Posts with the “powers” tag

Bait and switch

A review of the Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de anime series

There’s a character in Inou Battle, not a main character mind you, he’s barely even a secondary character really, but he says something in the series’ ninth episode that more or less sums up my feelings for it:

[I’m] just your average, everyday reader, who wants to see something interesting or enjoyable

You and me both tertiary character man. Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de (When supernatural battles become commonplace) sells itself in its title and in its first episode as teenagers suddenly gaining supernatural powers and then duking it out. Chronicle in anime form essentially. Only the “battles” of the title aren’t at all commonplace because they don’t happen at all until the very last episode; instead of these battles we get a gorgeously presented but utterly rote campus love comedy.

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What has science wrought?!

A review of the A Certain Scientific Railgun S anime

First released: April 2013
Version reviewed: TV

For a series set in a near-future, science-driven city, the second season of A Certain Scientific Railgun (now with the “S” suffix) certainly paints a dim view of science and scientists. All of them barring the “good” one are shown as bespectacled loons with no regard for human life and a casual relationship with morals.

Academy City is lovingly rendered and plays host to the ongoing adventures of Mikasa Mikoto - the titular “railgun” - and her cohorts. Split roughly into two interlocking stories, the plot follows an experiment to advance a top level esper - those with varying X-Men like super powers - beyond anything seen before, and a spurned scientist’s attempts to demonstrate that even with their powers, espers are just as powerless as those without.

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Brave new world

A review of the Shinsekai Yori anime

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.

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Bygones: Boogiepop Phantom

First released: January 2000

Boogiepop Phantom is a series which immediately makes one wonder whether their television is functioning correctly. Shortly after the melancholy opening it adds the speakers to that list. By the end of the first episode it adds the viewer's brain. It is a reverie of madness, murder, altered states and narrative intrigue: each episode teasing an explanation but rarely delivering in full, each appearance of the titular Boogiepop - or is it the Manticore? - promising a new thread to tie in with the myriad others. Existing in a microcosm of light novels, manga and a live-action movie as well as sharing idiosyncrasies and the brutally obtuse style of its spiritual predecessor, Serial Experiments Lain, the question the series' lineage poses is whether it can stand by itself or whether it relies too much on its forebears and source material to support itself.

some of the darkest aspects of humanity are explored with obsession, madness and memories playing a key role

A month before the opening of the series, a pillar of light erupts in a nameless cityscape, dragging it into darkness. Those who witness the light began to change, much like the city itself, now with a permanent aurora in the sky and a magnetic field that makes compasses useless and corrodes metal at a frightening rate. Those who changed exhibit strange powers: the ability to see and consume insects clutching peoples' chests, the power to separate composite objects like coffee or humans even the capability to show people scenes of their pasts. All the while they are stalked by the urban legend Boogiepop, supposedly the personification of death, who appears without warning to rid the world of the deviations that have sprung up. Clandestine talk of impossibly powerful corporations and unnatural evolution ensure that understanding the circumstances behind all of the strange occurrences will not be straightforward.

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