Nice Little Surprise For You Adults: Rescue Wing

The past 2 or 3 months have been the least anime I’ve watched over a period this long since I got back into it last year (actually I have no facts to back that statement) so I once again turned to the handy recommendation forum of Animesuki for help (the only section of the site I like at all) and happened to get a mention of something I’d never even heard before – Rescue Wings. I watched an episode when I was about to go to be and immediately ended up watching the first 5 before getting too tired to coninue. I then finished it up today.

The two shows that come to mind quickest when thinking about Rescue Wings are Honey and Clover and 5 cm Per Second. If that’s not indication enough, Rescue Wings is definitely a show meant for adults (or really matur teenages like I consider myself.) It’s about a guy named Uchida who gets assigned to be a pilot of a rescue helicopter although he’d wanted to be a fighter pilot. At first he’s not feeling too great about things since he didn’t get the job he wanted, the town he’s moved to is tiny, and he and his girlfriend back home keep missing each other’s calls. Things only get worse when he has a hardass training instructor and worse yet when a major accident occurs on the first mission he spectates.

However, thing steadily get better and Uchida comes to enjoy his place in the JSDF. The biggest driving force behind his character is his steel determination. When his instructor tells him about his mistakes or he makes fuck ups he always sets out to improve himself and never bitch about it. He develops kinship with those around him and is overall a great guy.

Rescue Wings is a very soft-spoken anime. Emotions are expressed through action and interaction rather than eplanation, which is something I wholly admire in anime. Episode 4 in particular has Marimite-level communication fuckwin. Every character, no matter how minor, has a depth and human quality to them.

Perhaps my favorite element of the show was how it superbly highlighted the importance of relationships and displayed more than ever how mouch a couple needs to rely on each other, always keeping within totally real context. That’s something that should be mentioned forthright – except for a JSDF member just so happening to be involved in a dangerous situation in one episode, everything in Rescue Wings is 100% realistic. There is not an ubelievable moment within. But anyway, Uchida and his girlfriend’s interactions are brilliant because we see the imperfections of both characters and how they balance each other out. There are other examples of these relationships and are all great.

I found the directing to be exceptional as well. Episode order, pacing (slow but not too slow) and some great decisions such as Honey and Clover esque songs during episodes and an ed that changes to fit the episodes. Animation was off the charts, definitely one of J.C.Staff’s finest and proving once again that not everything they do is trash (in fact they are an extremely respectable studio who is unfortunately most recognized for it’s worst shows. Wait did I just refer to them in 3 different ways in that sentence? I’m leaving that in here.)

The only problem I had in Rescue Wings, and is a minor complaint, is that all the characters look very similar (realistic, all asians look alike) and it made certain scenes confusing when I thought one guy was another guy. Minor complaint though.

There was also a (beautifully animated) OVA. This one was very very very  hard for me to grasp and I imagine would be for most people my age. I want to watch this as an old man and see if I understand it. Very introspective and nostalgic feeling that i could see but couldn’t feel.

Anyway, good show, go watch.

Oi Hayaku November 2008 Contest Submission

So Oi, Hayaku is having another of it’s monthly contests, and this time my goal was to compare each of my favorite (and some of my least favorite) blogs to my thanksgiving dinner. So I picked up my camera and headed to Food Lion to get the scoop on each dish. Sadly this video wasn’t as good as I’d hoped because, well, you fucking go to Food Lion and try to film a video, it’s awkward as hell. Anyways, here:

FANBOY GENOCIDE Part One: The First Episode of Haruhi

You all had to know this would happen eventually. After watching me get pissed at various kinds of fans, you must have figured eventually I’d start singling them out for the slaughter. So, while these posts will only happen every once in a while, this is a series called Fanboy Genocide dedicated to groups with opinions that have significantly pissed me off on forums and chats, and hopefully correcting their ways.

So, I’ve pretty much got no more bitching to do about people who hate Haruhi and Luzky Star because they all fall into a couple of groups. The first is a group of those who should never have watched the shows in the first place and only ended up doing so thanks to the rampant popularity. The second group is trolls. However, one commonly expressed notion from people who loved Haruhi as a whole is a complaint that the first episode is stupid, boring, poorly made, pointless, etc. Well congratulations, enough of you have bitched about it and now I have to kill you all. (no, not literally.)

