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561

Two for Catullus, One for markhl and Shaky... New Anime Reviews
Topic by: hamano
Posted: April 3, 2005 - 1:40 PM PDT
Last Reply: June 14, 2005 - 4:10 PM PDT

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author topic: Two for Catullus, One for markhl and Shaky... New Anime Reviews
hamano
post #1  on April 3, 2005 - 1:40 PM PDT  
Samurai Champloo, Gankutsuou and School Rumble are over. Another new season of shows is starting up in Japan, and there are some new DVDs too. Post your reviews and recommendations here.
hamano
post #2  on April 3, 2005 - 2:21 PM PDT  
Two for Catullus:

MAR - Marchen Awakens Romance
I complain a lot when there's a new show with a plot that's just like a game... Well, here's another one, and it's sponsored by Konami... This is about a geeky kid (glasses, no athletic abilities, plays games all day) who dreams (literally, every night for 108 straight nights) about going to this magic land where he can be a HERO. One day a portal opens up in the middle of his class room and as the bullies drop him and run away, the kid sees a GATE! Catullus, the main symbol for this world is a round face (like an AOL emoticon) with plus signs for eyes and a looong blue tongue hanging out of a smiley mouth. On the other side of the portal, the kid doesn't need glasses any more and he can punch holes through rock with his fists! This is gonna be more awesome than Otogizoushi!

Fushigi Hoshi Futago Hime
This one is actually quite cute... maybe Bunny will like this one, and Chiyo-chan might enjoy drawing the characters. And of course you will like it, Cat. I enjoyed the funny parts... the twin princesses of the Sunny Kingdom are actually pretty adorable. They're a bit like Ahiru's two friends from Princess Tutu. They receive magic items from the ghost of Princess Grace, a famous ancestor of theirs. They have to go forth and do good deeds, and apparently they can earn enough goody Princess Points to save their world from being swallowed up by darkness. I don't know if I'll be able to stand this treacly sweet show for 52 episodes, but K-boy adored all the characters and creatures (Princess Fine and Princess Lain also get a cute little animal sidekick to guide them in their quest... what is that, a monkey? A teddy bear? A puppy? A CAT?

One for markhl and Shaky:

Salaryman Kintaro
Kinda like Great Teacher Onizuka, but I think the manga for this show preceded GTO. Kintaro used to be a tough bousouzoku (motorbike gang) leader, who united a bunch of warring gangs before he married a girl from a peaceful fishing village. The wife, Akemi, dies giving birth to a son. Kintaro, now a single dad, decides he needs to enter mainstream society to give his son a proper upbringing. Fortunately, he has a special relationship with the head of a big construction company in Tokyo (this is not revealed in episode one, which has just been fansubbed). This CEO sees something in Kintaro that could breathe new life into the spirits of today's Japanese salarymen, who have grown flabby and stagnant. When Kintaro arrives, a special assignment is waiting for him.... sharpening pencils for the architectural design department with a box-cutter! Did you know you can kill someone by jamming a sharp pen into his temple? Well, nothing like that happens in Salaryman Kintaro, but I read some of the manga a few years back, and this promises to be an amusing show...

Oh, if anyone took my advice a while back to check out Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu (tweeny witches), and like it, there's a treat that just went up. It's a fansub of the first Arusu DVD, and there's a really wonderful little intro section (music and beautiful drawings) that segues into an OP sequence that shows off the incredible design and art of the series. There's also a proper ED sequence featuring the DU*DI*DU*WA LA-LA-LA song by KOTONO.

In the meantime, we're continuing with Monster, Bleach, Peach Girl, Black Jack, and Poirot&Marple. Oh, and MAJOR.
Catullus
post #3  on April 3, 2005 - 8:19 PM PDT  
I really like the animation style on the second rec, but the first one I can't stand at all, just from what little I can tell of it you are way off on my taste. 2nd one looks great tho. as soon as someone fansubs it ill be all over it.
Catullus
post #4  on April 3, 2005 - 8:23 PM PDT  
I have a new wallpaper now, thanks Hamtaro

http://futagohime.jp/kabegami/kabegami.html
hamano
post #5  on April 3, 2005 - 8:27 PM PDT  
> On April 3, 2005 - 8:19 PM PDT Catullus wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I really like the animation style on the second rec, but the first one I can't stand at all, just from what little I can tell of it you are way off on my taste.

I know I know... I was just kidding. I wouldn't touch it again with a 10 foot pole, either. It was really icky. The twin princess one is really cute, though, ain't it?
ahogue
post #6  on April 4, 2005 - 9:40 AM PDT  
Hm. Can't seem to find Salaryman Kintaro right now. Looks interesting.
Shaky
post #7  on April 4, 2005 - 11:39 AM PDT  
> On April 4, 2005 - 9:40 AM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Hm. Can't seem to find Salaryman Kintaro right now. Looks interesting.
> ---------------------------------

http://thehawks.org/hawks/bt/[hawks]salaryman_kintaro_ep_-_01v2.avi.torrent
ahogue
post #8  on April 4, 2005 - 7:01 PM PDT  
> On April 4, 2005 - 11:39 AM PDT Shaky wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> http://thehawks.org/hawks/bt/[hawks]salaryman_kintaro_ep_-_01v2.avi.torrent
> ---------------------------------

Thanks, Skaky. Maybe this is a stupid question, but "ep_-_01v2" presumably means that it's the first episode of the second volume (disc? season?), right?
ahogue
post #9  on April 4, 2005 - 7:02 PM PDT  
> On April 4, 2005 - 7:01 PM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On April 4, 2005 - 11:39 AM PDT Shaky wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > http://thehawks.org/hawks/bt/[hawks]salaryman_kintaro_ep_-_01v2.avi.torrent
> > ---------------------------------
>
> Thanks, Skaky. Maybe this is a stupid question, but "ep_-_01v2" presumably means that it's the first episode of the second volume (disc? season?), right?
> ---------------------------------


Oops. Sorry about the typo.
hamano
post #10  on April 4, 2005 - 7:19 PM PDT  
> On April 4, 2005 - 7:01 PM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Thanks, Skaky. Maybe this is a stupid question, but "ep_-_01v2" presumably means that it's the first episode of the second volume (disc? season?), right?

No. This usually indicates that there was something wrong with the first fansubbed version this group put out. There might have been a technical defect (an encoding glitch, sound out of sync, etc.) Or there might have been some really poorly translated lines.

There's some one-upsmanship between different fansub groups to see who can get an accurate fansub out first. Sometimes they're sloppy.

Anyway, the convention with anime fansubs is to number the episodes sequentially as long as the title remains the same, even if the series goes over several seasons. Most shows end with episode 13, 26 or 52. Sometimes there's a break, and the show comes back under a different title. This is considered to be a new series, and the numbers start at 01 again, even if the show is essentially a continuation of the first season. An example for that would be Ai Yori Aoshi (24 episodes), which continued as Ai Yori Aoshi: Enishi (for 12 more episodes). This is not unusual.

Some long-running shows with no title changes now number in triple digits... One Piece, Naruto and Prince of Tennis, for example.

In files with live action American television shows, the convention is a bit different... usually they designate a season number and a show number. So House MD Season 1 Episode 9 might be something like House.S01E09.avi or House.109.avi or something like that.
Shaky
post #11  on April 4, 2005 - 8:41 PM PDT  
To simplify Hamano's answer, "v2" at the end of the file name means "version 2." You'll also see "ver2" occasionally. Sometimes there will be a note wherever the torrent is posted explaining why a second version was necessary; sometimes not. I didn't see an explanation with this one. Usually when a second version is issued, the first version is no longer seeded and dies.

