All Things Anime

I really like anime, and yet, most I haven’t enjoyed most of anime I’ve seen. That’s seems nonsensical, but I guess what I mean is that I really want to like anime, but I usually end up being really disappointed. Usually, my disappointment stems from the quality of the story–because I usually love the animation.

I wanted to start a thread about anime, particularly the anime that is really worth watching. Of course, let’s talk about any issues pertaining to the genre.

The best anime I’ve seen, hands down, is Ninja Scroll. Here is one of the few instances where you have a good story combined with great animation. I don’t even care for the way this animator draws human faces (they seem too narrow), but his human figures and the motion of them is really terrific. The sound in the film is also very good.

The filmmaker (can’t remember his name) also did a Vampire Hunter D movie called “Bloodlust,” I think. It’s not a great movie, but it’s pretty good. I would recommend it. This is a film where you can see why I think this animator should adapt Marvel comics. If Japanese animators every adapt American comic superheroes and the stories in those comics, you’re talking a match made in heaven! It’s gotta happen.

I also loved Castle of Cagliostro which is part of the Lupin tv series in Japan. Lupin (wolf) is a master thief. Together with his friends, Jigen–a mobster whose good with guns–and a silent samurai (can’t remember his name), Lupin gets into all kinds of capers. In Castle of Cagliostro, the three heroes have to rescue a young girl from marrying an evil count. Most of the action takes place in a castle filled with traps. In addition, an international police officer, Zenigata, is hot on the trail of Lupin. There is some over-the-top zaniest, and a pretty good story and pacing. This one is fun for kids and adults.

78 Responses to “All Things Anime”


  1. joel

    Without getting to involved with my brother’s observations of japanese anime, I will just comment on some of the few really good one’s that I’ve seen and why…

    (1) Ninja Scroll (Yoshiaki Kawajiri) is by far and wide the best anime that I’ve seen. I’ve seen movies with great action sequences…great storylines…great characters…but this one is the best. His other works Vampire Hunter D the bloodlust, Demon City Shinjuku, and Wicked City were all great films to sample/watch. The great thing about this director is that he really utilizes the freedome you have in animation. One of his greatest strengths is to create this “superhuman” characters that seemlessly morph back and forth into other things we see in nature (plants, animals, even aliens) There is definitely a “struggle” between the character’s “alien/superhuman side” and human side. Sort of like the conflict you see in the “x-men” movies/comics. So, in that sense I do agree with my brother in that combining japanese animation with marvel comics would be a thing of beauty.

    Although I totally recommend you watching it Japanese dialogue with english subtitles *unless you already speak japanese of course* I know this is an entirely different subject but it somehow I feel that the true “interpretation” of the film is in it’s original language. *there are a few exceptions to the rule* (ever watched Ranma 1/2? or Spirited Away? Princess Mononoke? just to name a few)

    (2) Akira (katsuhiro ohtomo)…this film has to be mentioned because it was totally ahead of it’s time in terms of art and animation. To this day I don’t believe there is a film that has the depth and quality in the art and animation as does this one. It’s visual appeal alone is enough to entertain. I first saw this film without subtitles, and I still loved it. It falls short in the “storyline” for me though, it was a little esoteric and vague. Although I haven’t seen his latest creation “metropolis” I am a huge fan of his art/animation. He also did a film short part of a compilation called “robot carnival” if you don’t have the patience to watch a feature length film I do recommend watching this film series of shorts featuring some of Japan’s top animators. One story is about two gigantic robots waring in a small Japanese village (a tale of two robots). There is this other collection of anime shorts on dvd called Neo Geo. There is this racing one that is awesome. I think you’d love this one Reid!!

    (3) Priness Mononoke… (Hayao Miyazaki) has made some great films but Princess Mononoke may be one of his best work. The conflict of nature vs. industrialization of man is heightned as nature (in the form of the forrest spirit fights back). Without giving to much away, I’ll just say that he’s a great story teller and would recommend almost all of his films. He’s done a great number of other films “Kiki’s delivery service” and his latest “Spirited Away.”

    One thing I’d like to note is that one underlying theme in almost all anime that I’ve seen has a very “melancholy” poignant…sort of “finding contentment” in even the most glum or glommy situations theme. Even in contemporary films about Japan or the people in it, like “Lost in translation” have these same type of feelings. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Graveyard of the Fireflies” you’ll know exactly what I mean. This film is about a brother and sister who find refuge in the mountains after their village had been bombed during World War II. Their whole exsistence is finding things to do, food to prepare and hope for other survivors.

    Anyone seen any other anime? How about the new “Cowboy beebop” movie? I still have yet to see it. I really wanted to comment on the Robotech series as well and would like to hear other people’s input on it, but I’ll do it at another time.

  2. Mitchell

    Wow, Joel. Nice comments.

    I have Akira queued in my DVD-rental list–I’ve always wanted to see it.

    I agree with everything both of you have said about Ninja Scroll. Have you seen The Animatrix? Some of the people who worked on Ninja Scroll worked on segments of The Animatrix.

    When I watched The Animatrix with friends the first time, I instantly recognized the style of one of the segments. “That’s gotta be the guy who did Aeon Flux,” I said, and I was right. I really dug that series when it was on MTV and would love to see it in its entirety.

    Metropolis was lovely to look at, but unbearably slow and unrewarding. The colors were much too garish for my taste. I much prefer the gentler tones in Spirited Away. And I agree with Joel that this is one of the exceptions to the rule: the English “dubbed” version is slightly better than the subtitled version.

    “As for me, I’m leaving. And I’m taking the wolf-girl with me!”

  3. joel

    I have the 25th edition remake of akira mitchell if you want to borrow it or if my brother will ever want to “sponser” a anime night at my grandmother’s place. I have a lot of the other films either on video or dvd so if anyone is interested…just call me “blockbuster” and no worries about the late charges it’s cool.

    I do own a copy of the “animatrix” but only got through the first two episodes of the dvd. It never really caught my attention as did the other films I mentioned, but I will get around to it. I didn’t know Peter Cheung *aeon flux” creator did an episode. I do agree with mitchell in that that series was cool. I hear he did a few other films but without much success. I’ll have to check into it again. *side note don’t you guys think it’s kind of funny the guy’s name is peter chueng? all you 87 grads?*

  4. joel

    Other films of note…

    One of the great things about animation is that you can enjoy or appreciate the shear beauty of the art or the fluiditity of the animation alone. Even if the story is lacking, or the dialogue maybe a little dull/droll (a lot of times the english subtitles don’t really convey the true meaning of the scene or situation, cultural differences make it hard sometimes to pick up on these subtlties)you can still appreciate different “elements” of the film that make it worthwhile.

    Like Mitchell was mentioning, Aeon Flux was a great series to watch, yet it barely had any dialogue and were broken up into 2-5 minutes segments of action clips or quarky images. So, with that in mind, I came up with a few movies that I would recommend.

    “Ghost in the Shell” (mamoru oshii) is a film with two really specitacular action sequences that really are in a class by themselves. Simply because a lot of what was done is really hard or impossible to do with live action actors. Granted there have been great improvements in combining live action with computer (cg) images (i.e. the matrix) but the seemless fluidity of the characters in this particular film combined with some kickass action make it a thing of beauty. The art director of this film also worked on “Ninja Scroll” (Shoji kawamori). I particularly like his style of drawing detailed background layouts of the city and surrounding enviornments. The only other film that I can think of which did a better job of that was in “Akira” *In that film the graffitti on the wall was drawn in both english and japanese for the two different versions of the film. I thought that type of attention to detail was pretty cool*

    Another film of note which involves a lot of people that worked on both “ninja scroll” and “ghost in the shell” is Macross Plus. The films story, overall plot and animation were all very good. In fact, it would probably rate as the 4th best animated film that I’ve seen (first three are already mentioned in my previous post) the story is about *reid look away now or else your going to get mad at me for saying to much for you* two test pilots and a long lost high school friend who was/still is kinda a talented singer. There lives which were seperated ,due to there respective careers, resumes up again when a series of events (which I won’t reveal) and brings them together. Their love triangle resumes from times past *in true robotech fashion* and the final climax is revealed with a lesson to be learned by all. great aireal fighting scenes…really innovative techological concepts drive the film and make it an interesting and fun film to watch.

    The film has an awesome soundtrack I actually went and searched for the soundtracks in all the japanese anime stores. There are three soundtracks in all and in my opinion are all good. The song “voices” is a really cool song to check out. (in english or japanese)

    This film was originally made from a four part mini-series into a feature length film. Although, I do recommend you watching the four part series first as the movie is more of a condensed version of the series. The feature length film is worth watching afterward because it does contain scenes not contained in the mini series as well.

    Lastly, the film “battle angel” (Yukito Kishiro) is a really cool film about bounty hunters in a scrap iron city sometime in the future. They all live in a time where mechanical body parts are bought, sold, and slolen as part of the horrid living conditions of the city. Since there is really no police for govening the place, bounty hunters are offered rewards in capturing *body part stealers* But because most of them are all cybornetic in someform, everyone is superhuman–they can fly, have super strength etc.

    Enter a kind hearted but burnt out doctor whos true purpose in life is to help “repair” broken down people, he finds this mysterious girl thrown in a huge trash heep and puts her back together raising her as his own. Her self discovery as a person, human, machine, and woman all raise interesting questions about our own identities.

    This film has a really great story (kind of reminds me of the movie “the professional” with jean reno and natalie portman, but in many ways sooo different so I’m not giving away to much) cool action sequences and interesting characters, make it a great film. But the story and the conflicts involved in the story is what really drive the film.

  5. Reid

    I’ve seen Animatrix, and I was pretty disappointed by the whole thing. I think the last vignette is the best. (I believe that’s the one by the AeonFlux animator). The concept is pretty cool.

    As for Macross +Cowboy Be-Bop: the Movie, I thought it was very similar to one of the episodes from the TV series. I really like the characters, animation and the music in that show. The stories are OK to kind of junk, but, as in other TV series, you get to know the characters and start liking them.

    Joel,

    Battle Angel sounds good. Do you think I would like that?

  6. joel

    To reid…

    I think you’d like battle angel’s story. But knowing you the way I do, I know you’ll have some critisisms about it. I already know some of the things you would comment on. But again, I think overall you’ll like the plot and story. The art and animation MIGHT look a little “outdated” to you, but to me I liked the character designs and the art.

    I think you’d like that “racer short” in the neo geo series. The art and animation is really cool in that. You feel like intensity of the “race” in that film.

    As for Macross plus…I know you really didn’t like it, but you did miss out on some things in the mini series. For example, one of the things I really like about the whole “flying ships that can change into robots” concept is that you can transition between “hand-to-hand combat” to “aireal fighting” to “shootouts.” The “attention getter” in the four part series showed this while the movie did not. There are a few other things as well. But granted, if you don’t like the “soap opera” style storyline that is prevalent in the Macross series–before and present versions respectively–then you probably wouldn’t like the story.

  7. Reid

    Well, I don’t mind the soap-opera elements. (For example, I liked them in the original TV series.)I think I saw the “racing short” that you mentioned.

    I guess, for me, I feel the same way towards great animation as I do great special effects. Without a good story, interesting characters, etc., they really don’t mean that much to me. Conversely, I can really love a film with poor special effects, if it has a great story, etc. Then again, I don’t know if I can say that about an animated film.

    The overall plot of Battle Angel sounds cool, so maybe I’ll check it out. But I prefer watching it on dvd.

    Btw, a while ago I watched Green Legend Ran because a guy on the internet said it was one of his favorites. Well, it wasn’t that great. The animation seems a bit shoddy (it was made in the 80’s), and the story wasn’t that great either.

  8. Cindy

    Hi! I’m a friend of Penny’s.

    Being a long-time anime fan, I couldn’t help noticing this thread.

    Have you watched Rurouni Kenshin? It seems to have become the current gold standard as far as Japanese television series subbed and released in the U.S.

    Very basically speaking, it’s a Meiji era samurai epic. 200ish episodes. Brilliant battle choreography coupled with an exceptionally well developed storyline (multiple arcs).

    Neon Genesis Evangelion was also considered ground breaking in a twisted, “a boy, his mecha, and a whole lot of psychological weirdness that got pretty confusing at the end” kind of way.

    Also notable:

    Vision of Escaflowne (if you don’t mind a Japanese school-girl heroine in a sort of mecha swords & sorcery alternate universe).

    Arjuna (Uniquely mod, ESP-type thing with a surprisingly heavy-handed socio-cultural/environmental message. Very nicely drawn.

    His and Her Circumstances

    Haibane Renmei

    Niea7 (from the maker’s of Serial Experiments LAIN….which I never got into, but is pretty dark and mind-bending I hear).

    Current hot tv series not yet commercially released: NARUTO (The incredibly obnoxious misfit ninja apprentice).

    Subtitled manga and downloadable fansubbed episodes via bit torrent(for much more computer-y people than myself)at http://www.narutofan.com

    Extensive library of anime dvd’s available for rent (including access to fan-subbed stuff not yet commercially released) at Collector Maniacs on Waialae Avenue.

