Saturday, April 23

魔法少女まどか★マギカ / Madoka ends...

And what a fantastic series. This is what a well fleshed out characters and good storytelling can do. Easily one of the best series in 2011 and I foresee a legendary cult status it will attain amongst anime fans around the world. Never once I regretted watching the series, for me the highlight is paradigm shifting episode 3. I never watch this for the moe factor, I was more interested in plot, character and story. From then on, it is a wild, wild and dark ride into despair, suffering etc. Power comes with such heavy cost, for each Puella is basically a lich when they made the contract with QB/Kyubey. Yeap, pretty much glorified zombie magical girls.

Great music BGM helps especially at the scene of despairing Homura in episode 11, as her Soul Gem is getting tainted close to become a Witch after her attempts to stop Walpurgis falters. My emotions and feelings, already stung by Homura's cry of despair was enhanced by Kaijura's touch. This is what a good BGM can do.

This for example. Theme of Tomoe Mami, heard in episode 3.

No doubt the ending is deus ex-machina but there is considerable price to pay. Madoka for her existence as human is no longer tenable for her request to end the vicious cycle of Puella and Witches. She ascended into higher plane of existence and becomes a guardian angel to fight against despair and pain forever all alone. However as long as someone dear to her (Homura) remembers her, she felt it is enough that she is not truly alone. In the end, Madoka did express hope that one day they will meet again. Truly bittersweet ending, Urobochi style.

Personally I think Homura as one of interesting tragic heroine, she has to bear lots of awful truth thanks to her time travelling skills. Yet, she fought as much as she could despite knowing so much pain and suffering from alternate timelines. That to me, it is awesome since a heroism tampered with suffering make the character more human. Ironically Homura is the one with least expression in the series. Madoka is just a background on where Homura's reason to be painted on with 3 other girls act as a foil. Basically it is story of close friendship (some fans prefer to think of it as lesbian love) between Madoka and Homura, Sayaka and Sakura. Mami is a lonely Puella who looks for friendship and finds it with gushing Madoka before her horrific demise.

And hey, a chick who uses modern firepower always get top kudos from me. Homura is not shy using military firepower to fight enemies which I find it refreshing. Urobochi is known gun nut and it shows here. Homura is easily my favourite in this series.

For me, Kyubey or QB is ambivalent sentient beings, they might appear to work against human interests but without them, humanity will not have capability to fight the supernatural powers encountered in the series. It is easy to hate this unfeeling, alien beings though. Without these beings however, there will be no progress for humanity. QB/Kyubey has around since the dawn of mankind. However I find the argument and justification of entropy and energy transfer is a bit iffy though. For more discussions of Kyubey/OB's monologue in episode 9 about energy transfer and entropy, refer to this site.

It is rumored that Shinbo musing he might direct second season with slice of life genre instead of presence of plot. I don't know if this is true or not. Anyway, thank you Shinbo san for a fantastic series. This is perhaps one and only magical girls anime series that I bothered to watch. LOL.

You are welcome.

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Monday, April 18

New Kenshin anime? Eh?

Perhaps the most explosive anime related news now, new Kenshin anime is on the horizon. I am not sure which studio gonna animate it, will it be a reboot or anything. All I know is the announcement on 15th anniversary of famous chambara anime.

I shall wait for it with some interest. I already can hear female fans shrieking with excitement.

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Wednesday, April 13

Analysis on Fractale / フラクタル, what works and what is not. Part 1.

I heard Yamamoto Yutaka is retreating from anime directing for a time being after he admits that Fractale failed his expectations. He was reportedly perplexed at "failure" of Fractale and why it did not become breakthrough anime that he hoped for. He also said he could not understand other anime shows ( I wonder if he talks about Infinite Stratos which managed to sell 22,000 BDs for 1st volume or Madoka in this aspect). The clincher is he wondered whether he has gone insane or the world has gone crazy instead. Sourced from Otona Anime here. Personally I think if he really did retire, it will be quite a loss to anime scene. Despite his bombastic boast that he will single handedly turn back anime from moe pandering to real plot and real story before the airing of Fractale, I still thinks he is talented, slick director.

