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Shingeki no kyojin (2013)
Incredible anime that was marketed towards the wrong audience
Attack on Titan is a shonon anime where humanity has been almost wiped out by titans, which look like giant deformed humans with no genitals or digestive organs, who require no food, and seem to only want to kill all humans, simply for the sake of killing them. Humanity has survived by building three giant circular walls around them. The story follows Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman and (although less important) Armin Arlet, who become soldiers after the outter wall is breached suddenly by a giant 60m titan (they usually don't go higher then 15m) who kicks the gate open, and a armoured titan, who destroys the safety gate, causing the outter ring to be lost. It appears the anime's only confirmed season will cross the first three arcs, also known as the Beginning arc, the defence of the Trost District and the Female Titan arc.
The anime is a nearly direct adaption (as of episode 22) with almost every scene being exactly the same as the manga, or they will show minor additions which all add to the story.
The art and animation of Attack on Titan is incredible, with extremely good animation for the fight scenes, and unique ultra thick outlines on characters. However as the series has progressed, the signs of budget issues HAS been obvious, although it is usually done in ways that impact very little to the overall quality of the show. The show also heavily relies on CGI. This works well in some points, such as the town and forest fight scenes, but looks awful at other points, such as the horses extremely poor animation.
The writing of the story is average, but not great. Characters while realistic, are not explored much. Ironically, right after they are likely to finish the anime, multiple characters get major character development, but that sadly wont happen (unless we get a second season). All the characters are interesting and likable in some way, except for the main character Eren, who seems perpetually angry with no character development at all (this is true so far in the manga as well). Most characters get 'some' character development, but not much.
While the writing is average, it is made up for by the incredible atmosphere of the anime, something the manga lacked. They did an incredible job conveying a sense of hopelessness and despair. It is helped by the fact that the anime does not mind killing off characters, although there has been a select group of characters who are always immortal; strange they don't get much air time. (Until ironically, as with most things, right after the anime is likely to finish)
The music is, to put it bluntly, the best I have ever seen. It is the most fitting and powerful soundtrack I have ever seen, of any time of media, whether it be TV show, movie, anime, radio show or video game. The openings are simply magnificent, the closings are not as good, but they only seem bad mostly because the openings are so good. Voice acting is great all round, not much to say about that.
Finally, if you saw the opening and thought "This is going to be a great action focused anime!" you are dead wrong. There is very little air time spent on fight scenes. Much of it is talking, which really helps the atmosphere, but will leave action loving anime watchers disappointed. This is not like Naruto, where there is a lot of talking, but still a good amount of fighting. This is where you can go 4-6 episodes without any combat at all. This is not due to filler, and due to following the manga nearly word for word.
If you want an anime that does an incredible job at conveying atmosphere with lots of talking and drama, you will enjoy this great anime immensely. If you want an anime is lots of great fight scenes; as good as they are, there simply is not enough for you to enjoy this anime.
Kore wa zonbi desu ka? (2011)
A funny anime with an...interesting premise.
"I'm am well aware of the ridiculousness of the situation"
Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka, or "Is This a Zombie?" has a very strange premise, that consistently mocks how silly it is. Which is half the point really.
The base premise is a High School student is killed by a murderer by being stabbed with a katana, and is resurrected by a Necromancer as a zombie which is only a zombie in name. Basically, it means he is weak to the sun, cannot be killed in any way (although its assumed disintegrating his body might work) and can release the barriers of the human mind in order to make himself super strong. Soon, a Masou Shoujo shows up, a pun of Mahou Shoujo, meaning Magical Girl, and accidentally turns the zombie into a cross-dressing magical zombie. He soon gathers himself a himself a respectably sized harem and goes to fight demons.
No really, that is the legit plot; that is entirely the point. The anime revels in how silly the situation for the most part, but eventually spends a few episodes on a far more serious arc which honestly, was the worst part. The anime does not succeed in being serious, but is brilliant when it is being over the top, insane and loaded with fan service. (Guess how many times the Masou Shoujo gets up skirted or a panty shot or goes naked in the first episode)
It really felt like the writers didn't know what made the anime so enjoyable for the majority of the anime and actually thought the plot or characters were good and well written. (So many cliché Tsundere's)
In terms of soundtrack, its fairly mediocre, with a pretty boring opening and closing. Animation is alright, nothing amazing, (except on the incredible animation of those highly detailed panty shots) but totally acceptable for whats going on.
The final episode is a strange one however, as it is basically an episode about shoving as much fan service into an episode as physically possible, and after it JUST ended a dramatic and serious arc, its quite bewildering.
Regardless, an enjoyable anime that I would recommend if you just want a silly time and some fun, but don't expect good characters or plot. That is nowhere to be found here.
Kôkaku Kidôtai (1995)
An interesting philosophical aspect ruined by a mediocre anime
Before I start this review, remember I DID watch the subbed version, I did not watch the supposedly inferior English dub with supposedly worse dialogue and voice acting.
Right off I get what is good at of the way. The action, as sparse as it was (About 4 violent scenes that last about 2 minutes each max), is amazing. The opening is one of the coolest scenes I have ever seen. The anime is incredibly well animated, and the character designs are fantastic.
However, the anime has a multitude of problems in its writing. Characters are poorly written, and overly blunt. Ironically, this makes them seem almost robotic. The main character is a great example of this. She has a fitting voice actor choice, but has so poor dialogue it doesn't even matter if she is well voiced or not. It also helps that the lack of emotion in the main character (which is clearly intentional with her character design) would likely be pretty easy to voice act.
Many of the scenes drag at far longer then they should, surprising in such a short movie, and fail to convey the philosophical discussion with any kind of subtly. The important scenes that drive the plot however seem to go so fast (and their not action scenes) that its like they made them last and ran out of budget right before beginning them. Then there is the random scenes with the amazing music showing stills of the cyberpunk world. While the music here was awesome, it seems the only reasons for their existence was to A. Extend the anime long enough to be considered a movie and B. Force feed you that this is an "Artsy" anime that's trying to be deep and meaningful, something it fails at both.
The ending is the worst part in a fairly boring anime. While it ends after an extremely awesome scene, it feels like its has been setting up the anime for an interesting plot twist...only to execute it so badly and explain so little that it feels like that it wasn't even the twist and that actual twist will be reveal in 5-15 minutes...at which point the movie ends. And I am left stunned that this anime was ever considered a masterpiece. Especially since so little actually happened. I could explain the entire plot in three sentences without skimping on details. (Which I don't of course since putting spoilers in a review ruins the point of writing one)
The poor writing and pacing of the story, and the way it tries to force feed the philosophical nature of the movie's themes causes the movie to be an utter disappointment and laborious experience. Its like they thought "We want to make a movie with philosophical themes, but we don't want to write a good story" causing it to feel like 'Babbies first philosophical movie' instead of 'Interesting and complex cyberpunk movie with philosophical undertones' like it should have been.