Archive for January, 2013

great anime

January 11, 2013

i’ve just gotta start a list
to keep track of the stunning
thought provoking shows i’ve been
amassing recently, and some of those
provocative thoughts, or reservations
about them.

this particular (semi-anonymous) blog
is probably my most appropriate venue
for these recommendations, since
some of them promote almost ridiculous
amounts of adolescent perversion
and excessively violent bloody gore.

i’m gonna skip over miyazaki here,
though he most certainly deserves
a post entirely dedicated to his oeuvre
at some point.

here, i will stick to serialized programs.
(do they really allow this stuff on tv in japan?)
[actually, i’m not even gonna talk about queen’s blade
though it does have nice character diversity, development
and mythos]

—-

DARKER THAN BLACK

this one really takes my top prize,
partly because it is well-encapsulated,
building and resolving intriguing plot tension
over each of the two series.
(though the world mythos presented is pretty obscure
at the beginning and only becomes clear later)
rather than being heavy-handed,
the treatment of the archetypes of
the contractors and the dolls
is increasingly sophisticated
and the development of yin’s personality
through the inter-season ovas
and in the second season provides
great narrative tension and
deep psychological intensity.

STEIN’S GATE

who the hell is stein?
and while the time-travel paradox
might quickly seem already played out,
the repetitions actually develop
this incredible poignancy,
and the eventual resolution
gives this series a sense of satisfaction
that a lot of the other ongoing serials lack.

BLEACH

contra DARKER THAN BLACK,
this mythos starts out so great,
with all the various characters introduced,
but the real failure here
is taking Rukia from a super-cool bad-ass chick
to a typical western damsel in distress.
i still loved the first 3-4 seasons,
but not sure if i care to keep watching
them grating on each other’s nerves anymore.

COWBOY BEBOP

nice concise arc,
praiseworthy just for its stylish illustration
and slick soundtrack,
and though the narrative seems almost random at times,
i actually really liked how it seems like
half their missions end in failure,
and they’re always short on cash.

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST

at times too sentimental,
but great world mythos of
semi-magical industrialization,
seems some ‘best of’ sites
list the second series ‘brotherhood’,
but since i really enjoyed the first series
i’m still struggling to get through
the repetitiveness of the second
until its plot supposedly diverges.

XXXHOLIC

screwed around alot with my expectations
in terms of psychedelic hyper-sexuality
or childish cutsy silliness
but while watanabe’s (sp?) whining
got increasingly annoying
pretty much everything else
including the ridiculous psuedo-philosophizing
grew ever more satisfying.

some non-recommendations:
NARUTO: just couldn’t get into it.
while stereotypes portray asians
as very community biased, there is an obsession
with the archetype of ‘journey to the west’s
monkey king who was a self-centered spoiled lil brat,
and while naruto has his reasons for being asocial,
it still reads as that sort of selfish rebellion to me.
ONE PIECE: same thing. while the assortment of
ridiculous characters made this semi-tempting
the general gist seemed to be a selfish power lust
that i just found kind of tiresome.

SEX AND VIOLENCE:
oh so many reasons that
these 2 might turn the average viewer off,
but they also have so many eloquent moments.

RIN DAUGHTERS OF MNEMOSYNE
sick perverted world view
builds great dramatic scenes
with ornate visuals
and charming characters too.

ELFENLIED
same thing,
and the coastal setting
really makes me want to move
to japan.

OTHER HORROR?
ANOTHER: too bad it’s so hard to google such a generic name.
and i think i might have gotten a lil lost at the end,
but probably was a nice twist, and fun tension building
all the way through.

GANTZ: like ‘stein’ i really still want to know
where did the name come from
and i was really disappointed that
the series didn’t offer more answers
to the particular mythos created
but i have to agree with another reviewer
that it’s like sartre’s ‘no exit’ on crack
and that enough makes it worth a see.

MERMAID FOREST: cool classic style anime graphics
and sick twist on what might seem a sacchrine topic,
i loved the surprise twist at the end of the first episode
though i still don’t understand why she was old and rotting
if she ate the immortalizing flesh of the mermaids.

semi-interesting to compare the following two
since they respectively invert gender age gap mentoring,
while also both just touching
on an unfortunately undeveloped issue
of racial self-betrayal.

(weak?) HELLSING: mostly vapid vampire mythos
with comical euro-religious references
master-mentor soft-core perversion
and would-be stylish gun fetishism.

(gets better?) CLAYMORE: like xxxholic
little boy rocky’s whining makes many early episodes
overly sentimentally annoying,
but as the pantheon of the claymores develops
within the complex of organization’s amorality
and the semi-orgasmic metaphors of awakening,
it seems to gain momentum.

CONCLUSION

this post still has focused a bit much on particulars
and still hasn’t said a whole lot about what i think
these shows have shown me about japan’s deep insight
into the post-war conflict between individuality and
communalism, agency, passivity, conformity,
power, perversion, violence, etc.
but like miyazaki’s work, i’ll just have to have
save that for some other post.