    (Shameless plug of friend’s store)

  9. Reid

    Hi Cindy,

    Is Ruroumi Kenshin the one about the samurai who uses the blunt side of the sword to fight? I think the cartoon network shows this series.

    Have you seen Ninja Scroll? If so, what are the anime that you liked more than that?

  10. Cindy

    Hi Reid,

    Yup. That sounds like the one. I didn’t realize it was on TV right now. I watched the whole thing…gosh…about 5 years ago…(and I shudder to imagine the effects of dubbing)(bleh).

    I’ve seen Ninja Scroll, and I have to say that nothing seems to compare to it. There were some “follow-up” projects marketed as being “by the makers of Ninja Scroll” that were total duds.

    I would say that the things I’ve liked as much as Ninja Scroll are not in the same category.

    Tonari no Totoro (dubbed and released by Disney as “My Neighbor Totoro”) by Hayao Miyazaki is an all-time favorite. I hear it’s his best loved work. I’ve been told that it’s being re-released with the option of subtitles or dubbing…(dubbing kills the experience for me).

    Nausicaa, also by Miyazaki (also due for re-release on DVD), was also very good, as was Spirited Away. I would say that I liked all three of these as much as Ninja Scroll.

    Neon Genesis Evangelion really captured my imagination when my friends and I watched it years ago in the way that “The Matrix” did a bit. Like the Matrix trilogy, Evangelion couldn’t seem to tie up all it’s ambitiously flailing loose ends toward the end, but it was still pretty remarkable. This series really takes itself seriously, as opposed to most others that alternate between drama and slapstick. It attempted to be a mod, mecha series with quasi-religious overtones, and was rife with all sorts of psychological tension.

    I am currently keeping up with Naruto. This series is set in a well-detailed contemporary ninja culture. The main character is introduced to the viewer as a social outcast from birth who struggles for recognition and acceptance by rising in the ranks of the village hierarchy. He is viewed as an obnoxious, talentless loser…(I guess I just love an underdog πŸ™‚

  11. Reid

    Cindy,

    I really loved Spirited Away, so I really should see Miyazaki’s other films. Thanks for the description of the other films. I’ve seen the Neon Genesis Evagelion series, but I felt reluctant to watch it. (Actually, I feel this way towards almost every anime because I’ve been burned too often.)

  12. Reid

    Cindy,

    I really loved Spirited Away, so I really should see Miyazaki’s other films. Thanks for the description of the other films. I’ve seen the Neon Genesis Evagelion series, but I felt reluctant to watch it. (Actually, I feel this way towards almost every anime because I’ve been burned too often.)

  13. Cindy

    Hey Reid,

    I just popped in to my friend’s store recently, and put the big “Ninja Scroll” question to him.

    “Hey…is there anything as good as Ninja Scroll?”

    He immediately understood exactly what I was talking about and said, “No.”

    The whole genre tends to shy away from stand-alone feature-length work, with a few exceptions. Most of the time you have to watch the series. Somewhere in the middle or toward the end of the really successful ones, they’ll pop out a few “movies” that are usually kind of on the short side (45-60 minutes?) and will not be understandable on their own.

    I also asked him about the Ninja Scroll TV series that came out recently. He said that it wasn’t as good either. Despite being produced recently, the animation quality isn’t an improvement. He described it as having essentially the same characters,story, and production budget thinned out over 13 episodes. Bleh.

    Perusing Miyazaki is definitely worth your while. Collector Maniacs has some of the lesser-known works too. Miyazaki covers a pretty wide range of fantasy stuff that seems pitched for kids, quasi-historical/mythical stuff like Princess Mononoke…there’s an older one all about tanuki– “Pompoko”…and a World War I (?) adventure with a Pig as the pilot hero (“Porco Rosso”—The Crimson Pig)…as well as some quieter human-scale stories–“I Can Hear the Sea”…Story and art are always solid.

    I haven’t followed Masamune Shirow so much because…I don’t know…I guess his stuff, while amazing, just never grabbed me too much. Maybe there are two kinds of people in the world. Totoro people and Akira people…like dog people…and cat people….like chocolate people…and (okay self-censoring has finally kicked in).

    The Hawaii International Film Festival has also hosted some feature length anime in a very different vein (e.g. “Millenium Actress”…kind of touching on themes of relationships/reincarnation)and the Honolulu Academy of Arts just screened “Tokyo Godfathers” a couple of months ago (three homeless characters find an abandoned baby in Tokyo…).

    “Perfect Blue” some kind of murder-mystery thing falls into this category and has been out for some time (but I’m not real keen on murder-mystery)(I suspect that goes with being a Totoro person).

    I would still reccomend the shorter series (total of about 13 episodes)…Arjuna, Haibane Renmei, and Niea7…because of the production quality and decent story lines.

    Sorry to be so verbose. When you talked about being burned, I felt a deep sympathy. Totoro people are like that, you have to forgive them.

    If you wander into a bastion of anime geek-dom like CM, I’m sure you’d bump into a hard-core type who’s watched everything, and could recommend something worthwhile.

  14. Reid

    Don’t apologize. It’s great to hear discussion and recommendations about anime. I guess, the first things on my list are the Miyazaki films. My Neighbor Totoro seems a little too serious and heavy. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I often look towards anime for something fun in a sci-fi or fantasy sort of way.

    How did you like Castle of Cagliostro? That’s one of my favorite animes.

  15. joel

    Hey Cindy,

    it’s cool hearing about the anime culture and how you define it in two different groups. I’m not sure I quite understand the distinction between the two as you have discribe so I really couldn’t tell you which category I would fall in. I guess I haven’t really seen to much anime after miazaki’s works and tend to follow more of the “old school” anime.

    I have seen “Perfect blue” didn’t really like it all that much. The storyline wasn’t very strong. So it didn’t really appeal to me either.

    Of all of your recommendations–with the exception of niea7–are they pretty light-hearted or comedic in their themes? Just curious? As i’m not familar with them.

  16. Cindy

    Hi Reid and Joel πŸ™‚

    Shucks. I didn’t mean to make Totoro sound serious or heavy. It’s really childlike and whimsical!)

    I haven’t watched the Lupin stuff. Why? I don’t know, though it’s always highly recommended.

    Somehow I thought that if Ninja Scroll was the standard, light and comedic were out, but if they’re not…then there are other series I liked… (Arjuna and Haibane are kind of more serious, but definitely fantasy). (Arjuna is kind of sci-fi. Haibane Renmei is kind of an alternative contemporary take on angel mythology…sort of).

