Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Highlights of the Spring Season

Not that anyone cares... since no one who reads my blog will sit through several hours of cartoons on a recommendation... but the series have been running long enough now that it's worth commenting.

Best Anime of the Spring

Seirei no Moribito (go ahead, watch the first 2:30 of that... and remember that this is youtube... imagine this in HD - because it's available that way)

Hands down - better than the overly stylized Champloo or X or those horrible 90s samurai abominations, this isn't just a good story. Not much filler... nothing subtle... just very well told and unbelievably well drawn. Already licensed for the US, if they get good voice talent (which is a LOT less likely than it should be) they could run it in primetime and it might hold its own. This is the sort of standard to which the studios in Japan are churning out animation and it's SOOOO much better than the garbage American's create.

Others of note: Claymore, El Cazador de la Bruja - both good (so far...) - just that Seirei is a real standout.

Three underappreciated series have already finished - Sola, Rec, and Hitohira. Of them, Rec is my favorite. I'm not really Hitohira's target audience (though i think Hitohira as a school play might be really genius - if only for the recursiveness), Sola tried a little too hard to be something bigger than it was, but Rec - Rec was subtle. It's a love story between an advertising executive and the voice actress for his product... episodically built around 10 different Audrey Hepburn films... this is the sort of thing that you can do in anime and it uses the medium perfectly. Yes - it's a bit cloying - but it's a love story... that's like saying Saw III was a bit bloody.

Now - dont get me wrong - there's some real crap out there too. There's a lot of it - but for example...

Idolmaster Xenoglossia

What happens when you combine a 'save the world from meteors' mecha story with an all girl pop-idol competition? yeah... exactly. This one is... hmmm... bad. Bad in a I want to shoot minmei sort of way. The Mecha arent even pretty - though you can tell there are moments when the male element of the animation team went a little whole hog to try and rectify that - usually in the fight sequences. Lots of repetition - reusing sequences and backdrops - overused memory sequences. Considering that - the story isnt too terrible. It's a bit copy and paste - but honestly - what CAN you do with something like this. Good to know that 12 yr old Ami Futami has a B bloodtype... strange people... and the old guy hanging out on the beach with all the 16 yr old girls in swimsuits is more than a little pervy (fan service is bad enough - but come on...).

What's odd - this feels like one of those 'trying to be all things to all people' animes that ends up being shallow and abysmal everywhere as a result. Feels like Mai Otome in some ways - with less interesting art... and when we get to the inevitable best friend betrayal homestretch that i see coming - it all just feels like a mess.

No comments: