Anime You Might Not Have Tried/Heard Of #5
I am bored, so let's write something.
If you haven't checked out the previous ones, but interested, here ya go:
Same as before, I will try to have more varieties here instead of focusing on one specific genre.
Studio: Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell, Blood+, Eden of the East)
Director: Araki Testuro (Death Note, Kurozuka, Highschool of the Dead)
Adapted From: Original
Localized By: Funimation Entertainment
Kaji Yuki/Tsuda Minami as Ouma Shu
Kayano Ai as Yuzuriha Inori
Nakamura Yuichi/Watanabe Akeno as Tsutsugami Gai
Hanazawa Kana as Shinomiya Ayase
Taketatsu Ayano as Tsugumi
Shimamura Yu as Menjou Hare
Mizushima Takehiro/Hanazawa Kana as Samukawa Yahiro
Sakaguchi Daisuke as Tamadate Souta
On Christmas Eve of 2029, an unknown virus known as the Apocalypse Virus spread through Japan and caused a huge casualty. The event was labeled as the Lost Christmas, and since then, Japan lost it's independence and instead, it's took over by the international organization GHQ in order to recover from the disaster. 10 years later, Ouma Shu, a 17 year old timid young man who always want to hide in the shadow in order to not cause troubles for the others, met a girl named Yuzuriha Inori, the vocalist of the music group EGOIST, who also Shu is a big fan of. After meeting her, he was granted with the power to draw out other people's "Void", a materialized form of their hearts, and be able to wield them as weapons. Soon he become involved into the terrorist group who try to take down the GHQ, the Undertakers, led by the 17 year old young man Tsutsugami Gai.
- Now I will be honest, if you are solely watching it for the story, don't bother. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed watching it. Well, majority of it. The story is rather cliche, but it's reinforce by a very interesting setting that makes it good enough to keep you watching it. The first half mostly has to deal with Shu's emo-ness, which can be rather annoying at times. However, I enjoy the relationship between Shu and Gai very much. The second half, while started off rather good, it goes downhill rather quickly. The story itself was not too bad, but apparently they found out that they don't have enough time for the rest of the story, it became rather rushed, to the point that you won't know what's happening most of the time. The ending, which extremely frustrating to me, just simply bring the rushing into an art form. All I have to say is, if you try not to think too deep into it, and expect a very bad and rushed ending, you will still be able to find some enjoyment in it as a whole.
- Welcome to the visual department, one of the two reasons why you are here. The visual in the show is beyond gorgeous. From the 3DCGs to the 2D character designs, everything can be simply defined with the word beautiful. The character designs are done by redjuice, the famous illustrator behind the image art of Hatsune Miku's World is Mine, as well as a member of Supercell. Fans of redjuice's art might be disappointed, because the anime did not try to translate redjuice's artstyle at all. However, they looks great nonetheless. The directions of the action scenes is also another highlight, which I will show you later.
- Music in Guilty Crown: The second reason why you are still watching it. The vocals are composed by the previously mentioned Supercell, and the OST are composed by Sawano Hiroyuki, who also composed for Gundam UC. Both of them did an amazing job at the music. Words are meaningless, so let's let the music itself, along with amazing visual I spoke of do the job:
Overall, if you think you can tolerate the rushed story and enjoy the music and visual, do give it a try. If not, give it a try anyway, I have heard people who actually like the story and ending, you might be one of them.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
The original version is banned on Youtube, so let's substitute it with the Blazblue version, as always.
Genre: Magical Girl/Drama/Sci-Fi
Studio: Shaft (Bakemonogatari, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Hidamari Sketch)
Director: Shinbo Akiyuki (Bakemonogatari, Arakawa Under the B... you know the rest)
Adapted From: Original
Localized By: Aniplex of America
Yuuki Aoi/Christine Marie Cabanos as Kaname Madoka
Saito Chiwa/Cristina Vee as Akemi Homura
Kitamura Eri/Sarah Williams as Miki Sayaka
Mizuhashi Kaori/Carrie Keranen as Tomoe Mami
Nonaka Ai/Lauren Landa as Sakura Kyouko
Katou Emiri/Cassandra Lee as Kyubey／人◕ ‿‿ ◕人＼
Kaname Madoka is an ordinary middle schooler, living a normal just like everyone else. One day, a mysterious transfer student, Akemi Homura appeared in front of her, and changed everything in her ordinary life. The day Homura transfered, Madoka saw her chasing and trying to kill a mysterious creature known as Kyubey after school. After being rescued by one of her upperclassman Tomoe Mami, who claimed herself to be a magical girl, Kyubey told Madoka that he wants her to make a contract with her to become a magical girl, and by that she will be able to be granted with a wish.
