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Battie's reviews view profile

Sexy Josei for Older Anime Fans  
on June 30, 2007 - 9:41 PM PDT
  of Paradise Kiss vol. 1 (2005)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

First off, Paradise Kiss is for an older audience. It deals with the more realistic aspect of romantic entanglements (including sex). That said, it's part of why I loved Paradise Kiss. It's not a sugary sweet shoujo, and George isn't the man most of us (those of us who are female at any rate) would necessarily fantasize about as teenagers. He's egotistical, a little vain and more than willing to push Caroline away. He doesn't give into tantrums and, truth be told, reminds me of a much older, self-confident Lothario (in a good way) than the young man he's supposed to be.

That all makes George sound rather unappealing, doesn't it? Fear not! George is one of those few anime characters that sends shivers down my spine. (Toya of Ceres is another, but George has him beat.) Even though this is animated, George has an on-screen seductiveness that shouldn't be missed.

However, while it's George and Caroline's romantic struggle that had me hooked, the rest of the plot (and subplots) was quite good. It has to do with fashion, which really just served to give the viewer some gorgeous eye candy. The artwork is beautiful and the art-over-photograph bits are striking. I loved the OP (and, on principal, I find most anime music to be nauseating), which was very 80's retro. The Japanese voice actors were superb, though I can't comment on the EV actors.

Even with all the drama flying between characters, I never felt like yanking out my hair or just quit watching Paradise Kiss. Simply put, it's beautiful, occasionally heart-wrenching, always sexy and more than worth six hours of your time.
Not just for the visuals (though they are striking)!  
on July 12, 2006 - 4:40 AM PDT
  of Karas: The Prophecy (2005)
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful

The story seems incredibly confusing at first, mostly because the anime uses a familiar (it's really popular in suspense movies), slow revelation of the plot. Rather than having it all laid bare in the beginning, you only understand the story once it's over. So, here's a run-down of the plot (via blonde translation):

Karas opens with an aerial battle between the meccha warriors. One is Karas (a supernatural warrior, though the first DVD doesn't reveal anything about him), one is Lord Eko (English voice by Matthew Lillard). Once it is over, you see a man on a gurney; he's bleeding extensively while he's being wheeled into the hospital. This is only revelant at the end.

Fast-forward three years. You meet Nue (EV by Jay Hernandez) as he's entering Shinjuku. Nue can see and speak with the spirits/demons of the eldritch world, which exists alongside the human one. Eventually you see Otoha becoming Karas and meet two detectives who specifically work with unusual and supernatural cases (mostly, if not all, murder), which began three years earlier. Otoha, as the new Karas, is naturally the enemy of Lord Eko and of the Mikura, who attack humans. And Nue has his own axe to grind. Needless to say, paths eventually cross.

Yurine, who seems to be Karas's handler of sorts, also has a role to play. (And, of course, there are plenty of things I left out that you'll have to discover on your own.)

--Note: Karas means "crow" in Japanese, as far as I can tell from recent animes. Hence, the feathers and a character's later remark to Ocha, naming him, "Crow."--

As the first DVD, comprised of the first three (of six OVAs--the last three have not been released in Japan, much less America, as of yet), Karas: The Prophecy is pretty good, but it does end on a cliffhanger. And if, like me, you don't pay close attention to what's going on in the story, you'll find yourself very confused. The plot may not sound like much, but it's certainly interesting enough, and the creators kept a good sense of mystery and suspense going by using a Momento-esque style of revealing the plot.

But it's the visuals that grab you. Not only is the CGI very well integrated with the traditional animation, at times, it also looks amazingly real (like-action for you otaku people). The designs of various spirits and Mikura are incredibly creative. Whoever thinks Japanese people aren't imaginative should take a look at Karas. There's plenty of action, pretty designs (including gorgeous backgrounds) and pretty good voice acting.

