the anime but the entire franchise, manga, live action TV series and the movie.
Great Teacher Onizuka Banzai!
Character development is unfortunately absent from the personality of our bland douche of a protagonist, and he is pretty much the same annoying dumbass for the whole duration of the plot. His way of solving issues with students is completely unrealistic, and while this is sometimes acknowledged and played for laughs, it takes itself seriously far too often. He’s pretty much just there for wish-fulfillment, plain and simple. As for his students, all developments in them come off as completely forced and contrived. Plus, almost all of them are blatant archetypes, who have some deep-seated reason to “bawww nvr trust a teacher again!” to boot. Why should we care about anything bad that threatens to happen when we already know that the Mary Sue genius cool handsome hacker boy can fix all problems that come up easily? Another telling issue with the characterization is that just about all men above the age of twenty are, for whatever reason, portrayed as disgusting perverts. This may be a reflection on Fujisawa himself, given the large amount of poorly-placed fanservice. All antagonists in this series start off completely one-dimensional and unrealistically evil, but they then get some sob-story tacked onto their character and their personality changes completely. That is simply not proper character development.
The art is easily the weakest aspect. Almost everybody has the same exact face; you know, that one face that Fujisawa Tohru recycles endlessly in everything he does. The only face he knows how to draw, basically. Great Teacher Onizuka largely depends on visual humor for its value as a comedy, but all of the “hilarious” facial expressions were used over and over again, when they were never really funny in the first place. At the same time, they contribute heavily to my inability to take Great Teacher Onizuka seriously. The rest of the visual humor is just somewhat lame and, man, I hope you like seeing Onizuka’s ass, because you’re going to be getting a lot of that. The animation is nothing special, and any flaws with it are completely overshadowed by the horrendous art.
All of the claims made by Great Teacher Onizuka’s rabid defenders about its “societal commentary” are completely untrue. Bullying is not dealt with much better, more interestingly, or realistically than in many other works I have seen. Furthermore, I failed to see what it actually criticized about the education system, other than the fact that not enough teachers are violent gangsters. This theme continues with just about everything else it supposedly comments on. It either just features these things in a cliché manner or does not really say much about them at all. There is no depth to Great Teacher Onizuka; it is just a simple drama and comedy. This would be fine did it do either of those things right, but, alas, it did not.
I have no idea as to why this anime is so highly regarded. It is just not very good, plain and simple. I get second-hand embarrassment when watching all of those sentimental scenes about teaching, and then I have to wonder why Great Teacher Onizuka didn’t just stick to comedy. Then I remember that it wasn’t funny and I think to myself “ah, that explains it.” GTO started out as a decent parody of all of those stupid shows with a super-teacher who helps his students work out all of their problems and wins their hearts in the process, but it eventually fell victim to self-indulgence and became a stupid story in the same vein. It contributed nothing new nor anything of real value to the genres of school life, comedy, or drama. It never made me laugh out loud, and it never evoked any kind of physical or emotional response. Not in a good way, at least. At its best, it’s okay. At its worst, it’s goddamn painful.
The premise is simple, if not a bit cracked out, and the first episode serves to illustrate. Onizuka is a former Yakuza who always had a dream of becoming a teacher, and the best one of all time at that. Of course, he ends up drawing quite possibly the most ill-tempered class out of the whole lot, and that’s putting it lightly. This begins a 42 episode long trek to slowly win all students of his class over, and along the way figure out their problems. And in the end, it culminates with the student who has easily suffered the most trauma and the revelation of the event that shook the class to its core.
You know Onizuka’s always going to win in the end, and if you have to ask why, then you still don’t quite understand the premise. What’s important is the journey, how is he going to prevail, and where is he going to screw up along the way. It seems easy but quickly becomes complicated when you realize that the class is actively plotting against his efforts. They’re quite brilliant for a bunch of teenagers. The vice-principal also has a very low opinion of the former gang member and spends a lot of his time antagonizing the situation. On top of that, Onizuka is no pristine member of society; in fact, he’s a wonderfully flawed character. He drinks, he smokes, he’s vulgar, he’s a womanizer, and he acts completely over the top, running on instinct. Despite this you will love him, trust me.