    Kodomo No Omocha has been described as being like “Marmalade Boy” on crack. (I’ve never watched Marmalade Boy myself, but the series is frenetic). It revolves around this spastic 3rd or 4th grade girl who is a child TV star. May not have been commercially released yet, not sure.

    Fruits Basket: Orphaned high school girl crosses paths with the mysterious Souma family who is cursed with transforming into the animals associated with the chinese zodiac.

    Angelic Layer: Futuristic sci-fi series where kids and teens buy “Angel” kits– little customizable battle robots they direct telekinetically.

    Tsukikage Ran: Kind of like Abarenbo Shogun, but with a female, sake-drinking samurai. Fun.

    Tenchi Muyo!: Yay! I love Tenchi. Sci-fi fantasy.

    The Ping Pong Club: Cautiously recommended. Definitely different. Kind of deviant school-boy humor (been a long time since I saw this. Don’t quite remember it too well, except that it’s pretty twisted).

    Samurai Deeper Kyo (is not really light hearted or comedic per se…but was worth watching)(Alternates between taking itself seriously, then being sort of slapstick)– Edo period (?) supernatural sword fighting type thing.

    *Sorry. In the last comment, I mixed up Masamune Shirow…who did Ghost in the Shell….with Katsuhiro Ootomo, who did Akira.

  17. Reid

    I highly recommend Castle of Cagliostro. I like the characters of Lupin, Jigen and the samurai guy (whose name escapes me at the moment). There’s some good humorous moments and–here’s the difference maker–the story is solid. The animation–particularly the vibrancy of the colors (although I don’t know if I’d feel this way now after having watched more anime) impressed me. (One of the best animated animes I’ve seen was Metropolis. I loved the color and the illustrations, but it has the same problem as most other anime: poor story.) Also, I enjoyed this film without having seen or knowing any of the episodes from the series.

    I’ve seen some of the other Lupin movies and they were pretty bad. The animation alone on one of them was so shoddy, and I stopped watching the film. But Castle of Cagliostro is different.

    Joel,

    How do you like this one? It’s up there for me.

  18. joel

    “Castle cagliostro” does have a very good “humoristic” quality about the characters that makes it really loveable. Some of the scenes although unrealistic flow well with the overall high jinks and exagerated humor.

    Spoiler Alert

    *cars driving on the sides of cliffs…Lupin bounding up and down on roof top peeks…swimming against a waterfall type current and actually making progress before getting swamped*

    End of spoiler

    The flow and overall themes of the film remind of me jackie chan type films. I love how they all are vunerable in someway *the main characters* and they rely on each other for help but it’s not without constant critisism…whicn makes the confrontations that much more enjoyable. Do you remember the film by sonny chiba where he’s the hired assassin linked up with the two other “expert” criminals? That film is pretty funny as well. I think if they remade that film with modern actors it would be cool.

    Anyway, for what it’s worth “castle cagliostro” is a good anime film and but more for it’s comedic elements than anthing else. I don’t really remember to much of the overall storyline except from what I’ve played in the video game “cliff hanger.”

  19. Reid

    Joel,

    I like those scenes you mentioned (and btw, I’m going to put a spoiler warning in your post), but I think there were pretty good action situations, too. The main characters get into certain situations, and the filmmakers create a good way from them to get out of those situations. The overall plot is solid.

    Here’s the plot if you want to know (and if you don’t want to know anything, don’t read on):

    Lupin and his friends are in Europe and the evil Count of Cagliostro wants to marry this innocent girl (she seems to be a teenager) in order to gain wealth and power. There is a legend about their families joining. Anyway, Lupin knows this girl and he tries to prevent this marriage from happening. In addition, Zenigata, the international police officer that has always wanted to apprehend Lupin and co., is on the trail. Most of the action takes place at this huge castle, with Lupin trying to break the girl out.

    I can easily recommend this film to almost anyone.

  20. Reid

    Ghost in the Shell (6 out of 10)

    Larri and I watched this over the weekend. It was better than I thought. The story was pretty solid (at least coherent). The animation was also pretty cool, and the concepts in the film were appealing.

  21. Jenn

    I love hearing/talking about anime!

    I agree with most of titles Cindy mentioned. Vision of Escaflowne and Evangalion are two of my favorites, but the storylines take some of your brain away. (If anyone is into Final Fantasy 7 and is familiar with Escaflowne, I read that Shinichiro Miki of Allen Schezar fame will be voicing Sephiroth in the CG movie.) At first I didn’t like Evangalion after I saw the ending, but gave me a lot to think about. As for the Escaflowne movie, I didn’t like it at all! Maybe I’m too fond of the tv series.

    Ruroni Kenshin is a good series, but I preferred the movies. It helped that the series did a lot to develop Kenshin’s character, but the OAVs were tragic and for some reason I liked that better.

    Cowboy Bebop is my favorite series hands down. I agree that the storylines are not always interesting but I kept watching because of the character development.

    Perfect Blue wasn’t the best in terms of story and it was slow moving but I had no expectations, so the ending blew me away.

    Has anyone seen Serial Experiments Lain? If you have, I’m curious to hear your thoughts on it.

    Also, just a general question to anyone: do you prefer episodic/series anime or self-contained movies? I know a lot of series are very good but sometimes it takes a lot out of me to watch all the episodes.

  22. Cindy

    Hi Jenn!

    Aside from Miyazaki, it’s really hard to find good self-contained movies. I think I’d prefer movies if they were more consistent.

    I tried watching Serial Experiments Lain, but seemed to find it a bit too dark and twisted at the outset. I guess I just wasn’t in the mood, though the look was very cool.

    For some reason, I just finished watching 75 episodes of “Hikaru No Go.” I’d heard about this series a while ago, but thought, “Young boy meets the spirit of an ancient Go master and begins a journey into the amateur, professional, and international world of Go.”

    “Hmm. Snoresville!”

    It was very well done. If you like story driven anime and having a bit of a look into aspects of contemporary Japanese culture, then I’d recommend it.

    Lastly, we might have very similar tastes. I thought the Vision of Escaflowne movie was pretty crappy too.

  23. Reid

    I saw the Escaflowne movie, and I didn’t care for it. But I don’t know if it was called Vision of Escaflowne

  24. Jenn

    Hey Cindy,

    So far the chances of our having similar tastes looks good!

    A strong story is important, in my opinion, because that’s what keeps me watching (Cowboy Bebop is sort of an exception). But I don’t know if I can survive 75 episodes after going through ALL of Kenshin… Not that I don’t have faith in your review! It’s just that I seem to find it harder and harder to watch very long series.