My expectations of English voice acting is very low, simply because most animes have horrid EV actors. Karas has very good voice acting in comparison. While not all of the VA's are on par with the Japanese cast, they are, by far, above average. Matthew Lillard and Jay Hernandez, both Hollywood actors with some success under their belts, do surprisingly well. Or perhaps not so surprisingly. While Hernandez had a few moments where his voice acting wasn't superb, for the most part, it was very, very good (and certainly much better than the anime standard). A welcome relief from VA's in other anime. But it's Lillard who shines as Eko. You can tell he's had some voice training (even if he'll never be Hugo Weaving). Lillard can hold his own when compared to the Japanese cast. It's just too bad he got the role with the fewest lines (of Nue, Eko and Otoha).

Basically, while Karas may be a great rental, it'll be an even better addition to the otaku library. Now it's just a matter of waiting for the second half of Karas to be released (and let's hope Lillard and Hernadez are signed up for that, too!).
Disturbing and Nightmarish  
on July 6, 2006 - 12:12 AM PDT
  of Wolf Creek (2004)
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful

I'm a big horror fan, though I prefer to shy away from the more realistic flicks. Wolf Creek is such a one. The location and general camera work, not to mention audio, were enough to make me feel sick with dread, but when the horrific events really got going, I kept telling myself to push the stop button.

As one reviewer said, Wolf Creek could've been far better simply by avoiding the typical you-think-he's-dead plot. This might've gone on to be a new staple to the slasher genre (and, to me, was far more disturbing than Texas Chainsaw Massacre), if not for that.

The way this story stayed with one character for almost the entire time made it impossible not to feel connected. Every time something happened, you jumped with her. It's what made the movie so incredibly creepy. But the real talent came from the villain, who was so into his "work." I've seen preachers who weren't nearly as enthusiastic! An Australian friend told me the actor once (maybe still does) played a very friendly guy on a soap there, and that two older women, after coming into her work, told her they'd never look at him the same way. I can't blame them.

Hostel, though painful to watch and visually horrific, has nothing on Wolf Creek. Both have similar styles, and even comparative moments of suspense and dread, but it's the latter that really sticks with you, really makes you dread leaving your house for a few days.
Realistic Romance  
on June 2, 2006 - 3:26 PM PDT
  of Lila Says (2004)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

Lila Says started off a little slow, and a little weird (though Chimo certainly made up for it; besides being very sexy, he was talented--double whammy), but that last thirty minutes or so were absolutely amazing. It does the same thing a lot of Asian films do: It works up to an ending that explains why you watched the movie, why seemingly unnecessary details were there. And the ending is what seals the movie into something unforgettable.

Chimo, both the character and actor playing him, is gorgeous with a quiet, simmering intensity to him. The attraction that leaps between him and Lila was just wonderful. Not a lot is said with dialogue in this movie to make you believe in the characters' love and affection for each other, but plenty is said in other ways. The director knew just how to get the most out of Khouas and Giancante. So many movies show too little of body language and facial expressions, but Lila Says used them to the fullest. Expressions of uncertainty, desire, grief, humor...all done with more talent than I could've expected. It's also the conversations and what's not said that made the movie unforgettable. I love dialogue, but if an actor can give dialogue without speaking, I love it even more. Most actors can't.

To me, Lila was testing her boundaries, and his. She wanted to see how much he could handle before he walked away. How much he'd take before he'd demand sex. She was exploring her sexuality without actually having sex. It was a dance between them. Again, in my opinion. But, while she at first seemed like a raunchy bit of fluff, something she told Chimo later gave her an unexpected depth, an intelligence. Without that, perhaps Lila Says wouldn't have been such a good movie. By rounding out Lila's character, giving her insight and pride, she became a good counterpart to Chimo, instead of a one-dimensional character.

I'm going to admit I'm a fan of movies that test sexual boundaries of the viewer. Lila Says didn't push them far, but it did push them. Forced you to see Lila's sexual antics, if you didn't already, as part of an engaging young woman instead of simply judging her and them as immoral and disgusting. Admittedly, the ending could be considered judgemental, but I didn't look at it that way. Chimo's love was, IMO, meant as an acceptance of who she was. (O'course, since the movie is based on a book by an author named Chimo...maybe it's not plot device at all. Don't know enough about the author or the book to say.)