The cast of characters supporting the show are just as important; they are numerous and just as easily flawed. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have trouble remembering most of their names by the end of the series, even the ones that are around from step one. Yet, each of these characters gets to carry the plot ball at some point for their spot in the limelight, and most of them will even have their own crowning moment of awesome. By the end, they’ve all grown significantly under their teacher’s tutelage. It’s the sign of a good series when you can juggle all these characters around and manage to leave none of them in the lurch.
A lot of the series appeal is the ridiculous situations that are generated and Onizuka’s ability to come up with equally ridiculous solutions, and soak up comical levels of punishment. It still delivers elsewhere. This show has the ability to move you, and if you don’t feel anything by the end of episode 11’s dramatic soliloquy, quite frankly you must be dead inside. The great teacher also specializes in life lessons, and if you haven’t managed to learn anything by the time the series reaches its conclusion, then I honestly wonder if we were watching the same show. This naturally lends itself to exploring how the school system is failing to prepare its students for the real world, instead focusing on test scores at the expense of all else. Really the only time this show loses its impact at all are when it veers off the overarching story for a one shot episode, and even those don’t feel terribly out of place and serve as auxiliary character development.
The animation isn’t nearly as pristine as technology allows today. It’s still fun the watch, and the facial expressions in particular are well executed. There’s a lot of action going on in some sequences, and there isn’t any major animation break or loss of what’s going on. The music doesn’t have a tremendous amount of variety; it sets the mood for the situation and then goes merrily away, letting the characters speak for themselves. Steven Blum plays Onizuka to the hilt, and I like the rest of the characters voice work as well for the most part. There were a couple of minor characters I didn’t really care for, but a minor character in this series basically means they get about three lines and then fall off the face of the planet for a few years.
This series is full of greatness. If you haven’t watched it yet, then I don’t care how you do it, watch it. If you have, take a bit of your time to revisit your favorite episodes. It’ll be worth it for all of you.
1: Cowboy Bebop
English: Cowboy Bebop
MAL Score: 8.77
In the year 2071, humanity has colonized several of the planets and moons of the solar system leaving the now uninhabitable surface of planet Earth behind. The Inter Solar System Police attempts to keep peace in the galaxy, aided in part by outlaw bounty hunters, referred to as “Cowboys.” The ragtag team aboard the spaceship Bebop are two such individuals.
Mellow and carefree Spike Spiegel is balanced by his boisterous, pragmatic partner Jet Black as the pair makes a living chasing bounties and collecting rewards. Thrown off course by the addition of new members that they meet in their travels—Ein, a genetically engineered, highly intelligent Welsh Corgi; femme fatale Faye Valentine, an enigmatic trickster with memory loss; and the strange computer whiz kid Edward Wong—the crew embarks on thrilling adventures that unravel each member’s dark and mysterious past little by little.
Well-balanced with high density action and light-hearted comedy, Cowboy Bebop is a space Western classic and an homage to the smooth and improvised music it is named after.
The story is set in a space western setting – a genre and setting I’m loving more and more for each show I watch that falls under the genre. We follow two bounty hunters, Spike and Jet, who own a ship called the Bebop. They travel the Solar system, chasing wanted criminals to earn money. Along the way, they also pick up two women; the debt-laden Faye Valentine and the playful kid and computer genius Edward (yes, Ed’s a girl).
Each episode brings about a new bounty which they chase after, and while that doesn’t sound too exciting to watch 26 episodes in a row, you’ll end up loving the show. All the different events makes for a certain degree of unpredictability, and you’ll sometimes wonder how things will end. However, that alone is not enough to give the story the rating I’ve given it. So why have I given that rating? Let’s continue…
One of the things that elevate the show a bit above the rest is the manner in which the main cast’s pasts are explored. It’s not like one flashback episode and you understand everything about how they are today. In one episode you might get one piece, and then the next one in another episode, and it’s not until the final three episodes of the show that everything falls in place. This way of executing it makes you want to watch another episode, so that you can find out more about the characters (some may say that this falls in under "Character", but the manner in which the pasts are explored are more "Story" than "Character", IMO). Now, that’s so far a 9 for the story. Why did it deserve a 10?
