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Anime Review

Gunbuster 1 & 2

Story 9/10 – Both Gunbuster’s kinda follow one another. Though each season has a different set of characters and since technically the first season ended, the second one had a new beginning. They say it’s recommended to watch the first Gunbuster that came out in 1988, but I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary. Though it would explain the ending of the second season of Gunbuster rather effectively. I have to say that it is inefficient for me to combine 1 and 2 together since I feel the story of the first season made more sense, had more of an overflow and was just ‘better’. As it goes, it’s in the early 21st century, insectoid organisms are invading the galaxy, searching for new stars to house their young. Mankind’s only defense lies with space cadets. The daughter of a celebrated admiral killed in battle, with their skill and the power of the mecha known as GunBuster, they must help fight to protect the galaxy from total annihilation. Sounds dramatic and intense right? Well that’s the overall story of the first season.

Now the second season is about Nono, a clumsy young girl living in the backwater countryside of Mars, dreams of becoming a space pilot. But when Nono witnesses a real space pilot called Topless, and her brutal fight with one of the invading space monsters, she discovers that it may not be so easy. With guts and effort her only recourse is to fight back against hordes of space monsters.

If you are familiar with Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, who are the makers of Gunbuster, it has the same plot. The universe is in danger and the people of the milky way galaxy on a planet called Earth save it…..in a very HUGE battle that breaks the laws of physics and reality. Now I feel I’m giving this show a little more credit than it’s worth. 9 is pretty much saying it’s good, but it’s very original and ridiculous. But coming from the late 80’s so it’s creative in its own way.

Characters 9.5/10 – The story isn’t anything new, but the characters were. In the first season, the daughter/main character and her “rival/ally” was commendable. What is nice about the first season of Gunbuster is they explain and thoroughly detail the difficulty, hardship, and work that is involved in dealing with a mech. I truly enjoyed the characters as they felt…real? They were mature, held responsible for the safety of the galaxy, but yet childish since they were still teenagers.

Animation 9/10 – The first most important detail to take here is that the first season was released in 1988, the same time as Akira, which was a movie. They both have a huge resemblance to each other, that’s how superb Gunbuster was. Sure it’s not like today’s, but if it is a problem such as it’s too ‘old’ then I would encourage to throw those feelings out the window for this series. The second season was magnificent as well. Again, similar to Gurren Lagann, the explosions, action scenes, was well implemented. Part of enjoying both Gunbuster’s is the animation, nothing to disregard on that category. My only complaint would  be the CGI. It just looked too CGI for it to look good, but thank god they didn’t use much of it.

Overall 9.25/10 – I started to watch the second season first since I dislike the old fashioned style of anime of the 80’s to the mid 90’s. I was warned to watch the first season first and I decided to give it a shot. Boy was I glad I did. The first season was magnificent and only made the second season much better to enjoy. This is one of the few shows that takes the imagination of space to a new level. The first Gunbuster strongly reflected on the concept of space travel and it’s effect on time. Very fun stuff, the second season was strong on the human ability to colonize and travel around the solar system. As a huge fan of astronomy and the idea of space travel, it all just added to the enjoyment of the show for me. Now this show is pretty serious, barely no humor can be gathered from both Gunbuster’s, but at the same time it is RIDICULOUS! So just a heads up. Laws will be broken and perhaps a few “pfff’s” or “yea right’s” will happen. I can’t go much on about the series since their is only 12 episodes altogether, but ALOT does happen! Highly recommend.

Side note: This anime has 3 names in total: Aim for the top! and Diebuster are also the same anime.


K-On!

Story 7.5/10 It’s simple, which is a good thing. Basically, there isn’t much of anything to expect as K-On! gets to the point. As in every anime that involves the daily life at high school, plenty of school clubs are doing their best to recruit new members. Then Yui, the clutsy, “stupid” character can’t decide which club t go to. However, when she accidentally signs up to join the light music club, she decides to become a guitarist. There’s just one problem: she’s never played the guitar before in her life. So it’s unique that she learned to play it and everyone else (including her younger sister) to know how to play the guitar well. K-On! Lacked much on the learning aspect of playing an instrument all together. As she meets up with new friends, her and the band aim for the bokugan, a show or competition bands go to.

Animation 8.5/10 It’s your typical 2005 and up type of animation. Such as Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Clannad, etc. but this is good. The only difference from the other shows is the way the facial expressions on the characters faces are portrayed for certain events, making the characters ‘cuter’ and laughable. My personal favorite would be the repeated drawn circle on the eyes as some sort of fluster feeling or perhaps when they feel oblivious to what is going on (which happens quite a bit). The last important bit is the way the music the band plays goes very well with the animation, drums hitting where the drum at the right time feeling like they really are playing a song.

