(C) Control

Aug. 3rd, 2011 10:45 pm
yeloson: (Default)
This is one of the most interesting, and fun anime series I've watched in a good while. I wouldn't have believed that a supernatural Pokemon-battle based on economic systems would be fun, but this actually is great.

Kimimaro, a struggling college student, gets sucked into the magical world known as "The Financial District" - where you put your future up as collateral for vast sums of money. The people who can access this place have magical ATM cards and are forced to battle each other, once a week, and gain money (or lose money) from the battles. That said, the show avoids the "fight of the week" trope, that it could have easily done, and instead skips most duels or cuts them short and comes back to look at the fallout of these duels.

Each "Entrepreneur" has a magical spirit, known as an "Asset" who fights alongside them. The Assets can use magical attacks which take money directly from the person's savings. Successful attacks cause the opponent to spew black money which looks a lot like blood the way it geysers forth, and that adds to the attacker's account.

If you're ever forced into bankruptcy, you are ejected from the Financial District, and then, since the money was "your future", reality rewrites itself to make your life wack and the lives of friends and family around you, also wack.

This actually solves one of the big questions that comes up- how do you have these massive influxes of money without screwing up the economy? And the answer is, reality is constantly rewriting itself around people who make money through this.

The story revolves around Kimimaro trying to figure out what's going on with all of this, while major groups in the world are attempting to game the system - either to simply make themselves rich, to improve society, or, at least, to reduce the negative reality re-writes that occur with massive wins/losses, that end up completely reshaping economies, and, countries.

Although it seems like it's about money, the show is actually a fun look at the literal question of "borrowing from the future" and what does it mean? How do you prioritize living life in the moment, as tomorrow is never guaranteed, vs. planning and making long term life choices?

There's only 11 episodes and it's up on Hulu. If you're up for something fun to watch that moves quickly, this is a great series.

Xam'd

Feb. 7th, 2011 10:24 pm
yeloson: (Default)
Why I love this anime- the moral of the series is "Manpain, get over it." without making the manpain the primary focus of the story.

Xam'd is an anime series about normal people caught up in crazy biowarfare... that manages to stay focused on the characters the whole way through. The premise seems like it could go into wack territory, and it manages to take every anime stereotype, then twist it on you.

The world is pretty much the modern world... except with airships. The story starts by following teenage kids - Akiyuki, Haru, and Furuichi, when they get caught up in terrorist biowarfare, and then bioweapon air-raids by the Northern Alliance.

Akiyuki is infected by a "Xam'd", which apparently turns people into monsters, and, over time, to stone. He gets rescued by Nakiami, a young woman who apparently understands this weird tech and is able to help him not turn to stone. Akiyuki is taken aboard a postal ship with Nakiami and the adventures really go from there.

What a normal anime would do, is either kill off Akiyuki's friends and family, or at least, forget all about them while the boy goes and does shonen things. This series, instead, continues to come back to them, deepening their relationships, showing how their lives go on, and not in some bullshit melodramatic way.

Same thing with the airship crew- you actually get to learn more and more about them, and they're all really damn interesting. My favorite is the ship's captain, Ishu, who's this badass sort of slovenly woman who is a hardass. And uses a bazooka as her weapon of choice. (She's also sexualized, which is kinda wack, but she has agency, which is generally about as good as anime is going to give you these days).

Akiyuki has one major plot going on, but he's far from being the sole protagonist- Nakiami and Haru both have really interesting prime storylines, and so many characters have great secondary storylines, Akiyuki really isn't the focus.

The animation is good throughout, and the story manages to keep throwing enough twists without falling back on the classic, "and now we'll toss in a WTF moment just because" kind of thing.

The other things- the storyline doesn't glorify war, there's call-outs on the wackness of racism, after the first few episodes you get some really awesome women-centric relationships, they manage to avoid sacrificial characters for cheap drama, lesbians who live to the end!, etc.

There IS a point with verbal threats about sexual abuse that are never followed through on.

Overall, this was a very awesome series 5/5.

Ghost Hound

Jan. 8th, 2011 08:23 pm
yeloson: (Default)
This series was very weird, but I enjoyed it.

Ghost Hound is an anime about supernatural occurrences in a small Japanese town up in the mountains. The best short description I can give is supernatural psychological suspense... maybe? There's weird spirits, there's unexplained supernatural stuff, and there's lots of small town corruption and drama.

The story follows 4 youth- Taro, Miyako, Makoto, and Masayuki.

Taro and his sister were kidnapped 11 years previous, and she died in the process. Taro's been haunted with nightmares and has been apparently having out of body experiences he thought were dreams as well.

Surprisingly, the series doesn't take the expected route and fall into the Abyss of Manpain- Taro's story is really about actually dealing with his grief and his care for his sister, but in a nuanced and interesting way- it's about growing and dealing with his experience and past.

The story follows the four kids as they get swept up in a combination of small town drama as they dig up their pasts, crazy supernatural stuff, and political games between the adults.

This anime does some things incredibly well.

First, the sound design is amazing. The first third of the series plays with sound in such a way that it makes the creepy insanely creepy without going for cheap jump sounds. The sound focus drops off by the second half (sadly), but is still worth checking out.

Second, the story works really well at giving nearly everyone unclear motivations. No one turns out to be quite what they seem and the reasons for what they do is interesting and have good twists revealed by the end.

Finally, this series does amazing spirit-world journeys- pulling a lot from Jungian symbolism as it goes, and not wasting time to over-explain anything. Not only that, but it avoids predictable expectations- there's no formulas it really follows episode to episode, except to give you a "WTF" cliffhanger at the end of every episode.

The show does have shortfalls- it's very slow moving. Almost nothing really happens until the 4th episode. Not only that, but answers don't start rolling in until the last 4-5 episodes. The ending is also very pat and happy and doesn't really seem to fit in totally with everything previous.

Mostly, the big thing to watch out for is that the kidnapping scenes in the first few episodes are pretty scary and kinda traumatic - I think a combination of the sound, dream-like state, and symbolic imagery makes it... really disturbing. Halfway through the series there's a scene that threatens sexual assault then backs off.

Overall, I found the series pretty interesting, maybe 3.5 or 4 stars out of 5? It avoids so many anime tropes that it definitely was worth the watch for me.
yeloson: (Magical Feeling)
The anime (known as Starblazers in the US)



The live action movie coming out this year:



An ad for some Yamato-related thing, with Yuki:



ZOMG THE JAPANESE CAN'T TELL WHAT ETHNICITY THE CHARACTERS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE! THAT'S THE "POINT" OF ANIME! etc.

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