The answer is easy: the way they executed many scenes in the show. The contrasts which you get to see between, music, the setting of scenes and what’s really happening just gives the story that extra edge deserving of a perfect score.
The characters are all really good and interesting fellows. Though they every now and then reminded me of characters from other shows, they preserved that originality which gave a feel that they were, if not completely, then at least a little bit more real than most characters out there. The way their pasts intertwine with the future and how everything ends with them confronting and settling open ends from their pasts is also something that’s impressive to watch. I don’t really have anything more to say than "perfect".
The animation is, for a 90s anime, stunningly good. The detail put into backgrounds and surroundings is really good, and I also love how good lighting effects and shading are at times. All of Ed’s strange movements are animated really nicely too. If there’s something negative, it’s the somewhat dull coloring (compared to today’s standards), as well as poor effects when traveling in hyperspace.
The soundtrack is also astounding! The music used for the show is so incredibly varied, and while keeping mostly to the more jazzy tunes, the soundtrack visits so many genres that it’s hard to not like at least a few pieces. What I also loved is the way the music was used not only as a medium to go with and amplify the mood, but also as a contrast to what’s happening in several scenes. All in all, it’s really amazing. Don’t have anything to say against voice acting and other sound effects either.
All in all Cowboy Bebop is an anime that’s in the top tier on the greatness scale, and a show I believe every anime fan should give a try.
To ‘Not ‘ voters (and you ” voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =)
Cowboy bebop borrows much from western media and pop culture in general. his show pays homage to or references, subtly and overtly, things as disparate as Antonio Banderas, Bruce Lee, John Woo, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Convoy, Biggie Smalls, Donald Duck, various mythologies and folktales, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Bill Evans, Stray Cats, Alien, blaxploitation films, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Queen, George Clooney, Led Zeppelin, Django and other spaghetti westerns, Herbie Hancock, American and Japanese professional baseball, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Jean-Luc Godard, Batman, B.B. King, Beverly Hills 90210, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, The Unabomber, Heaven’s Gate and Marshall Applewhite, Kiss, film noir, The Beatles, Sleeping Beauty, Bonny & Clyde, Ziggy Stardust, Charlie Parker, Woody Allen, Star Trek, Cool Hand Luke, and Taxi Driver. I kid you not. And that’s not a complete list. References in character design and dialogue are forgivable, but when it straight up copies scenes and plots then I think it can be held against the show. I feel like I’ve seen Cowboy Bebop before, it’s just been packed into a pretty package. I enjoyed a lot of these homages, but that does not excuse the marked lack of creativity. The mere evocation of a masterpiece does not make a masterpiece. Quentin Tarantino is an example of someone who uses pastiche and cultural references well, and most importantly, his references and homages don’t make up his entire videography. There is far too little originality in Cowboy Bebop.
The fact is that Cowboy Bebop is the epitome of style over substance. I can appreciate it for its audiovisuals, but, to me, a show needs more than that to be a true masterpiece. Make no mistake though, it does have some of the best audiovisuals I’ve ever seen, and could arguably be considered a must-watch for that alone. The OST is good (despite also being a tad overrated,) the art is great, and the animation is extremely fluid. It should also be noted that Cowboy Bebop is one of the few anime that holds the distinction of having an English dub superior to the original Japanese. The atmosphere that the audiovisuals achieve is their greatest quality, and is distinct in almost every different setting. This is not done well in most space travel anime, and I have to applaud Cowboy Bebop for that achievement at least.