Characters 6.5/10 All the characters were ‘lovable’. Of course they each had their unique perk, reaction, and all that jazz. You have the sane normal girl (Mio Akiyama) who plays the bass and tries to get her friends to act accordingly. The rich, blonde girl Tsumugi Kotobuki, who instead of acts like a stubborn, spoiled brat is innocent and forgiving. The crazy and misorganized Ritsu Tainaka who happens to be the manager of the band. Last but not least, the protagonist of the show Yui Hirasawa. In some shows we determine what kind of personality the character has; how they react to situations. This show tried not to have the characters overreact too much, so it feels more realistic and not so absurd to make it more funny or dramatic. I hate shows where the character exaggerates to the problem making it bigger problem than it should be. I know it’s hard to mix a character’s personality to more than just one particular category, but it’s the same pretty much through any other anime based off a group of friends. Same personality quirk, different face. It tends to get ‘boring’ sometimes.

Overall 7.25/10 I wasn’t hooked like I wanted to be. I’ve seen and heard remarkable reviews for this show. It’s everywhere in the anime world, like the next Haruhi. From all this hype comes disappointment. I did laugh a couple times and it was a relaxing show, but that was it. Through the last half of the show I thought to myself “there is potential”. There is a second season called K-On!! (with two ! instead of one) and hoping they fixed the problem the first season had. Now it doesn’t sound professional to not exactly know what is missing or how it could be better, but I know it can be done. If you feel the need to watch a semi-comedic, not over-the-top ridiculous, relaxing show, then K-On! is for you.


Eden of the East

Story 9.5/10 – The story was well written. It keeps the viewers intrigued on how the story unfolds as old questions are answered and new questions arise. Feeling like a Bourne movie where the protagonist, Akira, has lost his memory. He has a history

eh!?

that made him widely known as that “special someone”. So the story goes…It’s held in the year 2010, on a day called ‘Careless Monday’. Ten missiles hit the cities of Japan and oddly, there are no casualties and the event quickly fades from public memory. Akiraholds a phone credited with 8 billion electronic yen and a female voice on the other end called Juiz who will fulfill his every wish. Having no recollection of his past and calling himself ‘Akira Takizawa’, the young man accompanies Saki back to Japan in the hopes of discovering who he is. Akira’s enigma quickly proves fascinating and Saki decides to help him rather than reunite with her family; but what neither realizes is that Akira is embroiled in a dark game of life and death linked to the Careless Monday missiles.

Animation 9.5/10 – It was obvious that their was funds available for this series. CGI was common and didn’t look too terrible. The rest was top-notch. Ran smooth and looked good. The landscapes, buildings, cars, and all other things not to be ignored.

Characters 9/10 – I had trouble deciding what score this category deserves. No one really felt “stupid” in the show, which is a problem in most shows these days, so that’s a plus. The Protagonist’s development reveals a fascinating duality in his personality as being very likable, but

hard to know if he should be liked. His whimsical nature belies an underlying quick mind and a surprising level of gravity, the unnerving themes of misfortune he may have put onto others is a definite plus in the show.

Everyone else who gets involved in the show, sort of just shows up with no real character development. The good news is that the supporting cast, being ordinary people with ordinary problems, generally behave within the familiar boundaries of reason. While that sounds like it wouldn’t be a problem, with the events and story that occurs in Eden of the East, it seems out-of-place. It’s like people running around aimlessly, like zombies,

Shoot those missles

headless zombies, with no legs. At some point, I began to get a little annoyed watching Saki mope after Akira, worrying about his terrible secrets without being able to help uncover them. Her behaviour is always understandable, of course, but also off-putting for being redundant.

As far as the antagonists go, I don’t see a real problem, except who the true antagonist is, which is conveyed in the last few episodes of the show. Of course, there is the other people with the phone with 10 billion dollars, can make anything happen, and use that power for “bad” things, and feel as though they are the antagonists. They aren’t. My guess is Mr. Outside, the creator of this ‘game’. It’s hard to explain and don’t want to spoil too much.

Yes, that is indeed a robotic walking bear

Overall 9.25/10 – It was definitely a good show. I had not set my expectations high nor did I have a clue what I was in for, but it turned out for the better. I was undoubtingly interested throughout the whole show, wanted to keep watching more to get the questions answered. The biggest disappointment would be the ending and I would add that onto here, but I can’t because it’s not over yet. Not much later after air release, they made a movie that continues where the last episode left off. I also heard that the ending of the first movie ends more abruptly than the series did. Thank god theirs a second movie coming out to fulfill our disappointment. Then again, following the trend it may not end there and a third movie may be in production. Anyways, highly recommended, especially for those who enjoy the Bourne series.


Ponyo

Story 7.5/10 – The story is a little odd and hard to explain, but I’ll do my best! Ponyo is a goldfish who lives in the sea, and has an over-protective magician for a father. Soon Ponyo runs away from home and is rescued by a five-year-old boy named Sosuke. As she wants nothing more than to understand what it’s like to be a human being, Ponyo uses magic to transform into a human girl, and the two begin to form a special bond. However, this magic results in drastic consequences, and one final test stands in Ponyo’s way before she can truly be human. Can Ponyo fulfill her dream, or is she destined to return to the sea. Got it? It’s a fully on classic feel that Miyazaki films always achieve. They contain a moral, fantasy based idea into the real world. Such as in this, the humans are destroying the oceans, therefore do something about it or some goldfish with a face will come and do…… stuff!