The part about it that bothers me the most is that these people DO like the rest of the series. Haruhi as a whole is a good amount of quite blatant parody. One of the show’s stong points is molding together all these cliche plots and putting a twist on them to seem like the show itself is realistic and believable in contrast to it’s own unbelievable elements. It’s most evident in the characters: an alien, an esper, and a time traveler – classics of sci-fi stories and moe anime alike. There is the silent girl and the clumsy girl and the tsundere – and even the yaoi-bait and loli. It takes on the ever-popular mystery genres, epic space-battles, philosophical, sci-fi, good ol’ school comedy – there’s a little bit of it all in the mix. Half of the fun in Haruhi is just how it puts it’s own twist on everything relating to anime culture.

So then we have the first episode, a blatant parody of the magical girl genre with a sci-fi overtone and some rom-com stylings. Haruhi’s movie brilliant rips on all sorts of anime cliche, with Kyon to really pour salt into the wound with his crushing monologue. I felt like I was watching every silly anime I’d ever seen thrown together and cranked up to eleven. The episode even does the great job of introducing us to different characteristics of all the characters before we’ve even met them. Yuki is stoic throughout, Koizumi has to move constantly and use his hands to talk, Mikuru constantly looks like she’s having a heart attack, and we get to hear Kyon’s hilarious monologue against it all. This just gets more fun when we rewatch it knowing all of the characters and see all the things we know and love about them.

But way more than all of that, the episode is directed and animated so incredibly well that I would have loved to see a show just made of these silly films. I could almost call the episode a masterpiece. Characters accidentally show up on screen holding the cue cards for others and we watch Mikuru’s eyes as she blatantly reads off of them. When Yuki, the villain, is supposed to disappear, we see her just walking infinitely down the road. The camera pans up to the sky CONSTANTLY. Someone gets injured when they try to use firecrackres for special effect. The camera abruptly cuts for Mikuru’s undressing session. When Yuki’s cat accidentally talks, she hits it on the head and just says ‘that was ventriloquism’. After the bad guys are knocked into the water we still see them. The special effects are ass-drawn thunderbolts from Microsoft Paint. The camera even goes in and out of focus during action scenes. Even the voice actors manage to play a chracter who can’t act. EVERY SINGLE THING that could POSSIBLY be done wrong in the making of a short film goes wrong to the point that you have to remind yourself – this is anime! The effort put into perfectly replicating how a shitty live action movie would look is astounding and makes for one of the most constantly hilarious and impressive episodes of anime ever. It just gets better and better the more you watch it, too.

If you didn’t like the first episode of haruhi, you must have either missed the joke, misunderstood the show, or have no fucking idea what good animation is (I still can’t believe some people thought this episode was poorly animated. Did they only see the obviously joke laser beams and miss all of the ungodly fluidity?!) It’s easily one of the greatest first episodes of anime ever and certainly among the most memorable.

Your thoughts?

Zaregoto Book 1: The Kubikiri Cycle – Man, What the Fuck Was THAT All About?

I would like to stress that this be read in accompaniment, though preferably before, this review by my hero, Boogiepop translator Andrew Cunningham http://easternstandard.pbwiki.com/Zaregoto

Nisioisin is a stellar author who singlehandedly revolutionized the light novel market just as Kouhei Kadono had brought it into existence years before with Boogiepop and Others. Like Kadono, Nisioisin writes heavily psychological tripfests with a very unique style. Also, just as all Kadono stories are instantly recognizable, Nisioisin’s stories, among those I’ve read, all have very similar qualities.

The best way to describe Zaregoto in my opinion would be ‘completely fucking inaccessible mindrape.’ I guess the Japanese eat that up since all of the novels that revolutionize their markets are totally insane. Naturally, I loved Zaregoto, though the ending leaves me wallowing in self-doubt and pain. Unlike Boogiepop and Others whose worldview is crystal clear to me like some Brilliant All-Truth (it is, after all, my favorite thing ever) Zaregoto is like some hazed-over crazy land. The book is written in such a way that it begs the reader to pull thmself into relating to it even though they shouldn’t at all. The main character is a complex mechanism of confusion and derision and none of the other characters are shining examples of normalcy. If you take any of the points made or worldviews expressed in this novel seriously, you are in for a world of conflicting thoughts, bad moods, and will get very angsty very fast. It’s a powerful thing that a book so out of touch with normalcy can convince a normal person that they are either insane, a genius, or both, or at least start hating the world for no discernable reason.