The main storyline consists of about 5 episodes, the rest of them being episodic individual stories. This wouldn’t be a huge problem, but the episodic stories were hit or miss, and they never measured up to the main plot. Some of the non-main episodes focus on a character and their past, and this is good, but most of them are completely pointless and could be removed without anybody noticing. One of them was about fighting an alien-fungus-fridge-monster, it was an interesting and silly parody of Alien, but it contributed nothing to plot or character development. Considering how character driven this show is, that’s a problem. There was also an entire episode paying homage to blaxploitation. Seeing as the allusion was presented in a more original way, and the episode showed a lot about Ed’s character, that one was not only forgivable, but it was one of my favorite episodes. Like I said, hit or miss. There is an episode about catching a super-dog. There is an episode about a virus that turns people into monkeys. There is an episode where they chase a bomber (Woody Allen) with some help from a transsexual looking trucker. At least 4 episodes were easily 10s, but more of them were closer to 5s. The first 4 episodes were particularly weak, which is a huge problem in a 2 cour anime. The anime may have had a good conclusion, but the sub-par exposition cannot be ignored.
The main crew was made up of interesting and entertaining characters, and they prevented the episodic nature of the show from being a complete flop, although there were some unanswered questions about Faye’s past in particular. Actually, strangely enough, the unanswered questions contributed to the splendid atmosphere. Everything had a rich backstory, but few flashbacks and no infodumps. This helped give the show its characteristic nostalgic atmosphere. One complaint I would have is that the main antagonist is simply not compelling, his motivations are somewhat unclear, and he’s just one dimensional. He also uses a katana, even though it’s the future, and somehow still manages to kick ass. He’s just very cliché and lame. The antagonist in the movie was very well done with his depth, motives, and parallels to Spike, and that makes me wish Vicious got the same treatment, as it would fit his character far better, and his character is far more important.
One thing you should understand is that the characters are often good examples of clichés done well. Jet, for instance, is the typical hard-boiled former cop, but he is also the most empathetic of the crew. He is a foil to Spike and is hard working, but they also parallel in many ways. Ed is the teen genius/tomboy and hacker with little depth, but she also serves as a foil to Spike and many of his views on life. Faye is like a mix of all of the other characters’ worst traits in terms of personality, but she still manages to be a sympathetic character. In fact, even though she keeps up her unpleasant exterior and despite her being the anime’s main source of fanservice, she arguably experiences more development than any other character. Still, they lack any sort of real innovation, in anime or otherwise.
Despite all my criticisms, Cowboy Bebop is cool. It’s very cool. The characters and aesthetics were compelling (for the most part) to the point where I even enjoyed some of the admittedly weaker episodes. I can’t give it a 10, it’s simply not a masterpiece. I can’t give it a 9, it’s not truly great. I can’t give it an 8, it’s too flawed and unoriginal. I don’t want to give it a 7, it was just too inconsistent. I have to settle on a 6.7 or so, which could be rounded either way. That said, an average of my story, art, sound, and character scores did give me around a 7.2.
Cowboy Bebop is enjoyable and it has wide appeal; I would probably recommend it to just about anybody. It was up and down in terms of quality, and it was similar to a slice-of-life in its episodic and relaxed nature and its lack of an explosive climax, but it was good. I liked how the anime takes place after the “important part” of the main characters’ lives is over, and nostalgia becomes a huge theme, seeing as it was the first anime I ever watched and it thus evokes a huge sense of nostalgia for me anyway. I loved the laid back atmosphere. The problem is that after looking through all of the episodes and rating them individually, I realized that the majority of it was nothing special. With a little restraint and reworking, Cowboy Bebop could have been the masterpiece that it is widely regarded as, and it does hold a special place in my heart regardless, even if that is only due to it being my first anime. That bias is probably why I choose to round the score to 7, rather than to 6, despite the fact that the latter is typically the better practice.
I am always willing to defend and justify my scores so leave me a comment if you disagree, and tell me why I’m wrong. I say that because this does seem to be a pretty uncommon score, even among those whose opinions I have great respect for. Keep in mind that a 7 is a generous and good score in any case.
“Fuck you! Cowboy Bebop is a classic! You’re not allowed to criticize it!”
The more astute viewers will note that I scored the series a 6, but the movie a 9. I kind of like Cowboy Bebop. It does do some things very right. It had the potential to be one of the greatest franchises ever. Alas, while its production values are unmatched, the writing . . . doesn’t always match up with the production. Because of this, the series ended up being a style-over-substance experience for me, but why was that?
