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The Legend of Korra (2012)
The hype is undeserved
This series started with a lot of potential. Do not assume this negative review comes from someone who can't "cope" with how different this series is from its predecessor. I was prepared for a different world and new themes. But, unfortunately, this series fell way short (at least at this point where season 1 has finished).
We are left with characters who do little to grow, a plot which ends up confused and hanging more than reaching a true climax and resolution, and some of the most tacked-on romance I have ever witnessed. The storywriting was just so weak and each episode did little to remedy it. Would you like a better understanding of how Korra has difficulty with spirituality and air bending? Would you like to really see why? Sorry, we'll dedicate a few episodes to professional bending which will do little to expand on the overall story or its characters at all. I won't present spoilers, but it's clear how much time is wasted on a very obvious and lazy romantic pairing early on. At first I thought Bryke were just messing with the fans who are obsessed with "shipping", but no, it was serious. The question is, how do these kids even have a chance to fall deeply in love with each other so quickly when there's so little going on with their personalities to make them have a true "presence"? Amon, as a villain, seemed a redeeming area. The conflict of benders and nonbenders. And yet, the depth that could have gone into the issue was absent. Hell, everyone's parent(s) died because of some random firebender. Yeah, OK. That's a bit of a cop out if I've ever seen one.
By the end, the serious questions that should be gripping the main characters are there but they seem so much shallower than they should be. Not to create spoilers by being specific, but it's as though the ending stayed in that kiddy pool while trying to pretend it deserved to become an Olympic swimmer.
I'm not a young, insane fan. I like a good storyline and I can recognize one. It's not even a matter of opinion, this story with so much potential just fell short. I'd blame it on the shorter 12 episode length versus the 20 of season one of TLA, but Book 1 of TLA would have been a stronger story with bolder characters even if you removed the eight most filler-like episodes within it. I just don't know where the magic died... perhaps because Aaron Ehasz wasn't writing? Seems like he had a lot of the best ideas for the first series.
I hope it finds its footing in season two, but for now I'm a pretty disappointed viewer.
Noein: Mô hitori no kimi he (2005)
One of the most creative anime of the 21st century.
GONZO did it again! Noein, which was created following the success of GONZO's retelling of Gankutsuou, is a truly mind-altering experience. Kazuki Akane is the creator, he is well-known for his directorial work on the brilliant Vision of Escaflowne series.
Noein is a beautiful series. The plot leans heavily upon principles of Quantum Physics. There are billions of versions of yourself in alternate dimensions. Haruka, a tween girl, finds herself pulled into a battle between the dimensions of Shangrila and Lacryma as Shangrila pursues the destruction of all existence and Lacryma tries to stop them. The key to this is the Dragon's Torque and it is Haruka's good fortune to find out that she's it. Emotions run high as characters meet future alternate versions of themselves as well as confronting images of themselves in the past.
I just can't hype this series enough. The music is beautiful... running from heavy chants for the battle scenes to light-hearted music for the children in the present day scenes. GONZO also pushed their animation to make some of the battles almost completely RAW in how the line work is animated. The characters are interesting in their realism in such unfortunate circumstances... but good as GONZO is, they always have that one blonde crazy guy like usual to entertain the viewer.
If you liked Gankutsuou you will like Noein as well... get the first DVD, you won't be disappointed!
An AMAZING adaptation... in some ways better than the original novel.
I can scarcely put my love for this 24-episode anime series into words. "Gankutsuou" is a futuristic adaptation of Dumas' acclaimed novel "The Count of Monte Cristo". Famous anime director Mahiro Maeda shows just how much he loved the original novel and the character of the Count by being quite faithful to the mood while leaving his own fresh take on the story.
One of the most noticeable details about this series is an almost revolutionary method of animating. This series uses 2-D Texturing to an extreme level... giving hair unnatural textures and even everything in the background textures... in an insane color palette. It takes viewers and episode or two to get used to this style of texturing but over time it becomes something most fans love about the series.
One of the major changes in this anime is that the storyline is told from Albert's point-of-view for the majority of the series. This means everything that happens before the Château D'if comes in back-story. This also adds mystery to the Count's past and his character itself. Much of the cast is younger than in the novel, in classic anime fashion. Such as Albert is 15 instead of in his early twenties...but this makes his heightened innocence added into his anime persona more believable and his personal growth more endearing. There are other small character changes. Eugenie is greatly changed into a character that is actually of interest opposed to her novel version. Humoresly enough, according to the original promo for the series, she was indeed still quite similar to the book version in the first set up of the series... being quite close with her "lady friend".
And of course other major changes come with the new time and setting. Most of the series takes place in Paris but the year is 5053. So Paris is futuristic while also having touches of old such as the fashion and carriages and opera thrown in. And also we take the playing field out into space where Earth's warfare is mostly taking place in the future.
I honestly can't praise this series enough. I think the most important aspect of adaptations should be to get the tone of the novel right and to get the most rich, important characters accurate in personality. This series does this incredibly well. After appreciating the Count's character in the novel, the depth added from the anime only heightens my interest in him. This series is to be released in America soon so I personally suggest it as a buy to anyone who wants an anime with rich, involving plot and characters. Almost all of the storyline from the book is there, aside from an ending which is different but not a "hollywood ending" like the recent movie.
10 out of 10!
Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (2003)
Skeptical, but not really
Okay... so Penn and Teller are being skeptical... aha, but are they being skeptical about EVERYTHING? No. They are powerfully pushing their beliefs onto the viewing audience. I don't see them being skeptical about science, though science is often being proven as not having all of the answers right. It's not a fair show when they get a couple of yahoos as examples of why they think the subject is bulls***. Basically, being skeptical should not be as biased as it is presented here... it's amusing at times, but I cringe as they try so hard to disprove things that aren't necessarily 100% bulls***.
Oniisama e... (1991)
A thought provoking and extreme character-development anime...
This anime is one of my favorites. It takes place in an upper class girls' school. There, the Sorority rules over everyone and you are truly a chosen one if you are selected to get in. Our star, Nanako, despite her background, gets into the Sorority. This provokes everyone's inner turmoils to start brewing...
Shôjo kakumei Utena (1997)
The most surrealistic anime there is.
Utena is one of the most remarkable anime there is. It has beautiful animation, wonderful storyline, character development, humor, and one of the chief reasons that this show doesn't have as big a following as it deserves, it's extremely surrealistic. There can be a lot read into this show and metaphors run rampant. If you don't like such an odd show, definitely do not watch the movie. Now THAT is weird. ^^;;
The first and greatest of three Sailormoon movies made in Japan. This one is set right after the R series and is about Mamoru's friendship with an alien named Fiore, whom he met after his parents died in the car accident. Believe me, of all three this one is definitely worth watching!
Marmalade Boy (1994)
Yet another great anime!
This is another great anime to watch...Don't let the name fool you, this series isn't about a young jar of marmalade flying around and saving people...(snicker). It's a teen drama-comedy-action rolled into one! It starts off with a girl named Miki whose parents divorce and remarry another couple. The other couple has a son Miki's age, and the whole swarm of them live in one huge house. And much more happens past that.
Bishôjo senshi Sêrâ Mûn S (1994)
A very dramatic series...
S, of the five Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon series, is my 2nd favorite...(All you DiC fans, this series well NEVER be dubbed into English, so get over it. =P) This one has by far the best storyline, and it is the most dramatic and detailed series with few filler eps...It's chock full of great dialog also! If you like the outer senshi, this is the series for you...Dub fans, beware, because this series actually has a PLOT!