Lila Says is so subtle, that unless you're watching carefully, you'll probably miss how good it is. In fact, once I watched it a second time (right on the heels of the first viewing--something I never do), I caught onto even more subtle tones. The movie was about sexual expression, the boundary that some cross over in an attempt to express it, the subtle cues and not-so-subtle cues between two potential sexual partners and, more importantly, a love story. It's definitely not for everyone, but I'm going to add it to my library. It was so intense and so good. :) It was like an erotic romance that took a wrong turn somewhere and found itself in the real world, perfect for me.
A second look...  
on August 22, 2005 - 10:04 PM PDT
  of Gantz vol. 1: Game of Death (2005)
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful

My original review stated a lot of things that I no longer necessarily agree with. It's still morbid, still has a bit too much profanity, nudity and gore, but it also has something that made me want to watch. And that thing became stronger as the series ran on.

Gantz, besides having a lot of action, also centers on a lot of character development. The first two episodes were largely off-putting, thanks to my initial repulsion to characters who seemed very immoral and the overall perverse tone it sometimes took, but watching a little longer gave much more insight into the main characters and the reasons behind their actions and thoughts. It also made it necessary to keep watching. I loved the fact that the main character (Kei?) grew with his experiences.

The worse thing for the series is actually part of the very same thing that creates its appeal. The use of character development often had to rely on the characters' inner thoughts (though, in tradition of Japanese anime, these thoughts were often revealed verbally to other characters). After a while, this sometimes became tedious, especially if it occurred in the middle of a "hunt." Then there was the main female character, who was fairly irritating most of the time, thanks to her lack of confidence and borderline Pollyanna attitude.

But beside those things, Gantz came out as a really interesting anime. The animation was more modern looking than not, and you can imagine some of the detail that went into those action scenes. It also stands out from other anime, if only for the sheer insistence on revealing some of the darker sides of every individual (even the "good" ones).
An Unexpected Find  
on July 2, 2005 - 1:47 AM PDT
  of Gilgamesh - Tablet 01: Orphans of the Apocalypse (2003)
13 out of 13 members found this review helpful

After seeing an ADV preview, I decided I'd try Gilgamesh out. But I was somewhat leery of both the character designs and the storyline. Luckily, I was proven to have good taste in my choice. >;P

First off, the character designs in the anime are definitely not standard Japanese character designs, though I've begun seeing similar designs more and more often these days. The eyes aren't huge, and the faces look a tad more realistic than traditional anime characters. The really cool thing about these particular designs is that it not only distinguished each character really well (remove the hair, and I could tell 'em apart), but also gave some characters a lot of beauty, and some rather plain looks. That little dose of reality was great. (Note: screenshots do not do justice to this anime.)

The animation itself is pretty top-notch. Even the scenes where characters are still usually have movement, even something simple like blinking or a wisp of hair moving.

Music in anime seems to be improving more and more, and this one is no different. Though the OP has a Japanese song that sounds like a mixture of current American dance and pop music, I wouldn't it call it the horrid music I've heard in previous animes. And the ending song that popped up in episode two or three was very good, and it's one of the few times I've listened to the ending song rather than jumping forward to the next episode. The music during Gilgamesh was some lovely instrumental pieces, some of which I recognize but couldn't name. This not only fit the story very well, but was used to create atmosphere the same way most movies do, and with just enough thought put behind it to neither fade into the background, or eclipse the story.

I really prefer the Japanese voice actors to the English ones, if only because they seem to have the right tones for the story. The English actors aren't bad, but their tones seem to reflect the often dark and dour colors, rather than the characters. I'm actually surprised by the voice acting for Kiyoko (the sister). She did not have an absurdly high voice typical of main female characters. It sounded human, and, for an anime (though not real life), deep and womanly.

Since I'm only in the fifth episode, I can't say too mcuh about the characterization, beyond that, so far, it seems off to a good start. The story, too, is off to a good start. I love the fact that it's a post-apocalyptic story that doesn't have robots! Besides, even if that weren't the case, I'd be happy. The mystery surrounding Gilgamesh (the group, not the anime) isn't being easily revealed, so I'm basically going to have to wait impatiently for the next volume. Actually, nothing is being easily revealed about the story in Gilgamesh, which is very welcome.

Gilgamesh is actually the third anime (not counting two recently licensed fansubs) in recent months I've added to my "To Buy" list, and I'm extremely picky about what I want to own when it comes to anime, particularly with animes that aren't based largely on humor. It's definitely worth a watch.
Not bad at all  
on July 2, 2005 - 1:21 AM PDT
  of The Jacket (2005)
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful

I'd heard a few bad things about The Jacket, though not from personal sources, so I was half-expecting a bad film. And yet, while it did have a beginning the confused the daylights out of me, by the end, I understood it rather well. Perhaps the biggest problem that plagues the movie is that it doesn't explain everything, or how some fantastical things are possible. Yet I found I didn't need or want to know. Mucking up the story with logical explanations would've ruined it. >;)

It's a bit hard to describe why I enjoyed The Jacket, beyond the nice performances given (I've also come to expect that from Adrien Brody). Perhaps it was the simple fact that the movie tells a story without needing to prove anything, uncover any mysteries, or insist on any theories. It was, simply, a story. To top it off, the way the film dragged me into a ball of confusion, and slowly brought all the threads together to give me a linear plot was pretty entertaining. It would've kept me watching even without the fairly fast-paced plot.

I'd have liked The Jacket even without the sentimental ending (which I wasn't expecting, since it seems to be a given that any film that isn't a Hollywood blockbuster has to have an ending that is somehow depressing). It's a film you just watch, if not for the interesting story, than for the lovely performances the actors give.
Good dialogue  
on July 2, 2005 - 1:11 AM PDT
  of Orfeu (1999)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

The best thing about this little film is the dialogue. There were several witty exchanges, as well as a short conversation on religion that was simplistic and not only fit the subject at hand, but the film at large (about love). In fact, while I wasn't expecting an incredible script (I rarely do of any film), Orfeu managed just that. Every comment and conversation had a purpose, even a small one.

The atmosphere of the film was also commendable. Full of music in almost every scene, it was hard not to enjoy the film just based on the music and even the costumes. In fact, one of my new plans is to, eventually, see Carnival.

Where Orfeu failed, however, was in its two main actors. While both were gorgeous (I especially liked the actor that played Orfeu, yum), they were not the most incredible actors. The woman that played Euridice was downright awful, in fact. Emotional performances are definitely not her thing. Furthermore, the lovely script could not save the story from my disbelief in the love between Orfeu and Euridice.

However, the young boy that played Michael (Maycool) was rather incredible for a somewhat short role in the film. Every scene he was in came alive. I'm not disappointed in the film, I quite liked it, but I just wished there had been a better quality of acting that might've done service to the movie.
Amazing characterization  
on June 20, 2005 - 8:44 AM PDT
  of Elfen Lied: Vector 1 (2004)
8 out of 8 members found this review helpful

The opening song for this anime is very haunting and lovely...and when combined with some brutal scenes, extremely creepy. Yet it really fits.

I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something about this anime that seems very unique. There is massive amounts of violence and gore, and quite a bit of nudity, of course, but that's not it (and the nudity doesn't seem to be for titillation). The character designs aren't incredibly unique, though they are very nice (and the backgrounds are usually beautiful). The psychological aspects of the story are...well, for an anime, darn fine.

Lucy (main character) is a brutal killer who, with a few exceptions, seems incapable of anything but brutality. Those few moments are what strike me as so very odd, considering they are completely at odds with her earlier actions. I can't figure out if she's evil and I should hate her, or if she's justified in striking back at those who represent her imprisonment. It'll be interesting to see which as the series progresses.

Nyu (the personality she has after head injuries?), on the other hand, is sweet, innocent and barely able to communicate. She seems to have no idea of her destructive capabilities.

The "main" guy at...forgot the name of the company...let's just call him the villain. Well, he's not entirely someone you can hate. His actions are sometimes redeeming.

Then there was a soldier who was utterly sadistic. A complete sociopath. I was rather horrified by him, somewhat more so than Lucy.

However, two other main characters, Kohta and Yuka, seem like your normal young adults. So far, the only thing extraordinary about them seems to be Yuka's devotion to Kohta. But I suppose there do need to be "normal" characters for an anime like this, and it does make a nice contrast to Lucy and her problems.

I'm always, always, going to love any movie or series with a character(s) that isn't totally good or evil. The greyer the area, the more I enjoy it. Elfen Lied is one of the best examples I can think of now, and it's entirely creepy due to the extremes of the characters' actions. As for the plot that drives everything that I've seen so far...I consider it quite distinct and incredibly interesting. Even if I weren't fascinated by the stark characterization, the plot would get me.

Also, the English cast is very, very good. No stiff acting. The voice actor that does Lucy sounds familiar, but she's very well cast. I couldn't see Lucy as having a high-pitched voice; they gave her a slightly deep voice instead.

Elfen Lied just climbed to the top of my favorite animes list.
This is actually pretty good!  
on June 17, 2005 - 11:08 PM PDT
  of Pretear vol. 1 (2003)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

{Review for first disc only}
I'll start off by saying I usually despise shoujo. I think the only thing that enticed me to see this anime is that I was running out of stuff I was really interested in, and had heard that Pretear had bishie guys! But...that cover art nearly succeeded in scaring me off.

And, admittedly, sometimes the art in the anime is a bit too pastel for my tastes. But, I actually liked this first disc, more than I've liked some animes I've stuck with. The heroine was very perky, and unlike the girl in Fruits Baskets, wasn't all that prone to introspective sweet moments, thank heavens! Actually, she was more prone to violence, especially when getting into it with the "leader" of the Leaf Knights.

From what I saw on this first disc, it's got a likeable heroine, cute and likeable guys, and is rather funny. The sexual innuendo isn't that much, really, and I found it to be more of a spoof on other anime scenes where a woman (sometimes a man) transforms or merges into something else, and the scene usually looks...well, not quite so innocent.

I did wonder about one of the Leaf Knights who, despite being a guy, really looked like a chick. But so far, no shounen-ai hints, so perhaps it's another spoof-in-making (or my imagination). And, personally, I found the "evil" step-sister absolutely amusing in her quest to catch a man.

Pretear is definitely shoujo, but it seems closer to Gravitation in its overall tone and humor than the average shoujo. (Though not as close as a fangirl could hope, haha.)
I'm a bit weird, but I loved watching this.  
on June 6, 2005 - 4:27 AM PDT
  of Suspect Zero (2004)
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful

As a horror fan, I've also branched into thrillers and crime dramas before. Usually with little success. I've seen all the major serial killer thrillers of the last several years, but none of them were quite as enjoyable as this. It may just be that I like Ben Kingsley. ^_^

Or it could be that I didn't have nearly as much information on the movie as the synopsis above. All I knew was that Kingsley played a psychic FBI agent who could see into the minds of serial killers. Needless to say, this made the movie much more of a mystery than it would've been had I known everything above.

That said, I didn't expect to like this movie all that much. Kind of figured it'd just be something to watch. In fact, at one point, I almost turned it off to sleep. But the story picked up right then, and I found myself staying awake to finish it. I have trouble saying why this was a good movie to me, beyond the fact that everything I saw was a mystery. It may be because Kingsley did such a good job of making himself ambiguous. Despite the fact that I knew that he was the sort-of good guy, there were a number of moments where the story, and Kingsley himself especially, made me doubt that.

The mixed look at evil serial killers, and a vigilante serial killer killing for the good of society, was rather interesting. The fact that Kingsley's character was killing, and sometimes horribly, didn't make him the good guy. I'm always appreciative of movies that create characters that aren't wholly sympathetic or utterly repulsive. I like the grey area. Suspect Zero accomplished that very well.

To top it off, I wasn't sure until the end why Kingsley's character did those things rather than just feed the information to the FBI. Why he taunted Agent Mackleway. And like I said, I wasn't even sure he was hunting serial killers. (Which leads me to state a rather huge problem today: trailers and movie information giving away almost the entire plot in order to get sales, leaving the viewer bored once they actually see the movie.)

Overall, I just really enjoyed the suspense and build-up of tension in this movie, plus Ben Kingsley's performance (as dramatic as usual).
Excellent build-up!  
on May 26, 2005 - 5:52 PM PDT
  of The 10th Kingdom (Disc 1 of 3) (2000)
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful

I didn't see this when it was on CBS however many years ago, so I can't recall if it was ever marketed towards children. But to be honest, I'd be surprised if it had been. At six hours, I really doubt any parent could get a child under twelve to sit through it. All the actors on the front of the cover are adult (not a single child in sight), and the guy who played Ed Bundy was one of the stars, to boot! So, bringing the movie down because it wasn't appropriate for children seems weird to me.

I've watched it twice, and I'm itching to watch it again, but I'll refrain until I can buy it. The story starts off a tad slow, but slowly builds-up to a wonderful ending. In fact, by the time it was over, I was sincerely regretting that fact. The six hours allowed me to "get to know" the characters. The main characters, Virginia, Wolf, and Virginia's father, were not perfect by any means. They were as flawed as any human being, and that, combined with the story, drove the plot and made me love this movie.

As for the story...there were so many laugh-out-loud moments and spoofs on fairy tales, I couldn't stop laughing and smiling. The rhymes inserted here and there in this movie were witty and funny once I began listening to them closely. The humor isn't always "mature" (I don't mean adult, here), but it doesn't make it stupid or bad. SouthPark, obviously for adults, has far more bad taste in the humor. The humor in this movie is very light (such as Virginia's father moaning about bad luck from breaking a mirror). It's all in "good fun," rather than hurtful, cynical, etc. But it doesn't mean it isn't funny.

The special effects and costumes aren't top-dollar, but after a while, I became accustomed to that and, in fact, it seemed to suit the series better than top-dollar everything would have.

Besides the story, which was more amusing than anything that wasn't Robin Willaims or Eddie Izzard-type humor, the characters were what I loved. My only regret is not being able to see the original ten hours. *sob* Anyone know where I can see those missing four hours???
I should've known better by the art on the cover...  
on May 19, 2005 - 11:04 AM PDT
  of Shura No Toki: Age of Chaos Vol. 1 (2004)
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful

Okay, I see all these high ratings, so I may be the only dissenter. I started to watch Shura no Toki and made it through the first episode and part of the second. Maybe it gets better after that. But, in that short span of time, several things hit me.

First, the art is...ugh. The men look like they've been pumping steroids (and I mean that in the sense that their heads don't really fit on their bodies). I've only seen maybe three minutes worth of StreetFighter, but Shura no Toki's art style reminds me of that. I could forgive that, as it's a preference and not a necessity. But the backgrounds were often lackluster. In fact, Captain Planet had better backgrounds.

Second, the fighting. Does it need that much posturing? They stay locked in place for about forty-five seconds, one or two hits later, it's over. Fun, no? This anime has every earmark of a classic fighting anime that helped give anime a bad name to begin with. The arrogance of the villains, this simplistic attitude of the "heroes" that basically says they enjoyed fighting for the sake of fighting? Whatever.

Third, it was just plain boring. I found myself attempting to watch the entire first disc, but when I began getting a restless, itchy feeling urging me to do something else, I decided it was enough. The only reason I gave it more than a one is because I've seen worse. But then, that isn't saying a whole lot. Basically, unless you really, really like fighting animes, pass on this one.
Sooo slashy!  
on May 16, 2005 - 1:56 AM PDT
  of Kyo Kara Maoh: Season 1, Vol. 1 (2004)
8 out of 9 members found this review helpful

I admit it, I absolutely loved this anime. It really stomped along the line between shounen-ai and regular anime, and was so slashy, I giggled myself silly through half of it. I'm guessing only fans of shounen-ai would really enjoy this (others might just end up looking at their TV screens funny and backing away).

Yuri ends up being flushed into an alternate world where he learns he is the new demon king (demons being human-looking but able to practice magic, though some humans can do this as well). On top of that, when he arrives, there is a demon/human war about to start, and several sons of the previous Demon Queen consider him to be unfit (though, they are relatively friendly, considering). What starts as an arguments, ends in Yuri being engaged to the youngest son (and you can guess how many laughs this leads to).

Besides an obviously gay Gunter, and a cross-dressing character that shows up at the end, there isn't any shounen-ai action (it's not really even hinted at, since both Yuri and his fiance seem to be disinterested in men, for the most part). It's just slashy (things hinted at, Yuri being tackled by naked, good-looking young men, etc). However...every male character is extremely bishie (even if Yuri and his fiance are younger-looking). I've heard people say X has some bishie guys, but they can't compare to Kyo Kara Maoh's lads.

The whole Demon King plot is more of a drive behind the series rather than the main attraction in watching it (in other words, it's not the main point). It's the slashy humor that makes me want to demand Volume 2 this very instant. I will admit, the ex-Demon Queen was really weird, but all too funny. I spent a large portion of this anime with, "Oh my lord," coming out of my mouth, followed wild snickering. I'd definitely recommend it to fangirls.

Plus, it appeals to me in the same way Fruits Basket does, only without any downsides. While FB's main character is an overly sweet, sometimes clumsy (physically and verbally) young girl surrounded by handsome guys, I was often yawning through her moments of personal insight about kindness, love, whatever. Yuri, being a guy, avoids all of that while maintaining the same kind of accident-prone behavior (saying or doing something that lands him in trouble). If I ever have extra money again, I'll be getting Kyo Kara Maoh.
Did I miss something...  
on April 23, 2005 - 5:08 PM PDT
  of Tsukihime, Lunar Legend Vol. 2: Lunar Dance (2004)
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful

Or has Arcueid changed since the last disc? It has been some time since I saw the first DVD, yet I recall her being rather tough. Maybe because she's 800 years old? Yet on this disc, the action has been supplanted by Shiki's relationships with others. The pace has been slowed to the point where I began nodding off (something I rarely do even in the most boring of movies).

Arcueid has become...something strange. Shiki gets angry at her for paying a bill with money she replicated (counterfeited), which was okay. He then becomes angry with her when she begins suggesting they do things together (much like a teenage girl who doesn't pick up on non-vocal cues and clues). She stays silent, then disappears. Since Shiki killed and dismembered her at the beginning of the series, and she wasn't real happy over that, I think I've missed something. Not too long after that, he gets very angry at her for modeling to make money (so she can treat him to something special without breaking the law) and she just quietly asks him why he is so angry. This and several naive actions (Shiki complains they need to remain inconspicuous) from an 800 year old vampire? What gives!?

However, I still enjoy the animation and art. Shiki and many others look normal (no off-the-wall hair here) without looking nondescript, and the backgrounds, the lighting in particular (when it's supposed to be morning, it *really* looks like morning), are beautiful. And the underlying plot still interests me. {3.5-review refers specifically to disc 2)
on April 15, 2005 - 10:22 AM PDT
  of Fake (2000)
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful

I'd have killed to actually see the entire manga as an anime...but I'll have to settle for this 55 minute piece. Obviously, there isn't a complete story here (or a complex one). Secondary characters pop up multiple times without me having a clue as to who they are. Still no idea how, or why, two kids are "friends" with the two cops. There wasn't an ending either, or any *good* Yaoi fun. :P Just some kissing, which suited it very well (no implied sex, lmao--Dee never got that far, poor man).

But, despite the faults that are, IMO, entirely the fault of trying to use little parts of an entire manga series to create one very short anime movie (I would say *episode* if this were in an actual series), I really liked Fake. The art wasn't the most beautiful (it *looked* a tad dated), but after a few minutes of getting used to it, I saw both Dee and Ryo as pretty cute guys. The romance between them was amusing, and I could completely understand Dee's frustration.

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone but a yaoi fan. The mystery plot was kind of thrown in, and the story would've done fine without it. The main plot was *completely* about Dee and Ryo, and even without a ton of background (a bit was provided with flashbacks), I believed they could care for each other (partly because of semi-emotional flashbacks). I even liked the humor, which usually isn't my style. It was just so cute (romantic comedy cute, mind you).

Once I got used to the disappointment of *not* having a full story, I found I liked Fake quite a bit. Plus, an incomplete story isn't exactly uncommon in anime. This is really a 6.75, but it's close enough to 7 to suffice. And now I'm off to find the mangas...hopefully cheap enough to afford. ^_^
Worth a go for anime fans running out of titles  
on April 15, 2005 - 4:52 AM PDT
  of Gestalt (2000)
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful

This wasn't the best title, and I'll never buy it, but it was a good rental. First for the pros, which were the bishies! Even the women were very well-drawn (to me, but there was an incident later where a character's eye stretched from nose to ear behind his hair--totally weird). The main characters' faces seemed distinct, rather than the same face with different hair. And they were all rather beautiful, even the villains. The dialogue made this anime particularly fun, even though I'm more of an action/horror fan. Sometimes it bordered on the stupidly funny, but the handful of times it poked fun at the anime genre in general were worth some giggles. Plus, I'll never get over "She's a virgin, I checked her myself" conversation. More often than not, the humor wasn't as stupidly amusing as Slayers (which I didn't enjoy), and the art was better too.

As for the cons...the English dub wasn't HORRIBLE. But nor was it great. Olivier's English actor, especially after comparing him to the Japanese actor (something I have only begun doing now that I've found the control button for it on my PS2), was very reserved. He wasn't flat, but he didn't show the same emotion the Japanese voice actor did (especially during embarassment and like emotions). Also, the action could've been a lot better than it was. I almost slept through the action scenes. Between throwing in a few nasty monsters that devoured people, and holding onto the comedy, the action/fight scenes were killed. And last, but not least, was the ending. I had assumed, for some reason (I really need to stop assuming), that Gestalt was an entire flick, but the ending wasn't an ending at all. There needs to be at least a second volume.

Overall, if you're running out "okay" anime titles, like silly-but-not-stupid humor, or enjoy better than average character design (and bishies, hehe), Gestalt is worth taking a look at. I didn't consider it a waste of time.
Oddly appealing  
on April 11, 2005 - 9:54 PM PDT
  of Gormenghast (Disc 1 of 2) (2000)
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful

{Referring to the first disc.} When I first began watching this, I wasn't so enarmored of it. I was, in fact, bored. But the more I watched, the more I needed to see what happened. Add in the characters, who were far from typical, and I found myself enjoying Gormenghast. The Earl's wife, who at first struck me as completely oblivious to anything but her pets and her needs, now strikes me as insidiously clever. Her daughter, once acting like a spoiled, oblivious brat, seems to be a *little* more like her mother than my initial impression suggested. Steerpike, the main character, is as downright evil and manipulative as any character I've come across, and yet I find myself almost hoping he succeeds in his plans, though I can, so far, only guess what they are. It helps that the actor playing him is very, very good at being maliciously kind and an overdramatic, but good, liar.

Gormenghast's fault lies in it's slow pace and the fact that some characters get away with the most absurd actions (and facial expressions) without it being noticed by a handful of other characters. But, that very absurdity is sometimes very amusing. Can't say whether I'd recommend this or not, as I'm still debating whether or not to get the second disc when I have so many other movies I want to see, but it is enjoyable.

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