Maybe you were thinking about manga titles. Seeing a "v" in a manga scanslation file title usually does mean "volume." For example, "Berserk v28c243p164.tif" is volume 28, chapter 243, page 164 of Berserk (which is as far as I've gotten so far in reading it).
ahogue
post #12  on April 5, 2005 - 12:19 AM PDT  
Thanks to both of you. That has saved me a great deal of confusion. I am downloading that file as we speak (or, I guess I should say, as I type).

I just watched the first episode of Gankutsuou and it's very intriguing. The artwork is striking but the 2D-3D quality of it is throwing me off a bit. Especially the way the textures don't move with the the animation but just seem to show through. I look forward to watching more of it tomorrow.
hamano
post #13  on April 5, 2005 - 6:21 AM PDT  
> On April 5, 2005 - 12:19 AM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I just watched the first episode of Gankutsuou and it's very intriguing. The artwork is striking but the 2D-3D quality of it is throwing me off a bit. Especially the way the textures don't move with the the animation but just seem to show through. I look forward to watching more of it tomorrow.

That's exactly the problem I had with the first episode, watching the carnivale scene on Luna I thought, "Oh, here goes Studio GONZO (Last Exile) with more of their attempts to meld CG and analog drawing..." I think AFleming thought it was a bit off putting, too. You'd think you'd get motion sickness from watching the hair and clothes textures...

But once you get into the story the textures sort of blend into the general richness of the imagery... by the time Haydee and Eugenie began appearing at "the Opera" (Haydee on the arms of the count, Eugenie to play her recital, etc.) I was used to it enough that I really appreciated what the artists were doing. Haydee, the Count's exotic "consort" wears these beautiful, elaborate kimono-like outfits. And Eugenie wears a golden sheath of a dress for her recital, and with the sparkly texture in her hair to match it she looks gorgeous. The whole show is as visually challenging and at the same time rewarding as the OP sequence from Elfen Lied.

The graphic arts side of anime is an element that personally I'm a big fan of. I'm very happy with what the artists were able to accomplish with the design of Gankutsuou. They came up with a very distinctive and original design concept for the show, stuck with it through 24 episodes, and for the most part pulled it off. I think the fighting armor suits showed some compromises being made, but there were other scenes where I just sat their rapt with my mouth hanging open.

At the forefront of CG assisted animation nowadays is an effort to make the physics and the backgrounds as realistic and 3D as possible, and they make the characters look photorealistic, too, as much as they can, to fit in. I'm thinking of something like the new Appleseed. But Gankutsuou is based very self-consciously in flat 2D art. It's like watching a story woven or sewn into a tapestry or quilt coming to life.

My big quibble was with the OP and ED songs. The graphics in the OP sequence are beautiful charcoal/ink drawings, and the ED sequence is a stunning visual tour-de-force that summarizes the whole series. But why did they hire a French guy to write goofy lyrics in ENGLISH? And why does he get so out of tune while singing? I think they should have hired a singer to sing in French, to go along with the French intro voice-over narration, but this kind of weird crap happens once in a while (the "American English" spoken by some of the characters in BECK, for example) when the producers don't think it'll make much difference to a Japanese audience. I saw a Japanese live action show once where they had hired a foreign actor to play an American... his English was fine, but he had a really thick Australian accent! I'm sure 99% of the audience for that show would never have known...
hamano
post #14  on April 5, 2005 - 7:44 AM PDT  
Three more in the bag.

KoiKoi Seven

Stay away from this one unless you really really need that extra little dose of ecchi in your life. Typical harem-anime hero (ie. nerdy kid with glasses) arrives at his new school to find it ruled by a "student council" of mean rich girls. He is saved from humiliation at their hands by a band of 6 (6? Aren't there supposed to be 7?) girls with superpowers who take a special interest in his welfare. Lots of flashes of panties of all colors is what ensues, along with some battles where the "student council" comes at the Koikoi7 with battle robots and attack helicopters.

The art for this show is mediocre and the voice acting is about the same as your run of the mill hentai show. It might have been worth watching if the creators showed any hint of self-parody, but I'm afraid they're dead serious, in their own way. If you want to see smart parody of the super-high-school-girl genre, go see Project A-ko again.