The premise of CB is that in the late 21st century, mankind has started living in places in the solar system besides Earth. In this future are bounty hunters known as Cowboys. Cowboys do whatever they can to make cash to keep the food stockpile stocked and their spaceships running. The show follows one such group of Cowboys who pilot a ship called the Bebop. In the beginning, we meet Spike Spiegel, a former gangster, and Jet Black, a former cop. As the series progresses, the Bebop also has Ein, a super smart dog, Faye Valentine, a woman on the run, and Edward, a really, really, REALLY weird hacker girl. Cowboy Bebop has been described as a series that has a continuous plot, and has standalone episodes at the same time. Having seen the series, I can tell you that technically, most of the episodes aren’t standalone, but many of them are only connected by the core characters.
Here’s where one of my problems lie. When Cowboy Bebop is good, it’s really good. The setting is very mature; it never condescends to the audience. The action scenes are superbly well done, the dialog is believable (though cheesy at times), and the atmosphere really pulls you in. How many episodes are actually really good? Seven. If you count the movie as an episode, that brings it up to eight. Eight out of twenty-seven episodes were good. The rest were not.
The problem with most of the episodes is one of two things: one, it’s really boring, or, two, it’s so clichéd, you will be able to predict exactly what happens by the end after the first two minutes, or both. I have to be honest, a lot of the episodes of CB are just plain boring. If this wasn’t a “classic” and a more ordinary anime series, a lot of them would be branded as what they truly are; filler episodes. And if it’s not boring filler, it’s hackneyed.
Watanabe is known for being a huge fan of American cinema, and that’s obvious in CB. Unfortunately, he ripped off a lot of American movies virtually piecemeal. Now, you may not suspect it, but I am more knowledgeable of American cinema than I am Japanese animation. To describe it as best I can without spoiling, if you have seen at least one movie directed by Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, John Woo, and Michael Mann, then you have already seen Cowboy Bebop in another format. This is actually a clever trick though; most anime fans reject Western pop culture, and may not notice this when watching CB, so they’ll think it’s “fresh” and “original”, when it’s fact, it’s actually MORE clichéd then most anime. But hey, when CB is exciting and isn’t (too) blatantly ripping off Hollywood, it’s worth watching.
At least, when the worthwhile characters are onscreen. I like the main character Spike a lot. He is the embodiment of cool, like a 21st century version of Steve McQueen. He’s cool, but he’s very human too. He’s reckless, he makes mistakes, but he knows how to charm people, and he also knows how to beat his targets. I also like Jet. He’s a constant worrywart, which is a funny contrast to his rough appearance. Some of the incidental characters are memorable too, (but usually only in the good episodes and movie). Something else I liked was the Bebop crew was not always a stable group, or nakama you could say. In most anime, when the heroes band together, nothing ever separates them. That doesn’t happen in CB. Sometimes, the crew gets in arguments, and sometimes, one of them will leave the Bebop for a time, and so on. It’s a touch of realism I appreciate.
However, some of the characters didn’t click with me. I never really cared for Faye. I don’t dislike her, but I don’t really care for her either. Edward is amusing, but she feels out of place in a series like this. The incidental characters in the less memorable episodes are just that, unmemorable. However, what I’m about to print in the next paragraph will anger thousands, possibly millions. (And maybe make hundreds say “Right on!”) Mind you, it’s just my opinion. Everything I print in these reviews is just my opinion; you don’t have to take it personally, but the following opinion of mine needs to be said:
Vicious is one of the lamest villains ever.
The main antagonist is a man known as Vicious, someone who’s still a part of the gang Spike came from. He’s cunning, ruthless . . . and is absolutely lame. What’s his motive? Does he just want power, or to mess with people? Even if so, why is he so boring to watch? The villain from the movie was a lot more interesting. Overall, you got two really good protagonists, some interesting chemistry between the protagonists, one-shot characters who are either interesting or not, and a forgettable antagonist. Yay.
And I haven’t even touched upon the ending yet! Short version, I don’t like CB’s ending. (More flames incoming! Duck and cover!) Now, the ending is not quite as bad as the ending for, say, Akira, or the anime version of Chobits. It does have a sense of finality to it, something most anime endings don’t have. However, I did not find it “legendary.” I found it disappointing. First of all, the ending is extremely predictable. It’s virtually telegraphed to you before it even happens. Not only that, when I saw it, my reaction was, ” . . . that’s it? Seriously, that’s IT?”
But I better move on to CB’s technical aspects before I get too letdown. Its artistry leaves no complaints. CB is probably the best-looking pre-digital anime I’ve ever seen. Even if you were to remake the series with digital enhancements, I doubt you could make it look better than it already is. Sumptuous backgrounds, top-notch character art, animation that ranges from above-average to really good, no off-model shots, this is a visual feast. The movie looks even better. It’s obvious a lot of care was put into the visuals of CB. My only being the primitive CGI, but you get used to it.
And now we touch upon CB’s greatest aspect; its soundtrack. It’s the sort of the soundtrack that makes you go, “Ah yeah, baby!” This is why you watch CB, the music. The music is the magnum opus of Yoko Kanno. A combination of jazz, blues, and rock, but it isn’t just any old jazz, blues, and rock, it’s GOOD jazz, blues, and rock. Everything from the opening, to the incidental music, to the endings, you get music that will set your soul on fire. The only anime I’ve seen whose soundtrack could rival CB’s is Death Note’s. Something I noticed about CB’s soundtrack is the music sounds more like music from albums rather than typical soundtrack music. Another smart move; most people are accustomed to listening to music from CD and MP3 albums as opposed to soundtracks, so when they hear CB’s music, it’ll be more familiar-sounding than most other anime soundtracks. Regardless, even if you hate CB, you gotta score this music.
CB is also famous for having what is perhaps the oldest English dub for an anime series that is considered god-like. I saw this on Adult Swim, and I can safely say, this is another masterpiece from Bandai and Bang Zoom. Every character sounds like how you would imagine them to, and the voices are neither wooden nor over-acted. All the different accents the characters have sound really cool too. I did sample the Japanese dub on the movie, and I will say, Spike and Jet sound really good in both Japanese and English, but I will never get used to Faye’s Japanese voice. Yeah, this is one you gotta see in English. (Though in retrospect, the Japanese performances aren’t bad, it just doesn’t click like the English dub)
While CB is still often regarded as a classic, I’m not the first to criticize it like so. There has been some backlash against CB in recent years. Some people complain it’s not “Japanese-y” enough, that it’s too Western. I mentioned that earlier, but there is another anime I’ve seen, Baccano, which is also very similar to American movies, but it was consistently entertaining, and not as predictable as CB, so I did not mind. Others have mentioned the same things I have, that it’s boring, the plot isn’t strong enough, it’s style over substance. This isn’t a disaster by any means, but I do have to say that, outside of the production values, CB is one of the most overrated anime I’ve seen. It’s not one of the worst, certainly not, but it’s not quite the experience I was promised either. To put it in other words, there were some episodes that I would score a 4 out of 10. And yet, there are some episodes, including the movie, that I would score a 9 out of 10. The 6 overall is just from mixing the good episodes with the bad.
I like to imagine that in an alternate dimension, CB was an OVA series instead of a tv series. All the episodes I do like, (# 2, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, and 22) were released on separate OVAs, as well as a few others to bridge the plot gaps. Then a theatrical came out (Knocking on Heaven’s Door), and then another to end it all (The Real Folk Blues, albeit with a revised conclusion), and it would be grandiose. Alas, I don’t live in that universe. Hey, Shinichiro Watanabe likes drawing influence from Hollywood, right? What’s something it’s doing a lot of right now? Continuity reboots? He could still do that. I can dream, can’t I?
EDIT: This review was revised on 9/17/2015 to be less awkward to read.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Cowboy Bebop
2. Great Teacher Onizuka
3. One Piece
4. Initial D Second Stage
5. Turn A Gundam
6. Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku
7. Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou
8. Master Keaton
9. Mugen no Ryvius
10. Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne