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Ursus's reviews view profile

This Bawdy Brawler Begets a Batty Bonaza Beneath the Barren Badlands!  
on May 30, 2006 - 11:43 AM PDT
  of Desert Punk vol. 1: Into the Desert (2004)
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful

A surprisingly crass and crude entry from Funimation, an ADR house known mostly for their archive of "kid-friendly" material, "Desert Punk" is explicitly unflinching as a "no-holds-barred" action-comedy of adulterated genius that will have all but the extremely prude or comatose gasping for pained breaths amidst stomach-cramping laughter. Indeed, it appears that the heads of Funimation let slip their creative dogs of war upon this series with the sole purpose of adapting the series for an english audience without a loss of its "dirty/bawdy" comedic brilliance. There are even points when the enlish Sub script went BEYOND the line drawn in the sand by the Japanese original. I, personally and on several occasions (having seen the first 3 vol. locally), found my self mouth agape with shock over topics and humor that would make a sailor blush. "Desert Punk" is, I found, an exceptionaly daring and incredibly funny series with a good blend of action, well-written story, great english voice acting, and P-L-E-N-T-Y of bawdy-gut-busting humor that is not to be missed.

Do NOT miss "Desert Punk!!!"
"Oh no they didn't!?!" "Yes... they just did."   
on April 5, 2006 - 9:46 AM PDT
  of Genshiken, Vol. 1: Dojinshi Or Bust (2004)
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful

Pathos, and the humor and pain of obsession, of being Otaku. Genshiken offers an unapologetic/humorous look at the life of Otaku from cosplay to doujinshi at Cons to "adult situations." No corner of the Otaku lifestyle is safe from examination or parody in Genshiken.
It's Like Dating a Stripper...  
on April 4, 2006 - 9:13 AM PDT
  of Divergence Eve vol. 1: Welcome to Watcher's Nest (2005)
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful

This series is like dating a stripper: visually stunning, but completely empty from the neck up. Divergence Eve is too much fan and not enough service... of the plot and story, that is; allow me to explain.

It is true that the animation and digital FX for this series were well executed, that was no exaggeration. However, the combination of ridiculous anatomical proportions for ALL female characters -these ladies make a 36DD look like a mosquito bite- plus some truly minimal costume design (skimpy and provocative barely comes close to describing them) along with a healthy dose of partial or total nakedness, these short-comings can't hide the glaring lack of substance that is missing in this title.

Now please, don't mistake my position. There are few things that can compare with the loveliness of the female form (frankly, one of the good lord's better decisions), but while watching DE I found myself not liking breasts -biologically, genetically, this should NEVER happen. Ever. Perhaps my expectations may have been too high regarding the brains behind this skin-deep beauty, but all the in-your-face sexuality and fan-service can't hide the emptiness inside.

So, unless you fall victim to the "racoon syndrome" of the male homosapien, i.e. falling pray to shiny, beautiful objects or you don't have cable, save your money and your rental for another more worthy distraction.
on March 13, 2006 - 8:56 AM PST
  of Last Exile Vol. 1: First Move (2003)
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful

WOW! I... just... Damn! That was Awesome!

This is not your average Boy Pilot/Magic Girl... It is SO MUCH MORE! Visually, LE is a sumptious feast of digital Art-Deco styled animation with a simple, yet mad-brilliance of story and execution that increases one's lust for more, exponentially. I watched the entire series in ONE SITTING! Dubbed by Bang Zoom, Last Exile has a duality of part Ghibli, part Gonzo, but entirely genius! I cannot recommend nor heap enough praise upon this gem. I was and am completely blown away by it... which is partially why words fail me at this moment. I find Last Exile to be the jewel in Gonzo's crown.
"I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart..."  
on March 9, 2006 - 8:46 AM PST
  of Gokusen vol. 1: The Unteachables (2004)
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful

Ok, not really. But, Gokusen knows humor like rock-stars get ass! Featuring one of the most imaginative storylines I have seen in recent memory, Gokusen blends elements of GTO, Beavis and Butthead, and Cromartie High into well-paced, never stale mob/high school humor. Like Onizuka in GTO (not that he was a gangster), the herione of this yakuza comedy, Kumiko, skillfully blends her reptillian-brained, mob lethality and skills as the heir to her clan with geniune concern to help her troubled charges become more than what society expects, e.g. punks, rejects, and thugs... whether that involves an after-school make-up session for mathematics or a beat-down. She is a great-white shark amongst a pond of unsuspecting koi...