The Law of Ueki

From the first episode I can't be sure yet if this is a show in the boys/fighting-game genre like Shaman King or Yu-gi-ou. The drawing is really crappy, and the style reminds me of One Piece. I'm holding out hope that this is a spoof of the fighting-boy genre, because I have to confess to liking the first episode enough to make me want to keep watching. The premise is that there are a 100 beings on the earth who are candidates to become the next "God"... A crazy looking Japanese middle school teacher is one of these. Each "God-candidate" chooses a promising middle school age kid to be his champion in a series of battles. The sponsor of the winning kid becomes the next "God".

The teacher, Koba-sen (short for Kobayashi Sensei) chooses a disaffected boy named Ueki to be his fighter. He gives the boy a choice of super-battling powers, demonstrating one by smashing a big tree into bits. Ueki asks if there is a power that can restore the tree. Koba-sen gives him the power to grow trees out of litter (this happens the way Eat-man produces cannons out of his hand, except Ueki doesn't have to eat the litter first). Ueki restores the smashed tree, and tells Koba-sen that's all he wants. Koba-sen gives Ueki one rule he has to follow... if he uses the tree-power to hurt people, he will lose a "sai" which is one of the aspects of what comprises Ueki's personality. By the end of episode 1 Ueki only has 9 "sai" left... Koba-sen is actually happy because he's found a champion who will trade his "sai" to fight for something he believes in.

Complicating matters is a female classmate who discovers Ueki and Koba-sen's secret. She is a self-proclaimed busybody, and she sets out to save Ueki from using up all his "sai" and becoming a non-person.

OK, this show isn't even as half as fun as BLEACH was at the beginning, but I'm starting to get desperate here. At least I got some laughs at the sight of a boy fighting bad guys by growing trees...

Voice acting of Note: Ueki is voiced by Romi Pak (Park? Paku? Bok? markhl?) who played Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist and is currently slumming as Kulu (Kool?) in Legend of the Magic Beans: Pandalians.

Victorian Romance Emma

At last, something nice to look at. Set in London in the late 1880's, this is a tale of a socially unacceptable romance between a household servant named Emma and a young gentleman named William. Emma works for a rather reserved and strict woman named Mrs. Kelly, who is a widow and retired governess. Apparently Mrs. Kelly plucked the destitute Emma off the streets when she was still a child and employed her.

One of the children that Mrs. Kelly used to look after, and a particular favorite of hers, was William, who is all grown up now and comes to call on his old teacher/caretaker. For some reason William is drawn to the shy and bespectacled Emma. Mrs. Kelly loves both of these young people, so she tacitly approves of them growing close. And yet, in this day and age, nothing good can come from such a relationship!

The production design for this show is really nice, with a lot of attention to detail. The story promises a lot of repressed emotions finally bubbling to the surface, many instances of characters putting aside their own happiness for the sake of others, not realizing that this only spreads more anguish.

Otakus and gentlemen, if your tastes run to action, explosions, aliens and robots, perhaps you should turn your attentions elsewhere. The only mecha in sight was William's toy airplane, and an invention he picks up in a curiousity shop that functions as an alarm clock that brews tea. No steampunk here, I'm afraid.

Voice-acting of note: Emma's seiyuu is Yumi Touma, who does Urd's voice in the Ah, My Goddess franchise. If you're used to hearing her alternating between grumpy/angry and husky/sexy, you'll be amused to hear her on her best "Belldandy" behavior as the polite and owlish Emma. Perhaps (I hope!) this is an indication of what Emma can be like when she lets her hair down and loosens her corset, sometime much later in the show....
ahogue
post #15  on April 5, 2005 - 9:06 AM PDT  
That's exactly the problem I had with the first episode, watching the carnivale scene on Luna I thought, "Oh, here goes Studio GONZO (Last Exile) with more of their attempts to meld CG and analog drawing..." I think AFleming thought it was a bit off putting, too. You'd think you'd get motion sickness from watching the hair and clothes textures...

Speaking of Last Exile and voice actresses, I'm pretty sure I heard the voice of Maestro Delphine in Gankutsuou. It was an important female character but I don't remember the name and am not sure after only one episode who she is. But I'm certain it's the same voice actress.
ahogue
post #16  on April 5, 2005 - 9:22 AM PDT  
At the forefront of CG assisted animation nowadays is an effort to make the physics and the backgrounds as realistic and 3D as possible, and they make the characters look photorealistic, too, as much as they can, to fit in. I'm thinking of something like the new Appleseed. But Gankutsuou is based very self-consciously in flat 2D art. It's like watching a story woven or sewn into a tapestry or quilt coming to life.

Yes, exactly. So far part of me likes that, especially coming from a studio renowned (so I hear) for their 3D, and part of me just feels distracted from the story.

Even in my limited experience I have come across plenty of animes that use very cheap and gratuitous 3D tricks like completely unnecessary swooping camera effects, etc. That really bothers me. So I can see how a series that insists on looking almost like a collage might be refreshing.
hamano
post #17  on April 5, 2005 - 12:16 PM PDT  
> On April 5, 2005 - 9:06 AM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Speaking of Last Exile and voice actresses, I'm pretty sure I heard the voice of Maestro Delphine in Gankutsuou.

Hmmm.... the versatile Ms. Michiko Neya, as far as I know, didn't do a voice for Gankutsuou... Hey, she was Really Vincent in Gunsmith Cats! She was also the voluptuous Phia in Heat Guy J, and Cutey Honey in the OAV...

There ARE some voice actresses with very similar voices.... even if you think they're very distinctive, and they tend to go for the same kinds of roles. Also, some voice actresses have a very wide range, and they can sound like anyone else. My daughter's getting good at identifying these actresses by voice... she recognized the seiyuu who does Azuma Kazuma's voice in Yakitate Japan in that Marchen thing I reviewed at the top, as well as in Pandalian.

When I look up my guesses on the ANN encyclopedia, more than half the time I'm wrong... and there's new talent coming in all the time.
ahogue
post #18  on April 5, 2005 - 3:16 PM PDT  
> On April 5, 2005 - 12:16 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Hmmm.... the versatile Ms. Michiko Neya, as far as I know, didn't do a voice for Gankutsuou...
> ---------------------------------

Oops. Guess I'll look it up next time before getting all proud of myself.

The voices really are strikingly similar, though.
hamano
post #19  on April 5, 2005 - 4:32 PM PDT  
I believe you were thinking of the Marchioness G, a supporting character that Franz introduces Albert to on Luna. She is voiced by Rio Natsuki. Ms. Natsuki is also a veteran seiyuu, with a very wide range... the crybaby Akari Kanzaki on Battle Athletes and the girl-next-door turned warrior Linna in Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 are two of her best known roles.

You have a pretty good ear, though. Japanese is a very stratified language where there are different and distinct speech forms defined by the relative status of the speaker to the listener. Maestro Delphine, who is an Empress of sorts, and Marchioness G, a noblewoman talking to two younger unmarried men, both speak with very pronounced aristocratic (mark or their birthright status), feminine (mark of their gender), and informal (they are addressing those of lower status) speech forms. This is probably a big reason why they sounded similar.
markhl
post #20  on April 5, 2005 - 4:35 PM PDT  
I've heard of this Kintaro one somewhere before a while back. I think I'll let it go a few episodes before joining in the party. The fansub groups have disappointed me in the pace of the releases of older anime.. it's almost like that they need two or three groups releasing to drive each other - otherwise, the incentive is just not there. I know it's free and all but some of this "oneup-manship" associated with fansubs is a bit pointless no?

FYI, School Rumble isn't over for the rest of us hamanchi. With little to look forward to, I may wrap up my fansub experience as Initial D and Monster end.

Well.. the festival's days away for me so see y'all later!! 11 films in 7 days for me! woo hoo!
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