    I agree that Serial Experiments Lain was rather dark and depressing, but that’s what I found interesting about it. Most of the other series I’d seen were either very peppy with occasional dark moments or just plain happy with mild angst, but Lain was dark dark dark all the time. I haven’t had a chance to watch it since my first viewing but it’s one of those I’d like to revisit. It was also a bit coincidental that Lain was the last series I saw before starting Bebop, so when that Brain Scratch episode came out it reminded me of Lain’s storyline. Weird.

    I have yet to see Millennium Actress! It was either that or Bebop at the film festival and I chose Bebop.

    On a lighter note, I find His and Hers Circumstances/Kare Kano rather hilarious. I don’t miss those days at all but apparently I have no problem laughing at someone else’s teenage angst. Haha.

    Unfortunately I don’t get out to Collector’s much anymore. Besides, every time I go in there I completely forget what series I was going to start watching…

  25. Reid

    We had one of our nephews and nieces over for the weekend and we watched Castle in the Sky. It’s tough for me to say what I thought as I fell asleep towards the end. It basically brought up a lot of the environmental themes that Miyazaki seems to be into. I thought it was kind of slow. I still prefer Spirited Away and Castle of Cagliostro.

  26. Reid

    Ghost in the Shell 2 is playing at Varsity. Has anyone seen this one yet?

  27. Reid

    I saw Ghost in the Shell, but I can’t remember much about it, including if I really liked it or not.

    I saw one of the best integrations of cgi and anime style illustrations in the Appleseed movie. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the whole thing, so I can’t really comment on the entire movie.

  28. cindy

    Wow Reid,

    Are your last two comments really almost 1 yr. apart?

    I’ve switched from renting anime to catching more current Japanese series that haven’t been licensed yet on the web that have been subtitled by fan groups. Current favorites are as follows:

    Yakitate Japan!: Believe it or not, this series centers around one young man’s quest to bake really great bread in hopes of one day perfecting a bread that will exemplify Japanese culture (or something) to be called “Ja-Pan” (“Pan” being the word for bread adapted from the Portuguese who first introduced it).

    Beck: (This may have been commercially distributed for a while now). The series follows a young boy struggling to become a guitarist in a local rock band. A little bit harder edge coming of age type themes. Realistic style of animation (no gigantic eyes or blue/pink hair).

    Did anyone go to see “Howl’s Moving Castle?” It was just “okay.” I liked “Spirited Away” a lot better, but still, it was original and entertaining…just not especially moving.

  29. cindy

    BTW please forgive me if I already mentioned Yakitate and Beck. It’s been such a long time since posting on this subject that I’ve completely forgotten what I said earlier, and I was too rushed to go back and check!

  30. Reid

    Cindy,

    Yeah, it’s been that long!

    Anyway, if you look in the “Recently Watched Movies” thread, I listed Howl’s Moving Castle as one of my favorites of the year. It’s not as moving as Spirited Away, but the pacing and the progression of scenes in the film is really well-done. The film really does a good job of drawing you in and holidng your attention.

    The supporting characters are some of the best I’ve seen in an animated film, at least one’s I’ve seen in a long time.

    How do you get those series? Do you download them off the web, or is there a site you watch them at?

  31. cindy

    I joined this pay site called http://www.narutofan.com

    For $3.50 per month, I think you can download about 5 gb of anime a month, though it does require you to kind of tweak windows media or whatever you may be using with codecs.

    You can download stuff directly from sites using Bit Torrent, but I am too computer illiterate by now to really be able to get that to work.

    I don’t usually recommend doing what I did because I can’t explain about codecs and all that stuff, and it requires a bit of trusting the site to safely direct you to download them from where ever (but you have Mitchell to advise you about that πŸ™‚

    The site has uku-billion series (well, okay, they say 80+). It’s worth it for me. I don’t even subscribe to cable, and I love anime…especially in Montana right now in my lonesome predicament (1 yr. internship). There’s always something nostalgic about watching Japanese stuff with subtitles since the old KIKU Kikaida days. Sigh.

    BTW I listened to both podcasts. It’s funny. I’m Japanese/Okinawan too.

  32. Reid

    Well, please post back some reviews of the anime you watch. The site does sound interesting, although the technical aspects kind of discourage me from checking it out.

    Glad you liked the podcasts. (Did we talk about being Japanese-Okinawan?)

  33. cindy

    Hi Reid,

    It wasn’t a topic for debate, but somehow it came up (unless I’m getting way more psychically attuned these days). (Nope).

    Series that have been released/ distributed semi-recently that may be worth a look:

    Studio Gonzo’s “Last Exile”: Kind of a retro/futuristic themed anime (kind of like “Steam Boy” by the guy that did “Akira” which I thought was kind of draggy). Really beautiful animation with nicely blended CGI of a boy and his plane.

    Here is a much more articulate and mechanically- inclined review from a fan:

    I was captured by this series immediately and completely recommend it.
    The 2D and 3D animation is fresh and breathtaking, the show is worth watching for the scenery alone. But the swath that the creators cut across history in making this series is wildly curious and artfully done. What looks like a type of WWII German Luftwaffe aircraft fly in the same skies with Civil War era battleships that feel like the Merrimack and Monitor were transported to 3004 for battle, add in colonial military uniforms and battle tactics, and hang a futurist gyro-stabilized observation platform in silent orbit above it all. This is the background for a sweet and seriously engaging story line with complex characters, their lives and trials accompanied by an almost Irish sounding bagpipe and flute melodies of a soundtrack complete with Japanese lyrics. Thus is the unique mix of Last Exile.

    Also from Studio Gonzo: Samurai 7, a series that is loosely based on Kurasawa’s “Seven Samurai” in a sort of Post-Apocalypse Japan. I think the first few episodes have been released on DVD.

    Finally, SAMURAI CHAMPLOO!!! This is out. Have you seen it? It’s a pretty wacky-hip-hop “Chambarra” kind of tale set in feudal Japan with a 21st century j-pop kind of overlay. Amazing fight sequences and one of the main characters is Okinawan (The rough one with the bad attitude. Oh well).

  34. cindy

    People who liked Ninja Scroll may also like “Basilisk” (I don’t think it’s out yet). 10 elite ninja from the warring Koga and Iga clans have been set against each other to decide which of two heirs will succeed the aged Ieyasu. The prize (I think) is to be designated as the shogun’s special force. Each ninja has a very specialized power (one is like a slug-guy whose power is to kind of melt? Ugh). “Basilisk” refers to the young leader of Koga’s power of inducing enemies to destroy themselves through an irresistable hypnotic gaze, as well as the Iga leader’s power of neutralizing other ninja powers by her gaze. The twist is that prior to this declaration by Ieyasu, the two factions had been bound by a peace treaty that allowed the next generation leaders of Koga and Iga to fall in love and plan to marry.
    The series is very dark, gritty, and has some strong sexual content at times (not unlike ninja scroll). Whew.