I imagine this is what made the book popular. After reading it, people were probably so fucking confused with what they actually thought about the world in and of itself that they couldn’t help but relate this indescribable emotion to a love for the story. I can’t blame them – I’m in the same boat. Throughout the entire book I found myself nodding in agreement or furrowing my brow in thought at things I didn’t even comprehend, and the ending – holy fucking shit. I won’t spoil it but when you get through the epilogue it is impossible not to ask yourself ‘what the fuck did I just read?!’ honestly, I’m glad it ended that way just to show me exactly how fucked up the worldview really was so I didn’t take it so seriously I really went mad.

As for the story itself, as a mystery novel, which it is in some way, it doesn’t even try very hard to be a good mystery for the most part and is less ‘ZOMG’ than most episodes of Detective Conan but the real engrossing part is the constant dialogue and psychobable that has you gripping your head and asking ‘why am I thinking about this?!’ The main character was a guy who I would have a hard time not enjoying when he was so complex and it was refreshing to see a main character who wasn’t written to be relatable. I also loved his partner, the blue-haired Kunagisa, but that’s because she was UBER pandering to my DEEPEST emotions that made me just want to rip her out of the book and I imagine that it will sink in how much I loved her character and how I wish she were real and then I’ll get all depressed and shit. Again. Damn this fucking book.

Nine out of ten. I highly recommend it, especially if you want to be fucked hard through the ear.

Gokigenyou All Over Again – Marimite Rewatch

So the first time I watched Marimite I already knew I’d have to rewatch it eventually. Back then I wasn’t so prone to rewatching and the following 2 seasons were really god so i guess I hadn’t really put enough urgency on watching season 1 again. I’ve owned the season 1 box for around a month now, but like all anime in the past month I forgot to watch it. Seeing that the long-awaited season 4 of Marimite is starting next season gave me a push and today i had the random desire to marathon a 13-episode series – so I did.

The first time I watched r I thought that it had the single worst first episode of all time (and I was not alone in this sentiment.) However, Marimite is a show that is perplexing and the first 3 or so episodes cannot really be interpreted correctly on your first go-through. I remember at the yuri panel at Otakon, one of the panelists mentioned how he went back and rewatched the first episode of Marimite, as he apparently had a few times before, and found himself bewildered by how good it was. Now that I’ve seen it again, it was not in fact a bad episode but a fucking ballsy one that I have utmost respect for.

Marimite starts off by throwing the viewer into a very dramatic, turbulent situation that involves a lot of people and a lot of background reasoning for actions that the viewer can’t possibly understand. At this time, there’s no way for us to know that later on, there will be lots of smiles, fun, and homely slice-of-life. All we know is that things start off vary fucking dramatically. This serves a purpose, though, and that purpose is to get you into the mind of the main character, Yumi – a place you will be throughout the series. The show is meant to somewhat reflect her first person perspective (except of course at times when she’s not involved). At the start of the story, Yumi is very very fucking confused. She is thrown into a situation she has no comprehension of with no idea what’s happening, and as such, so is the viewer. It is very disorienting, and that’s exactly how it is meant to be. Actually purposefully making an episode like this seems almost pretentious but I cna’t help but fucking applaud the series for putting the effort into taking the emotional perspective of the main character that seriously.

It’s a shame, though, that this is so hard to appreciate without already having the clarity to know why you were confused, but at least you can appreciate your own confusion. It also helps because on the first go through I really didn’t get into Marimite until episode four. I have always hated when a show starts off with too much drama because I usually don’t have the emotional backing to care about the drama. However, this problem is only really prevalent in drama series, which Marimite is not. It’s a slice-of-life who’s beginning had no choice but to open up right into a clusterfuck. Merely knowing that the series is not a full-on drama makes the early episodes easier to take.

which pretty much means the series is perfect because beyond those things thatI had first thought of as problems, this show is amazing in every fucking way. Marimite is one of those shows that is just about incomparable – in a league of it’s own. And it’s game is communication. It is pointed out that Yumi makes a lot of reactive facial expressions in teases by other characters, but Marimite is a show where EVERY facial expression has meaning. Every time you see someone’s face, the situation takes on it’s meaning, and the words and motions of the characters have a real impact on each other. It’s the deepest communication that probably exists in an anime.

And what’s more, the emotions are constantly moving and evolving in a completely human way. The emotional reactions characters have to each other is flawless. When yumi gets wrapped up in her worrying about her onee-sama, it turns out that her reclusion into her emotions was effecting her companion as well. Every person’s actions have a real effect, and that’s just not fucking something that shows besides Marimite accomplish. Two thumbs way the fuck up. If I actually believed in objectivity Marimite would definitely be one of the top 5-10 anime ever created.

GOTH – S. S. Astro – Black Lagoon = Sum Manga I Dun Read

You know how you can tell I’ve got too much fucking free time at school? I read 3 fucking graphic novels within my school day today. THREE! And i’m not one of those fucking crazy people who plows through a graphic novel in 15 minutes – it takes me about 45-minutes on average. I read slow, shut the fuck up. Anyway, I guess it makes the most sense to write about them in the order that I read them so here you go.


S. S. Astro volume 1

user posted image

S.S. Astro is another giant-paged 4-Koma manga released by Yen Press. That enough was reason for me to buy it. This manga by Negi Banno (who gets not even an introduction parapraph anywhere in the book) is about 4 female teachers who start work at a high school. It’s comedy slice of life al-la Hidamari Sketch only a bit more mature. Not that it’s serious or anything, it’s just about adults being adults instead of the usual high school girls being high school girls. This doesn’t make them any less cute and fun though.

S.S. Astro has immediately loveable characters that by the end of the volume had me begging to be able to read more about them (as often happens in these manga). it also solidifies my claim that every slice of life story has at least one lesbian character in it, though this is by far the most blatant one (her character is largely based around it.) The personality traits of the characters are pretty basic, but in a grown up way that makes it interesting in a sort of ‘what if my favorite anime girls grew up?’ sort of way. It’s not the first thing to do that whatsoever, but it’s no less fun to see.

Anyway if you’ve been impressed by the Yen Press 4-koma so far there’s absolutely no reason you won’t love this one. The best part is that unlike hidasketch I haven’t already seen these stories upwards of 3 times and therefor I feel very inclined to reread it. Immediately. I WANT MORE.

GOTH
Goth started as a novel written by Otsuichi. I learned about Otsuichi from Faust which I promise I’ll start going through soon, and his story F-Sensei’s Pocket, which was great. they didn’t have the Goth novel at the store I went to but they had the manga which is only 1 volume long and therefor totally worth it. Goth is very good. The first chapter kind of feels like going down old roads of mystery/horror anime with characters who were messed up in a very drab way, however by chapter two things become far more interesting. The main draw of Goth, and I’ve heard it’s tenfold so in the novel, is the main character who is twisted but so cool and collected that  you can’t help but like him. My kind of psycho, you could say. It was also fun how the girl was your total mysterious and gothy girl but there was enough to show that she was not very bright at all and given a very human quality unkown to most mysterious characters.
The manga was rife with great imagery, especially the chapter starters like that above. There were awesome facial expressions, cool poses, some trippiness – all the great things to come of gothic storytelling. The icing on the cake was a riveting knife fight. Andrew Cunningham happened to be talking about the novel just today and says that apparently KyoAni almost did an OVA of Goth. I’d love to see Madhouse or SHAFT do it, the latter preferred because Shinbo is the king of gothic imagery. I will try to get my hands on the novel ASAP because I’d really love to get more into the main character’s mind.
Black Lagoon volume 1
Volume one of black lagoon features what became the first 3 episodes of the anime and the Roberta arc, meaning the u-boat arc was shafted forward in the anime. In addition to that, a lot of things happened faster in the manga, reinforcing my thoughts that everything in the anime could have been done in fewer episodes. If the anime was entirely taken from the manga, it’s easier to see the manga being preferable just because it has such better pacing. Otherwise, the anime was such a straight-up adaption that I don’t have much to say except that the character designs look better in the manga – namely Revy. She has more smoothness about her I guess. I also love how the artwork is rock solid but when fights break out everything goes into huge-outlign giant-text Gurren-lagann style madness.

Best of Digital Boy's Anime Bloggin'

So I have wanted to do this for a long time really, inspired by The Animanachronism’s list of his favorite blog posts on his MAL profile. I am going to compile a lost of my favorite posts that I’ve done. This post title is because for those who weren’t around then, this blog was called ‘Digital Boy’s Anime Bloggin’ until December 07 however the title was never actually visible. Unless you clicked the about page or saw the name on other people’s blogrolls, there was no way of finding out where the fuck you were.

So, here are my favorite posts by myself, chronologically:

1. Massugu Go! - A post detailing how important the endings of Hitohira and Manabi Straight were to me and comparing them. My first time being really proud of a post. Further reading in A Desolation Song.

2. Just A 21st Century Digital Boy – An interesting full-on perspective of my own anime fandom at the time. Seeing how this was part of the foundation for how things became and what things have changed gives me chills.

3. GAINAX Theory – Good is Good? – I come to terms with the fact that studio DOES matter. I didn’t even remember that I had this conflict.

4. Perfection Versus Brilliance – Interesting outlook?

5. Oh Dear God Why Did it Have to be Anime?! - I can’t say I like how sporadic and long this post is, but it definitely is something. Very something. I think.

6. Director Worship – This isn’t really a post but it’s still fuckwin.

– THE LISTMANIA SERIES

1. Video Killed the Radio Star – My top 50 op/ed videos. Not up to date but still fun.

2. Using Star-Crossed Lovers as a Blanket Term for a 2d-Complex – My top 100 characters, very out of date.

3. Viva Anison! - List of my favorite op and ed songs. RIDICULOUSLY HUGE.

7. Depth Versus Chemistry – This is also probably my first post that I was really really proud of but got ZERO comments. Twas depressing.

8. The Generation Gap – Probably my most famous post and the one that got the most comments ever.

9. Orwell Was Right, 1984 Was Fucking Nuts – Possibly my favorite post as it was my biggest research accomplishment.

10. That Episode Was Kind of Boring – I nail the difference between hardcore and casual fans.

–BOOGIEPOP PHANTOM REWATCH POSTS

1. Episode OneEpisode TwoEpisode ThreeEpisode Four – Was postponed for lack of enthusiasm from readers.

11. Kanokon – The AntiThesis of Moe – Interesting take on underrated show.

12. GAINAX Theory of Burning Pathos – Getting recent now.

–STUDIO STUDIES POSTS

1. GAINAX

2. UFO Table

3. SHAFT

4. Studio 4c

–Fanboy Genocide Posts

1. Haruhi Episode 1

13. Toradora 10: A Thorough Fanboying – A very excellent and in-depth look at a great episode of a great anime.

14. Welcome Back to Anime, Digital Boy! – Emotionally powerful.

15. Kizutsuita Hibi no Mukou ni. Nani ka Matsu no Ka? 2 0 0 8 – Review of best year ever.

16. Shogu Chara and the Legalization of Crunchyroll – Possibly my most well-written post ever. Very journalistic.

17. Maria Holic op Possible Influences - Fuckwin on the research and I’m proud of the conciseness.

Roadmap to My Anime Fandom

So, ghostlighting and Riex did posts about the most influential anime to their fandom. I’m doing it to. Hopefully in some kind of order. There will be no Pokemon or DBZ here because I didn’t know they were anime, and there will be no Shounen Jump titles not because I didn’t like them, but because I was reading the manga of all of them and hated the anime thanks to censorship. This doesn’t effect the order of things much at all. So, how did this go exactly…

1. Ninja Scroll

I was 11 when I first saw Ninja Scroll. At the time, I wasn’t even aware it was anime, but I got into anime soon afterward and this was part of what had me hooked. My early anime years were entirely shared with my best friend and cousin, Funeral (who’s name I’m sure you’ve seen pop up here a lot.) At the time he was about 15 and we had another older cousin who we didn’t see much who was a big influence on everything we did and during one visit decided to show us Ninja Scroll. I had never been exposed to anything quite like this before. It’s not that my parents kept it from me, but I was always scared to death of things like blood and would never watch any violent movies. I had also never seen heavy sexual content beyond looking at my dad’s porn mags all the time. When we watched the first scene where the giant double-edged blade flies through the forest and cuts about 20 men to pieces I was instantly in love. A lot of this came from the fact that there was a Samurai Jack episode blatantly based on this movie that I had also loved. I can’t remember much of the film except for the really badass parts but at the time it was revolutionary and even more than me, it had a huge impact on Funeral who would start looking into anime. This happened to be no more than a week or so before the first episodes of a whole new sensation debuted….

2. Cowboy Bebop

I had no idea at the time, but I watched the first episode of Cowboy Bebop the very first time it ever aired on Cartoon Network. I hadn’t seen it from the beginning, just managed to catch it. The plot was a little more grown up than I could fully understand, and the episode’s end was sad. I was not used to this and didn’t really like it, but it captivated me somehow. Less than a two weeks later, Funeral told me about the newly begun (1 week) Adult Swim which had a bunch of anime on it. I had no concept of what anime was, but Adult Swim was a quick way to learn. Cowboy Bebop was my first ever favorite anime and would be for about a year. this would not have been possible, though, if it weren’t for the very first issue of Anime Invasion (later changed to Anime Insider.) Around the time of Adult Swim’s existence, Funeral bought the first volume of Anime Insider and we learned our first lessons from it. It talked about everything that was left out of the American Dragon Ball Z. It talked about all of the Gundam series. It gave an episode summary of every episode of Macross. Only about a month after Adult Swim began, I moved to Florida for about 5 months and didn’t see Funeral till I moved back, so my anime was held up by that Anime Invasion magazine and Adult Swim.