Before I talk about my opinion, let's talk about some facts. I guess this anime is one of the popular ones where everyone have heard of, but never actually watched. If you never heard of it, you either haven't watch anime for a long time, don't watch anime at all, or you just live under a rock. It won the 16th Animation Kobe Award, 15th Japan Media Arts Festival Animation Award along with the art value officially approved by the Japanese government, Seiun Award of "best animation" in 2012, Best TV Animation, total 14 awards in Newtype in 2011 (basically every damn awards except male cast, mech designs, and best film), best selling BluRay in history so far, heck, it's gonna take the whole page to list them all. Factually speaking, it's literally the best and most critically acclaimed anime in 2011.
Story & Character
- The story, well, it's actually nothing new. I can't talk about it too much since it's gonna be big spoilers. However, it managed to create a delusion that makes you think you are watching something generic and predictable, and then the whole thing just turn into a total opposite of what you expect and f**king blow your mind 10 kilometers away. Ever played the game Spec Ops: The Line? It's kinda like that, but replace the generic third person shooter part with generic magical girl anime. The story itself is very character driven, as most of the time, it uses the character developments to present the story. The character developments are very detailed as well, with each of them serve a purpose and play a solid role in the story.
Presentation & Visual
- The presentation is the biggest part of it's charm. The story itself is not the one that hooks you, but the way they presented it to you. The story start off simple, but it slowly reveals itself to be something else with a very well pacing. How the scenes and camera angle are being handle also helped a lot at building up the atmosphere and the character developments, which brings us to another strength of the show, the visuals. The light and shadow are probably the biggest highlight in the visual department. If you pay some attention to them, there are lots of shading here, from the ones that represent the realism, to the surreal ones that represent the characters' emotions. You can tell there lots of effort put into the lighting and shading for various reason. There are also many surreal story tellings. My favorite ones are the scene where Jyouka's past was told through a puppet show in the background and the scene where they are fighting the shadow witch (can't talk about them too much due to spoilers, but those who watched it should know what I am talking about). And of course, there is very strong Shinbo's style: The bizarre designs of the magical girls' enemies, the Witches are also very unique, they are definitely something that you rarely see in an anime, heck, in any TV shows/movies. The musics are composed by Kajiura Yuki, a very famous composer in the video game industry, and the OST in here are definitely one of her best works.
So yeah, if you haven't watched it yet, I, along with many others, strongly suggest you to do so. All I can say is that there is a reason why it is so critically acclaimed. I don't watch anime until they are finished, and this is one the super rare exception. I still remember the days I was waiting for a new episode to get impressed every week. To me, it's a work of art.
Senki Zesshou Symphogear
Studio: Satelite (Macross Frontier/Aquarion Evol)
Director: Itou Tatsufumi (Shugo Chara!)
Adapted From: Original
Localized By: Funimation
Yuuki Aoi as Tachibana Hibiki
Mizuki Nana as Kazanari Tsubasa
Takagaki Ayahi as Yukine Chris
Ikuchi Yuka as Kohinata Miku
Takayama Minami as Amo Kanade
Ishikawa Hideo as Kazanari Genjuro
Sawashiro Miyuki as Sakurai Ryoko
Takes place in the future, an alien life form known as Noise become a thread to humans. An idol group Zwei Wing, formed by Amo Kanade and Kazanari Tsubasa, are actually the users of Symphogear, and armor suits which allows them to fight against the noise. One day, while they were holding a concert, Noise started to appear and attack the audiences. The two of them immediately transform into their Symphogear form, with the whole progress being witness by one of their fan Tachibana Hibiki. Two years later, while Hibiki always thought that it was just a dream, she didn't realized that the event two years ago is starting to change her.
- Chessy, super cheesy. Everything happens in the story can be easily predicted, but I say that's the charm of it. It's just something that meant to be enjoy in a cheesy way, you know, like Gangnam Style. What needs to be praised though, it's the pacing. It manage to avoid dragging for too long on something you already know or you don't care, and skip right into the part you want to see. That is sadly, something that many TV shows/movies fail to do lately, and it's glad to see this show right here gets it right.
- The quality of the animation is pretty polarizing. Apparently they spend most of the budget into the concert and action scenes. Outside of those, there quite a few derpy faces. But the animations in the action scene is fantastic, to the point that it makes you wonder are you even watching the same anime.
- One of the unique thing in here is the setting of how the characters have to sing and fight in the same time. All the singing are actually not pre-recorded, so you can hear the character's singing with their tone changing randomly due to the fact that they are fighting and breathing hard in the same time, which can sound pretty bad (of course, they are intentional, you will know what I mean when you watch it), a thumbs up to the voice actor on this part. Musics are rather subjective, but they are composed by the same guy who composed for Wild Arms 5, so if you enjoy the music in that game, you will most likely like the music here too. I personally found them rather pleasant to my ears.
Overall, if you are looking for an anime with a deep story with some innovative story telling, you are in the wrong place. But if you are here just to sit back, relax and enjoy the cheesiness and anime hotbloodness, you are welcomed.
And yes, that's where my avatar pic comes from.
So, there is another one I want to talk about, but I am dead tired right now, and Nerubian did complain about the lack of yandere, so I might start watching Mirai Nikki next week, and write it up along with it.