  35. Reid

    Great posts, Cindy! I put some of your recommendations on netflix queue. I’ll report back here as soon as I see them.

  36. Reid

    Cindy,

    My wife and I watched the first 6 episodes of The Last Exile. We’re enjoying it so far. I agree about the good use of cgi in the series. The key to me is using cgi in action sequences and not in the faces of human characters (This was partly the mistake of Final Fantasy). Two more episodes in disc 2, and we’ll have to track down the others. It’s available at the Hawaii public library currently.

    Have you ever seen the recent Appleseed film? That also has really good use of cgi.

  37. Reid

    Btw, has anyone seen the series Heat Guy J? I saw previews on the Last Exile dvd, and the animation looks really good. The story line is about a cop and high “cyborg” partner.

  38. cindy

    Hi Reid,

    I’m glad you are liking Last Exile, and I couldn’t agree more with your insight into the weirdness of the Final Fantasy movie (“Spirits Within”?) I’m also impressed with the public library for having such cool contemporary anime!

    There are a couple more cgi projects– spin-offs of the super popular FFVII video game– “The Last Order” and “Advent Children.” I haven’t watched them yet, so I don’t know if they were able to work out the facial weirdness.

    I haven’t seen the Appleseed movie, but will keep an eye out for it.

    I posted this a while ago, but if NetFlix has it, “His and Her Circumstances” (Kareshi to Kanojo no Jigyou– or something) was a pretty unusually intense look at the underside of relationships between the sexes in a mundane high school setting. That’s one series that really stood out in the last several years of anime watching after Kenshin and Evangelion.

    Heat Guy J really did have an enticing trailer. I never watched it though, ‘cuz it’s not really a preferred genre of mine.

    I hope you get to watch Samurai Champloo! The series drags at times with too many filler episodes, but it’s still really fresh and well-choreographed.

    Cindy

  39. Reid

    Samurai Champloo! is at the public library, and it’s on my queue.

    Larri and I watched the first five episodes of Samurai 7. It’s pretty good so far, particularly some of the villians and the weapons they use. I really love Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, so when this series diverts from the original I have to adjust to that. For example, Kanbei is not a really good swordsman in the original.

    We’re also almost finished with Last Exile (two more discs). I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but the animation can vary significantly, sometimes within the same episode. I noticed after episode 7, the quality of the animation went down a bit. In later episodes it gets better. I wish they kept the consistency up. It feels like they want to save money, and they know they can get away with this, if the audience is into the story and characters.

    On a sidenote, I’m a little disappointed that Lavie is taking a back-seat in the series.

  40. Reid

    We finally finished the Last Exile series. The ending seemed a bit anti-climatic, and there were some minor points that disappointed me, but, overall, I think this a solid series, with a pretty strong narrative. One thing that could have taken away from our experience is the intervals between discs. Netflix would took up to a week to get us discs, so that broke the continuity a bit.

    Here are some of the minor quibbles I had:(spoilers)

    I didn’t like the fact that Lavie was in the background for such a long time. I liked Claus and Lavie as a team. When she gets back in as Claus’ navi, it’s not as thrilling as I would have liked.
    I wished they explained the relationship between the different races/countries. The Guild seemed like aliens from another planet. What was their relationship to the other two groups? (Did they give technology to the other groups?) The series almost seemed like a contiuation of another series.
    The animation was shoddy at times, but when it was good, it was very good.

    Btw, we got to see the trailer for Samurai Champloo. I didn’t know it was done by the the same person that did the anime sequence in Kill Bill, vol.1. Anyway, the trailer is really great. If the series is like the trailer, this should be a good one. I have the second disc waiting for me at the library, but I’m waiting for the first one to come in!

  41. Reid

    My wife and I saw the first disc and some of the second disc of Samurai Champaloo!. I liked the first disc, but the first two episodes on disc two were kinda disappointing. There are a few humorous moments that I enjoyed, too.

    The action scenes are pretty good, but they’re kinda lacking in some areas, too. This observation may seem silly, but the characters seem a little too spindly, and the swords seem like sticks.

    I like the hip-hop sound-track and a little modern urban flavor thrown into the characters and time-period. The Japanese seem to like combining elements from different time periods.

    Does the series get any better?

  42. Cindy

    Howdy Reid,

    I think the series generally continues this way. There are more gripping episodes followed by digressions that are hit-and-miss.

    The characters are spindly, but I guess I chalked it up to artistic license.

    Cindy

  43. Reid

    It’s not necessarily a bad thing that the characters (and swords) are spindly, but it doesn’t look as good. I wish the quailty of animation was more consistent in the series (all series actually). We just saw disc four last night, which was probably one of the best ones. The animation in the episode where Mugen meets a female ninja seemed way better than a lot of the other episodes. We liked the two part episode where Mugen meets people from his past.

    Cindy, have you seen any good anime lately?

  44. Cindy

    I was just thinking that I haven’t really seen anything really impressive lately.

    I think the most consistently original and funny show (that hasn’t been licensed yet) is Yakitate Japan! and Beck stands out as original in concept, and generally well-developed.

    I found another web-site that was better managed as far as fansubs, though it costs more to subscribe ($10/month).

    They had an old series I had heard about that was pretty fun to watch, though the art was dated– Cooking Master Boy set in ancient China (sort of) where this young boy goes on a quest to become a legendary super-chef, having super-human culinary battles along the way.

    I know this whole pattern of the underdog main character having a series of duels is really formulaic, but I still get hooked on them when they’re done well.

    Also in this genre, I found Hunter X Hunter pretty absorbing, though this series is dated as well and is probably aimed at a younger crowd.

    Oh. There’s a series called Ayakashi–Classic Japanese Horror with character design by Yoshitaka Amano that has a really nice look and feel. (Not out yet either,but available as a fansub).

    I’ll post if I come across something really stunning, but nothing so far. If and when Yakitate is licensed though, it’s definitely worth a look.

  45. Reid

    We finished the Samurai Champloo series. I think I agree with your assessment of it, although I was little disappointed in the music and use of hip-hop in the series. The filler episodes kind of took away from the overall series, too. They would have been better off shortening the series.

    I did like the dynamic between the three characters, especially Mugen and Jin–the archetypal stoic samurai and the wild samurai. FWIW, Mugen is the way that Wolverine, from the X-Men, is supposed to be like–unlike Hugh Jackman’s performance in the live action films.