This will be quite long article, so bear with me as I go through slowly as to what I like and what I don't dig about this series. Beware though beyond this point, it is spoilerific territory. Part 1 deals with what I like with this series, part 2 is what I do not like about Fractale.

What works

Music is stupendous, very sweeping in orchestration and feel. Many times I have chill listening to the BGM while it accompanying the scene. The OP/ED is quite decent combo, however I love the ED more as the image meshed with the song perfectly. Peaceful, quiet yet endearing feel fueled by Irish poem inspired song. This is where Yutaka Yamamoto really shines: making slick OP/ED montage. Many will still remember the legendary Haruhi S1 ED.

Now, next on the list, art. Many controversy generated when fans are not too keen with the anime style, they wondering why the promo arts (done by Hidari) is so different from finished product. For me, it did not really bother me as the animation is smooth and pleasing, just not as distinctive as the illustration art. Some pundits hammer this is one of the reason why the anime failed to be big since they don't employ the promotional art all the way.

Hidari's art.

Anime's art.

Frankly, I disagree with those pundits since it did not really jar me anyway. Fractale's anime art is lush and beautiful, very high production value for TV series in honesty.


I quite like the general outline of the story, it has the sweeping epicness behind it and general interesting ideas. What happened to the world after Fractale was activated? Why humanity at large become glorified sloths in global Holodeck? Why Lost Millennium rebel against this "religion"? Is Fractale too happy for humanity to live? I have to pay tribute to the writer who came up with this good ideas, a great potential for a great series. What screw it up though is some plot holes and execution.

And the ending. Ah, it is one of the most beautiful and heart tugging ending ever in anime. I still feel the bittersweet sensation, weeks after I watch the finale. It wrapped up the story nicely, giving it a solid closure. Nice writing for the scene.

Stay tune for Part 2.

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Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society 3D

Ghost in the Shell: State Solid Society 3D? Damn. These people are pushing consumers to get 3D capable TVs.

Apparently remade with 3D technology, shown in Japan on 23rd March this year. Looks nice with new opening sequence. I wonder if Production IG is going to release any new GITS. Just wondering.

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Tuesday, April 12

Hidan no Aria / 緋弾のアリア is meh for me.

Came across this series, intrigued that this is the most "anticipated anime of the new season" as voted in a recent poll. So I decided to read the light novel and boy, am I not impressed. The story is basically students at one school in Tokyo are authorized to be part time law enforcement personnel due to increasing crime in Japan.

Some dude called Kinji who has this split personality or bipolar wanted a normal life, refusing to join the SWAT version of the school "Butei" called Assault team despite having an excellent aptitude for it. One fateful day he met this twin tailed, red hair, hot-headed chick called Aria and mayhem ensues due to the meeting. His enhanced self will only manifest when he sees females in trouble. After she saw what Kinji can do, she wants him badly despite vehement protests from him. To pass his time in the school before he will be transferred out, he join the detective division and score as lowly as possible in order not to stand out.

The setting is completely unconvincing and Aria is suppose to be descended from famous English master, Sherlock Holmes who looking for someone to complete her so she can brought up her inner talents to the brim. Facing them is some French criminal mastermind descendant, Lupin who still hold a grudge against the Holmes lineage. Her goal is to free her wrongly accused mother from some crime in Japanese jail while Lupin is trying to take down scores on Aria.

This story is purely for people who wanted the next Zero no Tsukaima tsundere female lead, only this time the male lead for this series is slightly less dense than usual. Her character is utterly predictable with usual tropes attached. No suspense, no surprises. Action is too ridiculous, it pushes suspension of disbelief to the limit.

The plot gets very thin quickly as she keep abusing the male lead, it is annoying. Unlike Toradora's Taiga who actually develop during the narrative, Aria shown very little of development at snail's pace. Ironically, the leads of Toradora are back especially the tsundere queen, Rie Kugiyama. I can foresee this series will be big, just a question of how big it will be.

I will give it a pass, not really my kinda stuff.