Animation 9/10 – It’s fresh, it’s smooth, it’s beautiful. The only problem I had is there were times when the show’s frame rates dropped and looked very laggy. The times where it wasn’t were absolutely stunning. The show was very cute and family oriented due to the way Miyazaki’s team portrayed the backgrounds and the characters facial expressions. It seems odd that being one of his latest films, would contain little to no 3D generated effects. Perhaps technology is not in favor because he feels that animation literally means pencil and paper. This is just a guess, but I can see where Miyazaki is coming from. This way does feel more natural and in place than having a obviously computer generated car moving across a background that isn’t 3D draws attention away from everything  else too much.

Characters 10/10 – This show has little to very few number of characters. Out of the few I found the mother of Sosuke to be the most entertaining and sadly, the most humorous. Ponyo of course was the main attraction, was very cute, innocent and inspiring, but wasn’t my favorite. It seemed the behaviors matched what would happen in real life according to their age and living standards. The mother’s reactions felt the most real at times, the most ridiculous. Such as

Sosuke: Mom Ponyo WAS a goldfish

Mother : Oh…..? Who’s Hungry?

Which I know is a very abnormal response for the situation, but at the same time had that motherly answer to it.

Overall 8.5/10 – I’ve seen almost all of Miyazaki’s films. They all have some sort of moral quality to his films. Don’t judge people, don’t pollute, be courteous to others etc. Ponyo is no different and perhaps the reason why it’s so good. Since Miyazaki’s fims are so popular and successful, why change the movie? Make more of the same. It’s okay because it’s creative. Every movie of his has a beautifully creative fantasy world or concept that everyone can jump right into. While this isn’t my favorite film that he has made, it’s not as bad as I was once  told. Most of my friends disliked the movie more so than any other Miyazaki film to date. It is true that this movie is more childish and less oriented towards adults,  but it’s definitely a family film. You could say it is an anime version of a Disney movie. In the end I would say, go see it for yourself. The ending was a little abrupt and disappointing, but it’s not enough of a reason to back away from something so very….unique.


Clannad Review

Story 9.5/10Similar to Kanon, which probably doesn’t help much, is focused on the life of a guy named Tomoya Okazaki. He is a third-year high school student who is generally bored with life and doesn’t take his studies, future, or anything else seriously. One day, however, he meets a lonely-looking girl in the school courtyard, Nagisa Furukawa. She explains to him the source of her loneliness: she had missed a lot of the previous school year and thus is repeating her third year; everybody that she knew has already graduated, and she is lonely. Tomoya is rather indifferent at first, but decides that he has nothing better to do and spends increasingly more time helping Nagisa restore the school drama club. As his relationship with Nagisa grows, Tomoya begins to open up to various other people around the school as well…thus begins the harem as every new person he meets happens to be  a girl.

Animation 9/10 Most of Kyoto’s work is work I can really appreciate. I feel that their work has evolved animes visuals in the past couple of years. It looks stunning and you can see it took much time and effort for it all to work together as well as it does. There’s not much else to ramble about when it comes to animation unless it just plain sucks. Ok that’s not true, it’s all based off opinion so I shouldn’t be making a statement of fact.

Characters 9/10I thoroughly enjoyed Kanon purely because of the main characters witty behavior. Sometimes I wish I had the ability to say something or act totally random, but in a manner that didn’t make me look like a tard. Well the same goes with Clannad. Tomoya has the unique ability to become friends with any girl he encounters due to the his remarks he spits out every now and then. Also not to mention, the father of Nagisa, which comes down to nothing but humor. As for the other characters, theirs the girl obsessed friend, the crazy girl, the innocent, the genius, the strong yet sensitive, and the “normal”  (whatever that means). It all works out in the end though as each person is felt through the entire show, especially Nagisa. It helps much to have a show where there isn’t a person you dislike or find annoying. As for me, I didn’t have that problem.

Overall 9.25/10Kyoto animation has been getting quite popular over the years. They have been involved in titles such as Full Metal Panic!, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kanon, K-On, Air, and Lucky Star. Since my first experience with Full Metal Panic! some two years ago, I’ve found myself continually impressed with Kyoto Animation’s visual novel adaptations. Although, this isn’t always the case. Air was called for being amazing, superb, a new generation of anime. After much hype, I thought “this is going to be the best anime ever!” Turned out to be one of the worst shows I’ve ever seen behind Yumeria, which is saying a lot! The story made no sense, the characters made no sense, the sense made no sense. But this isn’t Air, this is a show that is currently my number one favorite anime of all time (for now). A definite must see for those who need a show to watch to calm the mind and need a good laugh every now and then.