Air Master Episode 13

"Shine On! Skystar"

airmaster.jpgWell, I guess I should start out by saying that the art in this series doesn't do it for me. At all. That's not a good place to start. If you happen to like this style of art, then you should probably take what I have to say with a grain of salt. In addition, I haven't seen the previous twelve episodes of this show, so I'm probably more than a bit clueless.

3:57 is about where I'd have given up on this show if I didn't want to try and write a review for it. The art and butch female voices of the wrestlers was just not doing it for me. And, unfortunately, to be honest, even then I was only able to make it about another two minutes.

From the credits and what I saw fast forwarding through the rest of this episode, if you can get past the art and those voices (ugh), there's some kind of cool martial arts or something. I dunno, really.

Rating: F (Incomplete)

Posted by Kei at 01:11 AM | Comments (5)

First Kiss Story

Well, I might be grossly misinterpreting something, but I'm about one hundred percent sure that this anime provides more of what I've definitely been missing from my anime lately:

Incestuous relationships!

Seriously though, what the hell! In this one, we've got a brother-sister relationship that is openly endorsed by their mother and sister.

Moving on! Animation is pretty (with the exception of some badly-integrated CG at the end), and generally pleasant to look at. Only one episode, so we're not exactly talking great character development, and it's actually all really pretty shallow. This is another show based off of a game, and it definitely exudes that particular quality (if you've watched a few based off dating sims or H-games, you know what I mean) that all shows of this genre give off.

The story is about a long distance relationship that is slowly breaking down over time, and some of the missteps they encounter along the way. Toss in some other characters to add to the confusion, and see if distance makes the heart grow fonder.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 12:49 AM | Comments (0)

Kaze no Yojimbo Episode 22

kazenoyojimbo.jpgIn honor of Kaze no Yojimbo's licensing, I thought I'd throw up a review of an episode. Again, the joys of watching one episode from a series past number twenty.

Wow, I was thinking this show was pretty good until the last five minutes, where in the climactic showdown of the episode, the creators of the show decided that to increase tension, they'd shake the camera. I guess the scene is so intense that REALITY ITSELF is trembling from the implications. Yeah, so basically it's pointless except to make you a little annoyed having to focus on a screen that is bouncing all over the place. Top that off with the fact that the climactic showdown ends with the bad guy... swallowing a bullet. I'm not a doctor, but I don't think that's really a healthy thing to do...

Also, come on. A guy is surrounded on all sides, he's climbing up with no apparent means of escape, and this badass bodyguard can't figure out what's going to happen? Maybe he should have watched a few more action movies.

The pacing of this show was slow in the beginning, but accelerated towards the end, where most of the action took place. It was interesting, and I'll most likely keep an eye out for the US release of this show to see what it's all about.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

Naruto Episode 48

"Gaara Crushed!! It's Youth! Power! And Explosion!"

naruto.jpgI've loosely been following Naruto in Shonen Jump, and while it isn't my favorite of the manga in the anthology, I do find it somewhat entertaining. The art style of the anime is reminiscient of the manga, but not quite spot on. The character designs range from mildly interesting to ugly (Lee, with his weird bowl cut and overly round eyes).

Jumping in at episode forty-eight, it appears that ninja of many different clans have assembled for some sort of tournament. The action is slow and plodding in general, with a very Dragonball-esque pace to it (wherein two combatants fight, but the majority of time is given over to the various observers' commentary about the battle, one move at a time).

Lee, a ninja who is unable to use special ninja powers, and must rely only on his physical ability, is battling a ninja who makes use of sand as armor against Lee's attacks. The setup is actually fairly interesting, and the episode ends with an interesting leadin to the the next.

The show is animated with a mix of two dimensional images on a three dimensional background (used for moving the camera quickly during the fight scenes). The two styles doesn't quite mesh correctly though, but the effect is passable (but not good).

Naruto is a show that will appeal greatly to its intended audience. If you liked Dragonball and Rurouni Kenshin, and never had a single complaint about the pacing, you'll probably like Naruto, too.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 04:06 PM | Comments (1)

Popotan Episode 8

"Christmas"

popotan.jpgThe opening theme song could easily be likened to getting a lobotomy without anesthetics. You might think it unfair for me to make that comparison, having never had a lobotomy, anesthetics or no, but I'm actually referring to which one I'd prefer more.

