Posts with the “bygones” tag

The power of dreams

A review of the One Off OVAs

Intrinsically I understand that anime has to make money, and that collaborations and product placement are just one way of doing that. Even in its native Japan anime home video sales vary wildly between franchises and advertisements and sponsorships only go so far. One Off feels a little different though with its very prominent Honda partnership.

the familiar sense of personal discovery and heart swelling Sunday matinee ethos

Of course there is the classic story of the original Gundam being produced solely to sell toys, while Pizza Hut has been in everything from Code Geass to Nanoha to Darker than Black; even critically loved shows like Kara no Kyoukai or Steins;Gate have Häagen-Dazs and Dr Pepper respectively. There’s something different about Honda being at the heart of One Off though that isn’t so much product placement as core marketing message.

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On Candy Boy and Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san

There seems to be a bit of selective memory going on when poeple describe how they came to watch the Candy Boy anime; sheepishly wondering how something like this could ever end up on their playlist. I watched it because of Tumblr, and like the slice of that site that I subscribe to, the series looks, in screenshots at least, very good if slightly dated now just over six years later. Even for an animation clod like me though, once you start watching it (however did this end up here?!) you realise the seven/nine/ten episode series is little more than a very pretty slideshow.

all the signs point to it being there, it just needs to be proved. With a particle accelerator

It’s a small step up from the “drama” extras you get on the home video releases of some series (Code Geass’ Nunnally in Wonderland springs instantly to mind): copious dialogue over a handful of still images. Candy Boy manages some animation - mostly cheek pulling and flapping mouths - but lives up to its subtitle: “Nonchalant talk of the certain twin sisters in daily life”.

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Chocks away

Thoughts on the Yukikaze novel and OVAs

It’s an intractable problem with converting a book to another medium: your outlook of the franchise as a whole is almost entirely dependant upon which media you consume first. It’s perhaps not such an issue with light novels translated into anime given that the two are, structurally and narratively at least, very close. For a novel like Yukikaze though? A novel that is often mentioned in the same breath as Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and George Orwell’s 1984. In this instance I read the first novel - simply Yukikaze - before seeing the 2002, five episode OVA series - Sentou Yousei Yukikaze (Battle Fairy Yukikaze) - and though I obviously can’t say for sure, I’m fairly certain had I seen the latter first, I would be disinclined to read the former.

the book questions humanity in an inhuman war, the OVAs postulate a kind of quiet insurgency by our own machines

Starting this argument with “It’s not that bad, but” is tantamount to starting a conversation with “I’m not racist, but” - the justification invariably ends up contradicting your opening statement. The OVAs are extraordinarily gorgeous, and especially so for their time, it’s no wonder that Gonzo - then at the height of their creative power - twice won awards for it’s visual work on the series. Unfortunately however they take the plot of book, smash it into jagged pieces and disjointedly try and fit them back together in the hope that they make some kind of sense. They don’t. Coming out several years after it, I can’t rule out that the second novel (that I haven’t read), Good Luck Yukikaze, somehow contextualises the direction the series stakes including the wholly original final episode; my gut feeling though is that the OVAs will remain as inscrutable as they’re perhaps intended to be.

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Fate's shadow

A review of the Fate/Zero anime

First released: October 2011
Version reviewed: BluRay

I will never be ready to talk about Type-Moon’s works with any kind of certainty. I only have to glance at a page on the relevant Wikia to realise that what I know is but a sliver of what is, somehow, established lore. I’ve even forgone calling it the “Nasuverse”; even that term seems questionable when you consider Fate/Zero was originally a light novel written by Gen Urobuchi (he of Madoka and Psycho Pass heritage) and turned into an anime series in 2011.

breaking the spirit and bodies of those he faces before gifting them an ignominious death

It is with some certainty that I can say Fate/Zero is a prequel to Fate/stay night (surely dividing “Fate” by zero would be undefined…) and is, in every regard, immeasurably better than it. Well, better than 2006 Studio Deen produced series at least, the recently announced "new chapter" is still an unknown quantity. Sumptuously produced by UFOTable (see also: Kara no Kyoukai) and with a plot that bares its mettle from the outset, the story of the fourth Holy Grail war is dark, vicious, and mind-bogglingly spectacular.

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Bygones: Aria the Animation

First released: October 2005

Aria: The Animation is a holiday - from sexual innuendo, from noise, from fighting and from bustle. As it meanders along, content to show the placid toil of the gondoliers in training - geishas of the canals in everything but name - each episode becomes less about individual triumphs and pacing and more about getting lost in the tranquillity the series has gushing from it. The series may not be to everyone's taste, it is as much a holiday from drama and plotting as everything else, but for those looking to escape into a pastel coloured reverie there really is no better series; especially so for fans of gentle voices, lilting music, oddly proportioned cats and occasional time travel.

charmingly naive and has an infectious enthusiasm that elevates her above the common ultra-virtuous stereotype
Mars, once barren and harsh is now Aqua, flush with water and tamed by technology it is a utopia away from Earth - now Manhome. In the canal-city of Neo-Venezia, gondolas are the best way to travel and the water-ways are run by three companies: the smallest Aria, the biggest Orange Planet, and the oldest Himeya. After traveling from Manhome, Akari becomes an apprentice in Aria Company under the tutelage of the beautiful Alicia - one of the three Water Faeries of the city. Akari may not be the best gondolier - Undine in the series jargon - however she is affable and enjoys life, able to find happiness in the smallest of things. Along with two friends, her time on Aqua is replete with adventures both emotional and personal.

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