    Does anyone know if an attempt at bringing Japanese animators and American comic book characters/storylines together has ever been tried?

    I still haven’t seen the Yakitate Japan series on netflix. I’ll keep my eyes open for that.

    Btw, I love the underdog going through a series of duels, too…well, if it’s done well, of course.

  46. cindy

    I just saw a Japanese anime version of the “Witchblade” comic book character/ tv series come up. That’s the first time I think I’ve noticed a cross over in that direction.

    Hey Reid,

    I just popped over to the Netflix site to search and saw that they have “Gankutsuou.”

    This is a sort of outer-space/futuristic and artsy adaptation of “The Count of Monte Cristo” story. This series has an extremely distinct look and is pretty dark and edgy as I recall. It’s hard for me to describe in my current brain-dead state, so here’s a link:

    http://www.montecristodvd.com/

  47. cindy

    Also available through Netflix:

    Samurai 7
    (futuristic adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai)

    Now and Then, Here and There
    (I didn’t watch all of this, but as I recall, there was much better than average story and character development…a very gritty anti-war sentiment).

  48. Reid

    I watched the first episode of Samurai 7. It was OK, but I never got motivated enough to go out and get the others.

    I’m assuming you like the “Monte Cristo” series.

  49. cindy

    I did find it very absorbing storywise and visually unique and impactful.

  50. Reid

    I’ve seen the Monte Christo story on film before. Would you still recommend the series?

  51. cindy

    I would. I think it’s worth a look based on style alone.

  52. Reid

    Cindy,

    We watched the first two discs of Gankutsuou. I didn’t really care for it, but my wife wants to see what happens. I know what you mean by the distinctive look, especially the clothes–which has that animation technique that they used to use in the 70s. (i.e. Yellow Submarine).

    If I didn’t care for the first two discs, is there a chance I will like the last two?

  53. cindy

    Hmm…it’s been a while. I’m not sure if you will like it not liking it now. I didn’t get to see the entire series because the group that was subbing it stopped before the end. Sometimes they stop everything once the rights are purchased for a commercial release in the U.S.

    I’m sorry you didn’t like it.

    Shucks.

  54. Reid

    Hey, you can’t win ’em all. I didn’t think the series was terrible. I’m probably going finish it since my wife wants to watch it.

    See anything recently?

  55. cindy

    Hi Reid πŸ™‚

    Most recently I watched a bizzare series of four experimental cgi shorts called “Hal & Bons.” Hal and Bons are two talking, beer drinking dogs who agree to be interviewed by a rather unstable, high strung little mochi guy named, you guessed it, “Mochi-kun.”

    If you are at all interested in seeing this, I copied it to a cd along with 10 short episodes of “Kogepan,” a very depressed burnt anpan along with the freeware necessary to watch it with Windows Media Player.

  56. Jenn

    I’ve been going to the Oahu Anime Explorer (oahuanimeexplorer.com) meetings for a while since one of the board members/founders is a friend of a friend. It’s tough to keep up with the series they show when I don’t go to every monthly meeting, but this time I got to see Densha Otoko. It’s not anime but apparently was very popular in Japan last year. It was a book, a tv series, and a movie (which they screened at the meeting). It’s a cute story of an otaku who meets a girl on the train and eventually begins dating her. I have seen many references on my internet search results that it’s based on a true story. It also involves the internet – he chats with people for advice, etc. – but I found the movie very interesting in its commentary of watching people reconnect with one another without the use of a computer.

  57. cindy

    Hey Jenn,

    I saw the fansubbed version of the tv series and liked it quite a bit! They spent some time portraying a bunch of the online community that “Densha” was interacting with and it apparently cost them quite a bit in terms of time and money.

  58. Reid

    Hey Cindy (if you’re still out there),

    I’m sorry I must have missed your post. “Hal and Bons” sounds like a hoot. I wonder if I can find it on youtube.

    Based on a recommendation from Don, I watched the first ten episodes of Avatar: the Last Airbender. The animation is OK. The humor is pretty good. I think it’s too early to tell on the story just yet. I’ll try to watch a couple more discs.

  59. cindy

    Hi,

    I’ve been very sketchy with posts, as in life. (BTW…Hi Penny! in case you see this).

    Hal & Bons actually made it into this years Hawaii International Film Festival…I think because Andrew Le has been bringing in more anime type stuff as he’s moved up in the organization (he’s the son of the guy who owns the Toy’s N Joy’s empire).

    Hey Reid, if I can find it, I will still mail it to you. If not, since it was shown at HIFF…maybe it is circulating somehow.

    I haven’t really caught anything new lately…oh…except…did I mention NANA?

    It’s a series that’s aimed at adolescent girls (I think). The premise is…two 20 year old girls from entirely different backgrounds meet on a train bound for Tokyo one night. They both have the same first name– Nanako– and are called “Nana.” One girl is a sweet, ditsy, clingy girl who is following her boyfriend, while the other is a punk-rock vocalist wanting to hit the big time.

    The show is well-written in terms of the complexity of….you guessed it….romantic relationships (or entanglements)…and interestingly…the most mysterious dynamic is the platonic attraction between the two girls who become inseparable.

    This is another one that hasn’t been released yet (I think). 33 episodes so far. If I mentioned it beofre, my apologize. I haven’t posted in such a long time I’m sure I’ve forgotten.

  60. Reid

    Hey Cindy,

    Good to hear from you. I didn’t know if you still checked in here. I tried looking for “Hal and Bons” on youtube, but no luck.

    It’s always good to hear descriptions of what you’re checking out. I’ve never really watched a “relationshIp” based anime. I prefer other genres, but maybe I should give it a shot.

    I saw Basilisk at the local video store, and almost picked it up based on your recommendations. They only had disc one though, so that kinda deterred me.

    Don if you’re reading this, I saw the third volume in Avatar. At this point, I think I could take it or leave it. The episodes were kinda silly or not that thrilling. One of the best things about the series is the humor, which is not great, but the series has some moments.

  61. cindy

    NOEIN is out. I saw it on the Diamondhead video shelf on a rare visit.

    This was a well-developed story about an alternate future dimension that revolved around the relationships of a group of childhood friends.

    Highly recommended.

    Reid,

    I’m betting you may not like the sketchy, faster-than-the-eye-can-see battle choreography, but try the first disk to see of the story grabs you. This was the best series I watched in a long time.

  62. Reid

    Cindy,

    This is on my list. I just haven’t had much time to get out to Diamondhead. How many discs are there?

  63. cindy

    Hi Reid,

    Apparently there are three. I watched them as downloaded fansubs last year so wasn’t sure. There are five episodes per disc at the standard 23ish minutes each.