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Monday, April 11

Last EXILE Fam The Silver Wing / ラストエグザイル-銀翼のファム-. Sequel?

Hmmmm, I thought GONZO is dead. How is this come about? Same director, same designer (Range Murata), GONZO was taking advantage of new TV tech (3D thing) for this series. No news of when it is coming out or will it be a series or movie. From short preview, no male lead is observed. No more Claus.

More will come soon on this. I do enjoy the 2003 series so this caught my interest very intensely.

Home Site

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Saturday, April 9

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko / 電波女と青春男

Next Shinbo project is this anime, adapted from light novel. Synopsis is basically a kid has to deal with a girl who thinks she is an alien and goes around with futon wrapped around her body. The town also have this rumour about aliens running around.

That's it. Nothing really fancy here so far.

Knowing SHAFT is still riding on their massive success on Bakemonogatari and Madoka, I do wonder if their winning streak can be sustained.


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Wednesday, April 6

Tiger and Bunny....Yes or no?

At first I am puzzled by high quality production and intrigued by this reality show take on superheroes angle. Then I realize one thing, some of the names emblazoned on the hero's costume are real life counterparts. Pepsi, Bandai and Softbank, these were the guys with big money. Ingenious, their advertising on the costumes reminds me of the World Cup soccer player jersey names.

Story? Well, I am still withholding judgment here, not too sure if the story can remain fresh despite such luscious art. Music is pretty standard hero type, nothing fancy here.

EDIT (8/4/2011): I decided to remove the illegal stream and post the trailer instead. Enjoy the trailer and those who able to subscribe to legal streaming, just google "Anime On Demand" or ANN video. My apologies.

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Tuesday, April 5

The Governator?! Arnold Schwarzenegger in cartoon?

Yeap, we all guilty of making fun of it. Arnie the ex-California governor as Terminator + Robocop + Neo + whatever else jokes. Guess he heard it and as savvy as ever, he decides to cash on the jokes. It looks like kid friendly cartoon to me though. I admit that I laughed hysterically when I watch the trailer for first time.

Yeah man, don't fool around. The Governator is here. Will be back soon in 2012 to terminate the baddies, sticking around and already hungry despite chewing Green Berets for breakfast.

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Sunday, April 3

X-Men Anime First Impressions.

Looks like a promising start. Wolverine really like BAMF here unlike the previous Madhouse "Wolverine" who look too pretty for my taste. Set 1 year after the Dark Phoenix arc, the team is tasked to find a missing mutant in Japan. Voice acting is alright and art is stupendous for 1st episode.

Music wise is bit too mellow, I was hoping for faster tempo music to be honest.

Will follow this series with interest.

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Working!!! Season 2 is no April Fool joke, I suppose.

The April Fool version.

The real announcement.

Looks like Season 2 is on, folks.

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Friday, April 1

Cliche, cliche and more cliches....

Well, I am kinda bored so I check out the last episode of Infinite Stratos just for the heck of it and I was vindicated as to how clichéd this series was. I was told the light novel is better so I might go and have a look but I not holding any hopes for it. Well this harem looks like bloody G-9 meeting, all girls came from richest country in the world to dote on one "manly" Japanese dude who as usual, indecisive on which chick he wants to bang.

Ah well, the IS looks "Gundamish" but I don't dig the design, it exposed the pilot too much. And the amount of Gs they pull while they do those tight Angle of Attack and turns, I am amazed that they still in one piece, not puking their insides out. And according to what I see from this episode, the drone IS should have won since it is not limited by human factor. And bright colour schemes screaming for attention. I wonder if this supposed to be military machines or....?

And characters, oh man, this is rich. The author just picked all cardboard stock characters from many, many harem anime and repackage it into this story. The only difference is the nationality of the girls. I do wonder if Japanese international relations bias play any role in characterization of the girls here. Interestingly, no American girl here. I bet she will appear in future season with cowgirl theme and likes to use lots of guns. Hehe.

For those who look for mainstream mecha anime with harem appeal, this is pretty much the current choice.

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