Trying to encapsulate what Shinsekai Yori (From The New World) is “about” is tricky task. It’s no more about a future where everyone has psychic powers than it is about human relationships with those weaker than themselves. That it is about so many big concepts is its greatest strength; its greatest weakness however is implementation. The three-volume source work is carved up and thrown together with the best of intentions, but the sheer scale and boldness of its ideas, story and direction means that the end result demands a lot of faith from the viewer.
“a very private catastrophe”
That faith is rewarded though with a superb atmosphere, heartfelt character-led drama and, most of all, a supreme amount of imagination. That the series succeeds overall despite of its numerous flaws is testament to how far a good story and a great cast can make up for scrappy animation and haphazard delivery. Read the rest of this entry
In a world where tanks are a part of everyday life, and pre-UN countries send teenage girls out in war machines to fight not to the death, but to the white flag, one rag-tag team will face their toughest opponent yet. Can they overcome all the odds, work as a team and deal with all of their various family issues and rise to the top?
Of course they can. Girls Und Panzer is an underdog story with just about every trope from the genre ticked off. Think Cool Runnings as an anime, except tanks instead of bobsleds. The knowledge that the girls of Oorai High School can’t lose – at least not always in conventional terms – should make this a by the numbers affair. That it manages to be not only supremely entertaining but equally tense and heartfelt speaks volumes for a familiar idea well implemented. Read the rest of this entry
In an attempt to do something a little different to the information dump that was my last Evangelion post, I’ve made a micro-site for my Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo thoughts and theories and musings: evangelion3x.chaostangent.com.
Any feedback you have on this experiment, content corrections, technical misgivings or general Evangelion banter, please use the comments below (n.b. spoilers).
Sasami-san@Ganbaranai (Sasami@Unmotivated) is very SHAFT. A useless description as everything the studio produces is by definition very SHAFT, but as an adjective it encapsulates the studio’s infamous approach: an unwavering confidence in delivery, a devotion to pop-culture and often a production led by designers rather than artists and script writers rather than story. In the pantheon of its shows then, Sasami-san has far less protracted banter than Bakemonogatari but a stronger narrative than Tsukuyomi.
But it’s still inescapably SHAFT, and it may be the tired old man in me, but I really wish it wasn’t.
“time travelling golems and family members repeatedly rising from the underworld”
As a modern take on the the collage of stories from Japan’s spiritual history it’s fascinating and barrels through the often mercurial Shinto “religion” with its rich pool of deities and paraphernalia, from Amaterasu to Kagusutchi. This isn’t however My-HiME’s naming of super-powered critters, or the sword naming scheme of innumerable JRPGs, but a fresh story with these multifarious gods and demons set in modern day and all its trappings. Coupled with a dreamy pastel art-style and animation that shoots precipitously from “we’ll fix this in the Blu-ray release” to “three animators died producing this” and all the pieces are in place for a must-watch bonanza. Read the rest of this entry
Your enjoyment of Vividred Operation can be accurately measured by whether you prefix “bums” with “little girl” in the phrase “it’s full of bums”. Thankfully you don’t need to wait long for an answer as it’s a scant twenty seconds into the first episode before a sunrise from the top of the Tokyo Sky Tree is framed between the legs and crotch of the series’ antagonist. You can switch off right there (advisable if your screen is in any way publicly visible) and be safe in the knowledge that the series doesn’t get much better.
“the smaller the girl, the bigger the hammer”
As an entry into the “magical girl” genre it feels a lot like painting by numbers. Spunky and earnest protagonist that acts as the lynchpin of the group? Check. Antagonist who must be won over by the all-encompassing power of friendship? Check. Colour coded sentai team? Check. And yes, red is the leader. Everyone knows that. Read the rest of this entry