November 24, 2007

Elfen Lied

It's cold and raining here, so this was a good weekend to stay inside and watch anime - the series of choice today was Elfen Lied. This was my third time to watch it, and it's still impressive. My first time was in Japanese with english subtitles, and I've since watched the dubbed version twice with my wife (who hates moderately dislikes subtitles). She loves this series, BTW.

The OP theme "Lilium" is extremely haunting, and is one of those things you wind up humming to yourself at odd moments. The Klimt-inspired paintings that accompany the song don't hurt either.
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It's basically a version of the frankenstein tale, except that (a) the monster is an attractive and occasionally-nude young woman with mysterious powers, and (b) she truly is murderous and insane. To make sure the audience is absolutely clear on this point the first episode starts out with a 10-minute-long bloodbath as the monster chops her way out of prison.
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Then she gets shot in the head at the last moment during her escape and loses her memories, and the story takes a 180-degree turn as our newly-autistic, non-potty-trained nubile young Frankenstein starts life anew, with some significant complications along the way.
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It's a short series (only 13 episodes plus an OVA that takes place in the middle episode 10), but tells a rollercoaster of a story with some really heartwrenching moments along the way (and lots of blood and body parts on occasion). Many of the main characters are psychologically damaged in one way or another, and this series tells many of their tales through some disturbing flashbacks. Some of these are very disturbing - child molestation, animal cruelty, etc. But amidst the horror these characters find a measure of healing over the course of the series.

The OP "Lilium" theme is actually a plot element - it's a tune from a music box that pops up occasionally, and the Monster Lucy occasionally hums the tune during her killing sprees.

Oh, and the other major departure from the Frankenstein tale? Elfen Lied is also a surprisingly touching love story.

Posted by: mparker762 at 03:42 PM
Post contains 352 words, total size 5 kb.

November 23, 2007

The Place Promised in our Early Days

I bought this movie many months (maybe a year or more) ago, and just now got around to watching it.

Wow. This thing was incredible. Subtle at first, then bringing out the sledgehammers at the very end. And visually stunning. I haven't been this impressed by a anime movie since Laputa, and I'm about ten minutes away from ordering everything else that director Makoto Shinkai has ever done.

It's a deceptive film - I notice that Chris Beveridge mentions having a hard time describing it - because it isn't really what it looks like on the surface. It starts out as a slice-of-life film in what appears to be some future post-war period, then turns into an alternate-universe SciFi technothriller, then a war movie complete with resistance movements, fleet actions, and bloody air combat. But lurking around the edges all the while is the real focus of the film - a love story between three friends who are driven apart by the more overt plot elements.

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Did I mention that it looks incredibly good for a non-HD movie? Slap it up on the big-screen if you've got one - this movie deserves it.

Posted by: mparker762 at 12:18 AM
Post contains 200 words, total size 4 kb.

November 10, 2007

Thoughts on this fall season anime


Moyashimon is delightfully different, and highly recommended, especially if you've been hankering to brew your own sake.

Minami-ke is a must-see, especially if you liked Ichigo Mashimaro.  Chiaki is almost-but-not-quite an older Miu, and the interaction between the sisters is a lot of fun.  The upside-down mouths are disconcerting, as are the huge thighs, but it's still a major win.

Goshuushu-sama Ninomiya-kun is a fanservice vehicle with incipient pretensions to a plot.  I'm nervous that a plot may spoil the show, but remain hopeful that the fanservice will pull it through.   With that many succubi and incubi running around there's gotta be some major sparks coming up.

Bamboo Blade is good, and brings back memories of fencing class in high school.  The dull-as-dishwater Miya-Miya has developed some interesting personality quirks - turns out she's been putting on an act the whole time, and the other characters that have joined the team are adding some fun dynamics.

Sketchbook ~ Full Color~ is a slow and easygoing slice-of-life show that I love.  The characters are weird (hand-puppets?) but genuine and a delight to watch.

I'm still hanging on to Myself;Yourself, ef ~A tale of Memories~, and Kimikiss Pure Rouge though I notice that I'm falling behind, which is a bad sign.

Shugo Chara, Blue Drop, Clannad, Prism Ark etc have all completely dropped off the radar.  Dreck, all of them.  Mokke doesn't seem to be dreck, but it's extremely slow and not really worth the trouble.

Mostly an awful season, all in all.

Posted by: mparker762 at 01:09 AM
Post contains 257 words, total size 2 kb.

Moyashimon 3, or Lecture on Fermentation, in which a new character is introduced.

and she's a blonde! (in Japan?)

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She doesn't normally run around with cotton in her nose, but this is a special occasion - this is what she's carrying:
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Ick.  They cut it into sushi, and the walrus-looking professor happily exclaims it to be 6x nastier than Kiviak (the birds-fermented-in-a-dead-seal dish from episode 1).

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The girl's name is Oikawa Hazuki, and she's settling in the third freshman of the group.  She's reasonably cute, and seems nice, and has a major bacteria phobia that will probably turn out to complement Sawaki's bacteria-spotting power in some future episode.  She carries as much antibacterial sprays and swabs on her person as the Grenadier girl carries ammo.

In the background of this scene, btw, Hasegawa-san is showing off her, umm, peculiar skills...
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Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Bad memories of an undergraduate dorm room:
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To which the bacteriaphobe reacts predictably:
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and proceeds to clean it all up.  Chicks love vacuum cleaners.

There's a surprising amount of didactic material in this series, but this episode is especially heavy handed with it - nearly half the material is a lecture on traditional and commercial sake fermentation techniques.  Educational stuff for sure, and as a former biochemistry major and erstwhile homebrewer I found it fascinating, but I'm not sure how this sort of stuff will go over with the usual otaku set.  Though it does give us an opportunity to see Hasegawa-san in an apron.
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Not to fear - she's wearing a riding coat, leather miniskirt, and brown leather spiked-heel riding
 boots under that apron.

tra la.

Posted by: mparker762 at 12:48 AM
Post contains 274 words, total size 3 kb.

November 09, 2007

Moyashimon, or "I See Bacteria"

Wierdness continues to abound in this "Dominatrix of Science Teaches Microbiology" after-school special.  Texas A&M was never like this...

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'cause if I'd had professors like this...
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I might have stayed in Biochemistry instead of switching to Computer Science my Sophomore year.

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Alas and alack.

Posted by: mparker762 at 11:36 PM
Post contains 49 words, total size 1 kb.

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