Honorable Mentions go to Yuu Yuu Hakusho and the later appearing Inu-Yasha which both took top spots for me but not for wholly different reasons as Cowboy Bebop (I’d shoot myself for comparing them now).

3. X/1999 – Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust – Blood: The Last Vampire

In the time that I had lived in Florida, Funeral had picked up Ninja Scroll on VHS (since he didn’t own a DVD player yet) and when we came back he started buying some more anime. Over the course of two or three months, he bought three anime movies – first Blood the Last Vampire, then X/1999, then Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust. All three were amazing and in retrospect a fucking excellent way to start off with anime. All have spectacular animation, directing, and are all widely regarded. That’s probably how Funeral found out about them, since he was a little better at researching than I was, though neither of us were great. X/1999 was my first ever favorite anime movie and probably the first ‘trippy’ thing I ever enjoyed. The scene where one guy is imploded was always my favorite anime moment.

4. Yu Yu Hakusho: Poltergeist Report – Mobile Suit Gundam Char’s Counterattack

In 2003 Funeral finally got a DVD player and the first 2 DVDs he bought were Char’s Counterattack and Poltergeist Report. Neither of them were my absolute favorites, though I was a huge Yu Yu Hakusho fan so the movie was a plus. However, this was the beginning of an era – 2003 pretty much entirely consisted of Funeral and I 9mostly him) buying anime DVDs. The two of us had NO concept of the fact that some people were watching anime in Japanese on the Internet. WE used magazines and websites like ANN and researched anime CONSTANTLY finding out all the new things to buy. Every weekend, Funeral would come to my house with 30 bucks he got for allowance and we’d go to Suncoast in the mall and buy a DVD. Then on Saturday we’d watch Adult Swim (and later the shows on the Saturday anime lineup Cartoon Network implemented) and later watch the DVD he bought. We were not particularly smart about the DVD purchases. We’d always buy volume one or two of a series and never continue from there, too distracted from the other series we wanted to check out. However we loved most of what we bought (not all, though) and our anime fandom kept growing and growing. Very early into this time I was also interested in what would become my ‘alltime favorite anime’ until I got out of anime altogehter.

5. Rurouni Kenshin

I may have had been into anime for a while by the time I got to Kenshin, and some of it I was very into. But none quite as deep as Kenshin. Kenshin was the first anime to have me plowing through fansites and reading character bios, looking for the theme songs online, buying an OST (best theme collection 2, the early prise of my collection.) It was also the first anime of which I’d ever buy a DVD – Volume Seven (I’d never be dumbfuck enough to buy a volume late in the series again). I bought volume seven because it had the first fight with Hajime Saito which had been the series highlight for me (I fucking loved Saito. Aku Soku ZAN! I had him as my first anime themed birthday cake.) The Samurai X OVAs were something beyond my comprehension. I’d never seen fights that badass before. Just to understand how ‘into’ anime Funeral and I were, we made an anime magazine or two, drew our own manga and fanart, etc (always under the name ‘OtakuSamurai’). I would compile HUGE lists of shit I wanted to buy (I still do) and of my favorites and stuff (some things never change). At the time I had thought that the two most popular anime in the universe were Hellsing and NGE and it was a huge goal of mine to see them. Some other shows I was really into around this time were Jing (my first manga series as well as a loved anime) .hack, s-cry-ed, and samurai deeper kyo. It was somewhere in this era that FLCL first aired on TV as well and I fucking loved it, and every time it would get re-aired on Adult Swim it was like an event. It should be noted also that I avoided anything with sexual content at the time out of some weird self-duty. I was also criminal for owning a bunch of DVDs I would never actually watch such as Lain and haibane which I would of course be glad I’d hung on to Way down the line. Another shout-out goes to Trigun which had started to overtake my favorite anime position as I was getting out of anime and for a while would be remembered as my favorite from that time. There were a bunch more I’m too lazy to remember. Eventually, though, Funeral got out of anime and sold a bunch of his DVDs and about 20 of them to me. I moved soon after and got out of anime myself, getting sucked into the world of video games. I later sold most of the shitty anime that I can’t believe I ever liked such as Kyo.

During the time I was into video games, I didn’t forget about anime altogether. I still caught some of the new anime that would air on Adult Swim like Samurai Champloo and FullMetal Alchemist, though I would never watch often enough to see every episode. The only one I can think of from then that I watched all of and loved was Paranoia Agent. In one of the houses I lived in then I went a long time without cable TV and money, so I couldn’t afford to play video games anymore. I got really into music after that and when I got back to having money it all went toward music. However, somewhere in the midst of it all, in 2006, I managed to watch one sole anime that didn’t even get me back into anime nor remind me of times past, but still revolutionized my perception of it altogether. I’d seen 8 episodes of it before, but this time I marathoned the entire series in excitement of being able to see it. You can guess what this anime was.

6. Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Motherfucking Genesis Evan Motherfucking Gelion. I’ve talked enough on here about what and why Evangelion meant to me (hint: see Top 5 page). Evangelion was a universe-defining anime for me and while I didn’t go back to watching anime all the time after it, I was certainly curious about anime again afterward. Go read top 5 for the inspirational crap.

7. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

In December 2006, Haruhi was the very first anime I ever watched streamed, subbed, and online. I had seen anime in Japanese with subtitles plenty of times, but this was my first… FANSUB! And where did I watch it you ask? Youtube. That’s right. I thought the opening was supposed to start jittering at the space part. I didn’t learn better for a little while. Haruhi almost single-handedly reawakened me to anime. From episode one, it was one of the coolest things I’d ever seen and I had never known that a show could combine genres so well and be both deep and shallow all at once and have so much fun. I watched it over the course of three or four days and afterward I became depressed because there wasn’t any more of it. I had never, like, rewatched anime at the time (besides the Adult Swim shows because they were rerun) so it didn’t occur to me to watch Haruhi again but it certainly left me with great wanting. At this time I was also reading a ton of Megatoko and started hanging out on the forums (though I stuck to the story discussions at first). Luckily in January 07 I happened to stumble in at the time of the Anime Grand Prix, a yearly character contest on Megatokyo and learned about something that was all the rage – Kanon. I watched all of Air and Kanon, both of which I completely loved, having never been exposed to drama or romance or moe before, and thus my love for anime was completely re-kindled. Some of the early anime I watched were Manabi Straight, Hidamari Sketch, and Nodame Cantabile (none of which I completed at the time due to slow subs.) i also finally got around to watching some of the DVDs I had been neglecting…

8. Serial Experiments Lain

From this point on, I won’t be talking about shows that got me deeper into anime so much as those that broadened my horizons. Of the series I owned but never had watched, there was my Kino no Tabi complete collection, the first 2 DVDs of Haibane Renmei, and the first DVD of Lain. I loved all of these, but I’d not manage to complete my Haibane collection for almost another year. Lain, however, upon watching, drove me to collect the rest of it and complete it as soon as possible. I could say that Lain pushed me down the hallways I’d been lead to by Evangelion. I had never realized that anime could be something that spoke to me as a person until Evangelion, and Lain was the first show that didn’t need an exciting action plot and relatable characters to do it. I had always shied away from artsy anime in the past mostly because they weren’t as exciting, but I was a very different person now and Lain was the kind of thing I was looking for. Lain got me interested in anime that would really challenge my psyche (though unfortunately no other would do so to such a level.) I’d say Mushi-shi also definitely helped in these early days to make me appreciate more contemplative, down-to-earth stories.

9. Hidamari Sketch – Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

I have known about creators, to some extent, forever. It’s pretty easy to figre out that the name on the spine of your favorite manga is like a map to other good manga, and I had been made aware of a handful of directors. I knew show Hideaki Anno was, I had been very well exposed to Shinnichiro Watanabe (Funeral was always much more appreciative of directors than I and CB was always his favorite anime) and Yoshitoshi ABe was not alien to me. However, Hidamari Sketch introduced me to the first director who would really make me take notice of the director. Akiyuki Motherfucking Shinbo. I had seen his name thrown around (namely by Wildarmsheero) as the show aired and after the unbelievably spectacular episode 5 (still one of the greatest episodes of anime ever) the name took on menaing. Even moreso when I found out he had directed the Soultaker. The Soultaker was one of the many DVDs Funeral had sold me from way back that I had always thought was okay and we were obsessed with the opening theme (fucking JAM Project) but I had never given the show much thought. Suddenly the stylish visuals I remembered had meaning. This came full circle when Shinbo’s next show, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, started airing and was semi-instantly one of my favorites (another I had a birthday cake of). Akiyuki Shinbo became my favorite director and opened my eyes to creators altogether.

