Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

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Natsume Yuujinchou

September 30, 2008

I picked up Natsume Yuujinchou a bit late in this season, but surely don’t regret to have finally done so. Since Mokke I found a liking in series which deal with supernatural-sensitive people who try to live a fairly normal life nonetheless. I liked Mokke a bit more because it’s spirits had a more general influence for the world in a whole while in Natsume Yuujinchou their influence is far more focused on Natsume because they want to loot his “Book of Friends”. On the other hand, Natsume’s supernatural “Nyanko-sensei” (illustration not to scale) is definitely a much more likeable character than old grumpy grandpa of the Mokke girls. Bottom line is that I enjoy watching Natsume Yuujinchou and that the announcement of a second season is quite good news for me. Only problem I have at the moment is that while watching I often think that poor little Misaki is part of this anime’s cast.

Guess it’s a bit understandable given the similarities of both Natsume Yuujinchou and Wagaya no Oinari-sama, namely a supernatural guardian who can form-shift (abusing this ability whenever possible), spirits aiming for the main character (splitting him into two brothers doesn’t help here) and flashbacks of the main character’s grandmother in her teens. Also with Sasada a at least possible (stalking) love interest was introduced to Natsume, but she doesn’t had enough time to leave a solid impression to far, so I guess I just fill her seat with Misaki each time.

Not that she is the worst placeholder there is…

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Slayers Revolution

July 8, 2008

I really like what I see here. I’m pretty sure that Slayers Revolution is rather confusing and at parts unsettling for those who haven’t at least watched the first two, maybe three seasons of Slayers (don’t let me start on the various OVAs and movies here). However, for the ones like me who have done so in the distant past everything fits and makes perfect sense. They caught the style and atmosphere of the older seasons quite well while presenting an animation that fells fresh and vivid. The whole setting and pacing of the story might be a bit antiquate today, but that doesn’t bother me at all. I rather welcome it somehow.
I guess that’s one of the advantages of anime vs. normal series. You couldn’t have Richard Dean Anderson having play MacGyver or David Rasche staring as Sledge Hammer today again resulting in the same beloved series that ended years ago. Those could be new and quite funny series (most likely not I’m afraid), but they could never be like the original ones again. Same goes for movies, old Indiana Jones fighting Soviets wasn’t that bad to watch, but Indi without Nazis is, well, just Indy without Nazis.
Megumi Hayashibara on the other hand sounds like she always did and so Slayers Revolution feels like there wasn’t a years long gap to its predecessor. And that is really great.

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Tower of Druaga – The Aegis Of Uruk

June 29, 2008

With Tower of Druaga a highly enjoyable RPG-style fantasy anime has finally been produced again. Not too serious, not too comical, but a healthy mixture of both. A nice set of characters to root for, enough drama between them, nice monster slayings, good music and artwork and a hell of story twists at the end. Of course it isn’t perfect and there are as always some things one can criticize. For example didn’t fit the final boss well into the animation because it was CGI and the world and plot per se felt pretty artificial. But that is because the origin of this anime is a simple Pac-Man styled arcade game where one has to fight through sixty levels of a tower filled with monsters and I think they squeezed a quite good story out of this little material and made good fun of it at times themselves.
All in all a pretty nice watch and I’m surely looking forward for the next seasion in 2009.

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Soul Eater & Tower of Druaga

April 20, 2008

Soul Eater

Soul Eater

The world (and especially the people living in it) is constantly in danger to be dragged into chaos and destruction by the Kishin, evil humans who try to gain in power by feasting on the souls of other humans. Fortunately the Academy of Shinigami Weapons Wielder exists to face this threat. This academy teaches its students to fight together with their special companions, humans who can turn into weapons. Of course these teams are also send into the world to assure peace and to collect the souls of the Kishin which are to be devoured by the weapons. At the time a weapon has successfully eaten 99 Kishin souls and one soul of a witch it will turn into a real “Death Scythe” and its meister will become a full-fledged Shinigami.
This is the story of three meisters and their weapons and each team is more nuts and incompetent than the last one, but because the rest of the world seems to be quite the same they get their job done somehow in the end.

First thing I noticed about Soul Eater is its unique artwork and high quality animation. One Piece, Bleach and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann are the series that popped up in my mind almost immediately while watching. And although this isn’t the best sign, after all I lost interest in the first two series fairly quick (One Piece) respectively after some time (Bleach), I like what I’ve seen so far. The comedy parts are just hilarious, the action promises to be quite viewy and all together this series emits a nice unique feeling. Hopefully they can keep it fresh for the scheduled 51 episodes.

Tower of Druaga

Once upon a time the great hero Gilgamesh took up the quest to rescue the priestess Ki from the demon Druaga. For this he fought bravely through all sixty floors of Druaga’s tower and the many different kinds of monsters who dwelled within them to finally face and defeat Druaga in the tower’s top floor. This way he saved Ki and the whole country of Babylim from the demon’s undoing and became shortly after the king of Babylim and Ki’s husband.
60 years later the danger of Druaga and his tower has risen anew and many young men and women have gathered at the base of the tower to taken up the duty which the now old king Gilgamesh had taken all by himself in the past. Each of them has his or her own motivation to do so, many just want to make a living out of the treasures and rewards that are to obtain out of slaying the many minor beasts, but some strive to follow the example of the old king and want to slay Druaga to secure Babylim once again. The protagonist of this story, Jil, definitely can be counted among the later section of the so called climbers. But it is surely no easy task he has chosen.