One striking thing about the character designs (retch) is the eyes! I've never seen the blacks of a human's eyes so vividly depicted... Larger than the whites of the eyes... I... God, I don't know.

Clearly, I am not in the target audience of this show, but being the trooper that I am, I'll try and sludge through it. By the way, you probably won't like this show either if those insanely squeaky, helium-propelled anime girl voices annoy you. I know I have a headache from just watching this show.

But hey, this is the show for the pedophile in you! Nothing like anatomically-correct little prepubescent girls in bath scenes describing each others breasts! Oh my god! What the hell is wrong with this show? Other high points include the delightfully off-key version of Silent Night playing in the background.

Anyways, this was some sort of Christmas special or something (could you tell from the title), and it didn't really get me in the Christmas spirit or anything, and it was generally pretty terrible. Maybe the actual show is better, but I don't know and don't really care to find out.

Rating: F

Posted by Kei at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

Stellvia of the Universe Episode 22

"Each Separate Path"

stellviaoftheuniverse.jpgAh, the joys of picking up a series after episode twenty.

The character designs for the show lean over to the overly-cute side (I don't dig the super-huge eyes, but that's just me), and seem very Xenogears/Xenosaga-like. The outer space scenes are CG, but they're a little sloppy and cheap-looking. This show reminds me how I don't like the trend in anime that big battles with mechs, spaceships, etc. are all CG. Obviously, this saves money, but their CG techniques just do not mesh well with the hand drawn art. Cowboy Bebop, for example, did a much better job of matching the styles, through sparing (key word) use of CG.

The ship designs are interesting, but the way they bounce around spastically through space really borders on ridiculous. On the other hand, the one mech I saw in the episode looked pretty stupid. The arms and legs are a bunch of flat rectangles, attached to a round torso and head. Maybe "lanky" is the right word to describe it. Anyways, it looks stupid.

The plot of the show deals with something called the Genesis mission, which manages to be referenced about thirty times, but never explained (I'm guessing there have been many explanations of this in the past, so it's really my fault). With the absolute nothing that comprises what I know about this show's story, it still managed to seem interesting, and I'm actually curious about what will happen in the next few episodes.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)

Stellvia of the Universe Episode 23

"That's Why You Exist"

stellviaoftheuniverse.jpgThe title of this episode refers to a very stupid line near the end, where Shima's mom explains to Shima that she met her father, they fell in love, they made love, and "that's why you exist".

The Genesis Mission rapidly approaches, and preparations for it hit a fever pitch. Because of a lack of information given out by the government and the space agency, civilian unrest is growing, thinking that they are being told to fight to the end, and stay where they are, while government officials and their families are being evacuated.

Closer to home, Shima continues to have difficulty in learning the system for her new mech, and relationship problems are interfering with her concentration.

There's some good stuff in this episode, kind of an intriguing show (but I just can't get over those eyes).

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

Ultra Maniac Episode 16

"Pinch Hitter"

ultramaniac.jpgHaving started Ultra Maniac on episode sixteen, I'm almost certainly missing out on this shows nuances (if by any happy chance they exist). The show's about this girl named Mina. She's a wtich, and she's been sent to earth to study. Apparently, magic users in this world can only cast spells with the aid of their highly complex computers.

The quality of the animation is not great, but it's passable. The character designs are fairly average. In fact, this show just seems to exude averageness. The sound effects are a bit below average (a good example is when one of the ball players connects with his wooden bat, which makes a triumphant metal sound).

As ridiculous as it is to complain about realism in anime (on top of that, an anime with magic-using girls who level up), I found it a little hard to swallow that Kaji gets hit in the head (wearing a helmet) by a baseball hard enough that he would have to be taken to a hospital. For a real life comparison, when Sammy Sosa was hit by a fastball in the head, it shattered his helmet, but he wasn't more than a little dazed (but maybe that's just the steroids).

All in all, Ultra Maniac is a fairly standard magical girl (witch, in this case) in a lighthearted shoujo romantic comedy anime. It doesn't do all that much to distinguish itself, but it's another one of those series if that's what you want to see.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 01:54 AM | Comments (1)