After this point, I will still point these things out but note that right here, May 2007, is where this blog began, so if you look back (yeah, right) you’ll see where these influences took effect.

I want to throw out an honorable mention here to Welcome to the NHK for influencing me to start changing my favorites list regularly. I was always one to aspire to ‘alltime favorites’ that couldn’t be altered, but I liked NHK so much I eventually grew the balls to put it ahead of NGE.

10. Manabi Straight – Hitohira

VOTE OBAMA TODAY MOTHERFUCKER!

VOTE OBAMA TODAY MOTHERFUCKER!

These anime taught me that not only could anime reflect my life, help my thought process along, etc, but that it could actually literally effect my life as a whole. This trend would continue with shows such as ef, Arjuna, and Otaku no Video – see Top 5 for more about that. For Manabi and Hitohira, read my fuckin blog. My Manabi and Hitohira posts have always been my favorite.

Individual Genre Importance (in order I became able to accept/get into them, for those not covered above):
Shoujo: Revolutionary Girl Utena and Kare Kano
Moe/loli/things with girls: Lucky Star and all aforementioned early 07 shows
Yuri: Simoun, Hitohira, and Marimite
Otaku Interest: Genshiken, and then later more extreme wit Otaku no Video
First Downloaded Anime: Well there were a bunch. I want to say… Shana?
Truly Dark: Texhnolyze, Baccano, Black Lagoon, and Gunslinger Girl
Things I Never Thought I’d Watch: Ouran, CardCaptors Sakura, Princess Tutu
Life Assessment: NHK, Nana, Honey and Clover, etc.
80s Anime: Space Adventure Cobra
Hentai: Moonlight Lady, Imouto Jiru
Straight Hentai (as opposed to yuri): Stringendo and Accelerando Ultimatum Sera
No Boundaries: Tokyo Akazukin
ONAs: Kigeki
Harem: Kanokon

Yeah, a lot. But most of the tings I like, I like because they had an impact on me. Anway, I think I covered everything. Good fun. Cheerie-o

Crusher Joe – Worst. Pacing. Ever.

I first learned about Crusher Joe while asking people about 80s anime back when I was on my 80s kick and then rediscovered it when I was going through all the Buried Treasures on ANN. Like most things, after I downloaded it I forgot about it for a while. I decided to finally watch it because I needed HD space. Ordinarily if I have something rare that I like I’ll keep it just to not loose it, but this movie I was glad to delete.

Crusher Joe had some of the makings of a great, fun-filled action romp but fell totally fucking short. It could never decide if it wanted to be a fun action movie or a sci-fi epic and got way too confused in the mid-ground. This problem is kind of similar to how the end of Project A-Ko suddenly got into an awkward pace when A-ko and friends were taken off-screen for a needless aerial battle. Only through the whole fucking movie. Crusher Joe has a cast of very shallow but like able characters but does very little to develop any of them and in fact is weekend harshly by it’s lack of focus on the characters’ personalities. You get the sense that anyone could have been the stars of this movie and it would have gone the same way – the characters were bricks thrown along with the plot.

Since so much of the focus goes to the plot, you’d then think they’d get this right, but it’s very ham-handed. Lost somewhere between a pulp, a military sci-fi, and an adventure, the plot isn’t light enough to put focus on action and isn’t heavy enough to draw you into it. The dialog just feels like meandering in shallow water between fight scenes, and way more often than ought to be acceptable. As a result, the plot twists and major events aren’t surprising in the slightest and elicit no reaction.

The film isn’t totally without it’s merits, though. For starters, there was some very excellent use of old-school special effects at parts that brought a smile to my face. In addition, the fight scenes were all pretty good. The aerial battles were pretty standard fare and I kind of zoned out through them (I’ve never like aerial battles) but the gunfights and other ground combat was excellent while it lasted. There were also plenty of good ‘ol explosions. In this aspect, though, it still has nothing on fellow classics like A-ko and therefor comes out as unmemorable.

As a result of the bad pacing, the movie had way too many scenes that felt like they should have been the ending. Had the movie been something like 45 minutes shorter it could have been marked as a flawed but fun shoot-em-up at a clean 7, but the added length shot those chances to a clean 6 and something I’ll never likely watch again.