The first episode of Tower of Druaga was just hilarious and played well with lots of RPG clichés. There was no time to get bored in any way because they just fast forwarded a whole (generic) story plot in just one small episode. Well, at the end and with the second episode it gets back to the harsh real (fantasy) world and thus the amount of comedy and fast pace got naturally driven back significant. This surely might be a bummer for some and I don’t know this first episode will of advantage for the whole series, but its still a nice watch especially because I haven’t seen some RPG-styled fantasy anime for a longer time now. So I guess it will be okay for me if the rest of the story gets rather generic, but with the first episode in mind I hope for some surprises of the good kind. Soever, I think this is quite an interesting way to promote one’s MMORPG game.

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In between of Shakugan no Shana Second

March 6, 2008

Wilhelmina & Sabrac

It’s good to see that Shakugan no Shana got pretty entertaining again in those last few episodes. With the end of the forced relationship troubles the series is finally able to recreate the feeling of the first season. It’s not that the somehow similar love-triangle between Shana, Kazumi and Yuji in the first season was uninteresting nor unimportant, but the second instalment of this theme with the addition of Konoe/Hecate was just a pain to watch, mostly because they forgot to make it funny in some ways I guess.
Well, luckily they are now back on track and with Sabrac quite a villain was introduced in the last episode. Normally I would say that he is much too overpowered to make a real good and interesting villain, but I really like him. Don’t know the exact reason why, maybe because he respects his opponents skills and doesn’t act too arrogant toward them, maybe because he doesn’t rub his superior-ness too much in the viewers face, maybe because he doesn’t use to much or to few words or maybe because he doesn’t look like some silly walking parking meter or something like that, but actually quite wicked.
Definitely one point that’s in his favour is that he made Wilhelmina fight him to her fullest, which was a real feast to watch.

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Shigofumi & ARIA The ORIGINATION

January 20, 2008

Shigofumi

You've got mail

I’m really impressed by the first two episodes of Shigofumi. The main character of this story is a girl named Fumika who (with the more or less assistance of her talking staff named Kanaka) is in charge of delivering letters from the dead to the living, so called Shigofumi. Each person who dies seems to have some kind of “last call” to notify someone of the living about their final thoughts. For example, in this first two episodes the father of a girl named Asuna sends a letter to his daughter’s lover. Shouta, who has spend a lot of free time with Asuna seems to be the one who fits this description best, so Fumika visits him to ask if he might be the right addressee. Of course he is shocked at first, but then tries to convince Fumika that he is the right one to receive this letter. But he doesn’t know yet that it’s content will change everything…

First of all the show’s technical aspects like animation quality and character design are quite high which made a great first impression for me. Thus being in the right mood it was easy for me to sympathise with characters and the amazing twist of the story and it’s atmosphere finalised my high opinion of Shigofumi already after the first episode. After this, the second episode accomplished to present a “happier” ending for this arc than I could have imagine at the end of the first episode without forcing it through some kinds of miracles, which only confirmed my above stated opinion.

With it’s different arcs which span only over some few episodes this series promises to stay highly interesting while Fumika gives the whole show some continuity. And maybe she has some story of herself to tell, who knows. Definitely a show I’ll gladly continue to watch.

ARIA The ORIGINATION

ARIA the ORIGINATION

Like Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei ARIA The ORIGINATION was a sure win for me from the start of this season. The first episode didn’t do anything to make me believe in the opposite and so I’ll happily spend all the extra time on Aqua they’ll give me through this excellent series.

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Spice and Wolf & H2O – Footprints in the Sand

January 11, 2008

Spice and Wolf

Spice and Wolf

Although I don’t know yet what should think about the characters of Spice and Wolf I like what I’ve seen so far. The show accomplishes to emit a nice medieval atmosphere, its music fits well to this atmosphere, the animation and the character design looks good and the ending song has some nice engrish to offer. Lawrence’s more or less normal behavior toward the naked Holo was a nice change compared to the behavior most of other male anime characters would show. He definitely earned some brownie points here. On a negative note it was rather bad how they handled the display of Holo’s nudity. Not that I expected or wished to see more, but even if it’s sometimes quite silly how the “naughty bits” are hidden in other works it’s still better than just leave them out when their could be seen normally. I think they could have easily worked with Holo’s long hair and tail here. But oh well, it isn’t that of a problem after all.
Wonder in which way the story will develop now. Guess the last scene with Chloe indicates that Holo might still be important in some way for the village because the priests seem to have noticed her disappearance quite quickly.

H2O – Footprints in the Sand

H2O

H2O is a rather mediocre series so far. First of all I found Takuma’s blindness to be not very authentic illustrated. Okay, I don’t know much about the behavior of blind people nor do I know how it should be translated in anime behavior, but it just felt wrong. Furthermore the characters seem to be rather shallow and their design is not appealing enough to compensate for this drawback. In fact the only reason for me to continue watching this show at the moment is because I’d like to know how the class rep was able to create this fascistic-like system in her class (and I would complain either to see her and her two thugs getting the beating they deserve). Maybe it gets better before I lose the little interest that is left, but I’m not very hopeful.