    Do you have NetFlix? I suscribed recently having given up on DiamondHead video’s yucky location. Netflix had them.

  64. Reid

    I don’t have netflix anymore. I just don’t have time to warrant it.

    I’m really disappointed by Diamond Head Video’s location. The last time I went they didn’t even have all their films on the self! They used to be the best store!

  65. cindy

    I know!

    Did we really need a Mega-Safeway?

    Sigh.

  66. Reid

    I suggested to my friend that they move into the old Cheapos spot at Puck’s Alley. It would also be cool if they went somewhere on Waialae Avenue. Maybe the rent’s too high. I wonder if they could get good business if they opened in Downtown art’s district?

  67. Reid

    Has anyone seen the Highlander film? It’s done by the guy that did Ninja Scroll. They showed it on sci-fi, and I started watching, but it looked kinda dumb.

    Cindy,

    I think Noein played on Cartoon Network, but I have yet to see the series. I just don’t have the time to watch dvds!

  68. Reid

    Recently watched Paprika (2007). It’s the best anime in terms of anime that I’ve seen: really vibrant colors, drawings that I liked and seamless blend of cgi. With most anime, the animation is never the problem, it’s the story. Well, the story is pretty solid in this, at least in a David Lynch sort of way. Actually, the film is more in line with other films like the Matrix ones, Existenz, etc. This one involves dreams, and I liked the one the filmmakers took advantage of the animation by creating interesting dream sequences. The film is pretty rich in symbolism and would be good to re-watch and analyze.

    The film is basically about a device that allows people to go into other people’s dreams. One of the devices falls into the wrong hands and that person becomes messing with other people’s dreams. A detective and a psychologist and her “dream-ego” go trying to stop this person. I gave it a 7.

  69. Mitchell

    It’s the best anime in terms of anime that I’ve seen

    Do you mean it’s the best anime in terms of animation? Or do you mean the best anime in terms of the specific anime style of animation?

    Am I not correct in assuming that almost ALL Japanese animation is CGI? I know that Hayao Miyazaki’s work is almost all animated by hand, but is that not the exception rather than the rule? And how can you tell the difference just by looking? I’m not being a smartass: I just never thought of “seamless” CGI when it comes to animation, since I assumed that, like the Pixar films, just about every animated film nowadays is CGI.

  70. Reid

    Sorry, I meant, “best anime in terms of animation.” I’m not sure how much of current anime is made up of cgi versus hand-drawn, but I have a feeling it’s not all cgi. CGI animation has a certain smooth movement and 3-D feel to it. You can tell when an animated film goes to these scenes. One of the earliest uses of this, I believe, happened in scene in Beauty and the Beast when Belle and the Beast dance together in the ballroom.

  71. Reid

    Appleseed (2004)
    5/10

    Now, here’s an anime that where the whole film seems to be done in cgi, especially the characters. The way the characters move is a dead giveaway. I really liked the opening of the film–exciting battle/fight scenes in the Matrix mode–good use of slow motion. But I think the heavy use of cgi hurt the film for me. I just don’t like watching human (or humanoid) characters that move in that “puppet like” way you see in cgi film. It turns me off from the film for some reason.

    The story is actually not bad, at least it’s coherent (which is not always the case with anime films I’ve seen). The story involves a great female soldier that is recruited by the leaders of a government to get important information to save a utopian civilization. One of the problems with the film, I think, is that it takes too long to get to this point. The scenes that occur before this storyline is introduced seem too long or not very interesting. The story just seemed to drag at some points; at times the filmmakers seem to get caught up in creating good animated action sequences while losing focus on developing the story. (I could say that about most of the anime I’ve seen.)

  72. Reid

    Up for my long lost anime buddy. See any good anime lately?

  73. cindy

    Me? (Touches nose in homage to college exchange student in Japan days).

    Unfortunately no. I think the last thing I intentionally saw was Paprika too.

    My sister lent me her copy of “My Neighbors the Yamadas” produced by teh famed Studio Ghibli a while ago, but released to the US in 2005. She said it was funny but I haven’t watched it yet. Here’s the caption (though it doesn’t sound like your preferred genre)

    “Join in the adventures of the quirky Yamda family– from the hilarious to the touching– brilliantly presented in a unique, visually striking comic strip style.
    Takashi Yamada and his wacky wife Matsuko who has no talent for housework, navigate their way through the ups and downs of work, marriage and family life with a sharp-tongued grandmother who lives with them, a teenage son who wishes he had cooler parents and a pesty daughter whose loud voice is unusual for someone so small. Even the family dog has issues!”

    Hmm…

    If I post again this decade, I will let you know how it is.

    This doesn’t count as anime, but I recently watched a couple of Charlie Brown Christmas specials (not viewed since small kid time) and found them surprisingly dark and cynical (except 2/3rds of the way through where Charlie Brown has an inexplicable change in attitude to make everything come out right in the end.

  74. Reid

    You’re right. It doesn’t sound like my type of anime, but one day, I’ll try to go outside of my preferences. In any event, I hope your next post comes way before the end of the decade.

    I didn’t know there were more than one Charlie Brown Christmas program. I do like the soundtrack.

    Have you seen the new Miyazaki film? My sister in law saw it (big Miyazaki fan), but I don’t think she really liked it.

    Have you seen Paprika?

    Btw, Happy New Year!

    (P.S. What are you doing in terms of work now? Or are you working on a graduate degree?)

  75. Alice

    About Collector Maniac’s, I haven’t been there for a long time, but I remember their fansubs collection. What was it again that you needed to have before you could borrow one of them? Some kind of reward program or something since you couldn’t actually rent them (since it’s fansubs and therefore should be free). Does anyone know?

  76. Reid

    What’s a “fansub collection?”

  77. Mitchell

    Some Japanese anime that’s out on DVD or VHS isn’t subtitled. So some fans take it upon themselves to add their own subtitles, then pass around these subtitled anime — fansubs. Collector Maniacs had a collection of these fansubs, some better done than others, and if you were a member of the club, you could borrow them. I’m sure Jenn knows all about it, because she was a regular in that store, before she turned into a WoW nerd. Jenn! Come out and play!

  78. Reid

    Afro-Samurai (2007)

    This is a mini-series that appeared on Spike TV, I believe. (It’s streaming on Netflix.)

    The plot involves a boy whose father was killed by the second best samurai/fighter (the boy’s father was the best). Both the #1 and #2 samurais wear a head band designating their rank (supposedly the first band confers god-like power on the wearer). The boy grows up and prepares for revenge.

    The art is good, although I didn’t like the way the action scenes were shot. It’s an OK series. My brother would think it’s OK.

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