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Z.O.E Dolores, i (2001)
An under-appreciated gem - Gundam meets Policenauts
Who would have expected that an under-appreciated mech action franchise on the PS2 would spawn an equally as under-appreciated anime series? Zone of the Enders: Dolores I (or "DOLORES I" for short) may be a Gundam "clone" with a few twists and a preference for hard science-fiction, but it is also a fun and funny anime that doesn't require any previous knowledge of the series in order to enjoy. Its creators were apparently aware that they couldn't surpass the success of other more prestigious series in the genre, so they've instead opted for a more tongue-and-cheek approach.
The series takes place in 2172, around the same time that the events of the first Zone of the Enders game and five years after the events of Zone of the Enders: 2167 IDOLO, a rather bland prequel OAV that you don't even need to watch to enjoy the series. The story centers around James Links, a fifty-year old estranged father who lives as a space cargo transporter between Mars and Earth. He's also a big loser who drinks too much and is regarded as a embarrassment by his own children. But this all changes when he's given the task of delivering a strange cargo, which contains a rather unusual "Orbital Frame" (ZOE equivalent of Mobile Suits), the titular mech character Dolores. To James's surprise, it is equipped with a sentient AI that behaves like a whiny teenager girl and considers him to be his uncle. This and other evidence contained in Dolores lead James Links to suspect that his reportedly dead ex-wife is still alive and well on Mars. During the series, he reconnects with his children, Leon and Noel, and convinces them to help him in discovering the truth behind Dolores while preventing her from falling in wrong hands. Interestingly enough, for once the main protagonist is NOT a ridiculously talented angsty teenager, nor is he particularly good at piloting, so he must rely on Dolores for the fighting.
As you can see, the plot itself is not exactly original but it delivers. For the most part, it is rather serious and dramatic (and even a bit corny), especially towards the end, but most characters are not. This makes for a nice blend of comedy and action with its share of sci-fi references and parodies, ranging from Gundam (of course) and Macross to 2001, Total Recall, Star Trek, Star Wars, Starship Troopers, Die Hard (not a sci-fi flick, I know), and even, believe it or not, Hideo Kojima's japan-only adventure game Policenauts. Compared to most shounen animes, the series runs only for 26 episodes, which it's a good thing because there are no filler episodes and all loose ends are tied up nicely by the rather satisfying ending.
Of course, it is not perfect. Despite being animated by Sunrise, the very same studios than the Gundam series, the animation is a mixed bag, particularly in the first episodes. The mechs themselves are incredibly animated for the most part, especially considering their complex designs, but the character designs and animation leave a bit to be desired. Still, it's not too bad either, and the series thankfully doesn't rely on reused shots like, say, Gundam SEED. On the other hand, the music is memorable, and so is the voice acting in both languages, surprisingly enough. Still, as always, I recommend watching it in Japanese with subtitles.
The saddest thing about this series is that it doesn't seem to be well-known even among mecha anime fans. It is truly a shame. Heck, as someone who's never been too fond of the genre, it may be the only mecha anime I truly dug so far. The first time I watched the series, I was totally sucked in, and each episode left me with a huge smile.
In any case, I highly recommend it to fans and non-fans alike.
Les Boys II (1998)
The Ultimate "Les Boys" movie!
The first "Les Boys" was a funny movie with great actors, but a bit predictable and kinda clichéd plot in the end. Overall, an okay movie, still better than the third one, but definitely not as good as "Les Boys II"!
Now, "Les Boys" reloads for a second installment and it's for the best! Following the death of one of their teammates, the Boys go in France for a hockey championship. But instead of success and fame, they'll find mostly... trouble. Honestly, this is the best movie of the trilogy. The interaction between the Boys and the french people are absolutely hilarious and the casting is at his best. Almost every character from the first movie are back plus a new recruit, Sylvain (Martin Petit), and some great french protagonists such as the hysteric coach of the french team, Laurent (Daniel Russo).
With a fun plot, excellent jokes and memorable on-liners, "Les Boys II" is a must-see. Congrulations, Mr. Saïa!
Too bad... it's bad!
When I saw the trailer, I thought it was going to be some kind of anti-Jack Carter. Instead of a cool, seductive private detective who always succeed in some complex investigations, we got two losers wannabe detectives, the clumsy Bob Marlow (Claude Meunier) and the has-been cop James Bonin (Gilbert Sicotte), who have to deal with truly cheap investigations, like trying to catch a petty thief in a supermarket.
I must say the premise is very interesting. It was supposed to be funny and dramatic at the same time. So, naturally, I was hoping for something great or at least watchable.
In fact, the show is somewhere between "watchable" and "boring". There are indeed some good parts in the show, like those with Michel Charrette and Remy Girard. Two great actors that can easily make you laugh. Gilbert Sicotte too manages to be funny, even if he's not really a comedian.
What's truly ruined the show to me is Claude Meunier. He's probably a good scriptwriter, but a truly annoying actor. He was good as "Popa" in "La Petite Vie", but in Détect. Inc., he seems to be a fusion of his character of Mr. Pepsi in Pepsi Ads and Ding guy in Ding & Dong. He looks absolutely silly in his role, but not the way it was supposed to be. There is also Diane Lavallée's character, Madonna, a female godfather, who really doesn't bring anything interesting to the show, but at least, it seems that she never shows herself very often. Hopefully.
Overall, another "could-have-been good" product from Claude Meunier that unfortunately didn't manage to gain as much success that "La Petite Vie".
As I post this comment, the show is still running, but I doubt it would get any better by the future.
This movie just doesn't make any sense
This movie isn't the worst DBZ movie ever, but absolutely not the best either.
The story started up okay. It's about an evil doctor named Wheelo who wants to put his highly-advanced brain in the most powerful body in the world (the world's strongest, duh). So, he sends his assistant, Dr. Cochrin, or whatever his real name is, and a bunch of "saibamen-like" henchmen to capture what he thinks to be the world's strongest, Master Roshi. Then, Gohan, Goku and Krillin come to the rescue and yada yada.
The main problem of this movie is actually what should be the main interest of it: the fights. In fact, there is too many incoherences in those. For example, Roshi fights Wheelo's biowarriors and don't seem to have any problem in doing it. On the other side, Goku, who is a LOT stronger than Roshi, couldn't do it without Kaioken. Such a nonsense! Also, why in the world Wheelo wants to put his brain in Roshi's body if his super cyborg-like form is so powerful? There's a lot of people who think that Lord Slug is one of the worst DBZ movie ever made. I don't. At least, fighting scenes in Lord Slug make sense! And it has a TRUE villain, not some kind of giant self-underestimating cyborg who sounds like Darth Vader.
But at least, World's strongest do have some serious fights scenes and a decent story if we put aside the incoherence. So, I guess this movie is not THAT bad. Oh, and it's still better than "Return of Broly".