For anyone who fell in love with GTO, or if you simply love a good comedy, Gokusen delivers the goods, minus the obligatory horse head in the bed.
Cue the sweatpants, gallon of ice cream, and chocolates...  
on February 24, 2006 - 9:21 AM PST
  of Boys Over Flowers Vol. 1: Declaration of War (2003)
2 out of 4 members found this review helpful

At 6'4", 232lbs., and a practioner of Krav Maga and Jujitsu, I really shouldn't have giggled like a pre-teen girl reading "Tiger Beat" while watching this series... yet, I did, and here we are...

Where to begin? I always find the beginning a good place to start. I have always loved animation, I "cut my teeth" on old "Star Blazers" and the rest, as they say, is history. Yet, to most everyone, my "habit," nay, my "lust" is firmly in the closet... but I digress.

My last girlfiend (not a typo) -the cheating harpy- put a halt (Have you ever seen "Debby Does [insert city or nation here]"?, you get the idea) on our 8 month relationship -dirty tramp-, which put me in a bit of a funk -slut. Happily, I came across a review for "Boys Over Flowers," and upon that recommendation I obtained the first DVD. Romance. Drama. Hilarity. Very "Pretty in Pink," as another reviewer deftly and correctly illustrated, "Boys Over Flowers," filled in the gaps, and like methidone, helped to ween me from the horrible pangs of love withdrawal -and murderous rage. Depsite the art style, to which one quickly became habituated, the narrative was well told, and expertly woven together to produce a most satisfactory yarn.

At 51 episodes, "Boys Over Flowers," has the staying power and romantic punch of a seasoned prize fighter. I heartily recommend this series to the love-lost, forlorned, or even those drunk with love or lust... you lucky bastards. And, to anyone attending the University of Montana, particularlly anyone in the foreign language department... don't be fooled by the shy, red-head who bats her eyes.
I am going to get some serious hate mail for this...  
on February 23, 2006 - 2:13 PM PST
  of Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play - Suzaku Box (Season 1) (Disc 1 of 4) (1995)
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful

What happens when the ice in your drink is left unattended too long? It melts, diluting the once tasty libation into a watery mess that is at odds with its former deliciousness. Such is the fate of Fushigi Yugi. Overlooking the obvious lack of depth and dimensionality of the characters, the main issues I take with FY is what I consider the "DBZ" style of repetitive "one-uping" of facing the "greatest evil" only to encounter an even "greater evil" a few episodes down range. The greatest/ultimate evil should ultimately be the greatest and ultimate evil if it is introduced as such (e.g. Freeza to Boo to [insert new evil DBZ character for new toy launch] ad nausea, ad infinitum). This is most evident when the leading lady manages to be saved, yet again, by the door-mat hero followed by the "romantic-saxophone musical cue." The leads spend far too long with their borderline feelings: I love you, I hate you, I want you, but now I hate you again... but I won't ever act on these feelings, EVER! The level of emotional constipation and inaction led this viewer to start rooting for the villians, if only to end the stalemate. I know that love is more complex and laborious than the average adult film would have us believe, nor anywhere near as rapid, but they (the leads) spend more time on the pot than Cheech and Chong did for all of the 70's and 80's.

Moving right along, the other "DBZ" issue I take with FY is the manner in which anxiety or rising action is left hanging in a fatiguingly heighthened state without resolution. Besides uping tension (mine, not the literary kind), such tactics only serve to frustrate and anger, especially when most of the time is preoccupied with pointless dialogue when the solution to said over-hyped anxiety could be solved in the time it takes to pull the trigger in non-bullet time. If only someone had brought a gun through the book so much needless suffering could have been avoided... mostly mine.

This does raise the question as to why I would continue to watch, well, I am always hopeful that a series will make a turn for the better or take a surprising and unanticipated direction. This did not happen, hence this review.

To all of you who think that my heart is nothing but a cold and frozen lump of black anthrocyte (coal) I offer these rebuttals:

His and Her Circumstances- F-ing Brilliant Shoujo! I loved this series, wished like hell there was more of it.
Boys Over Flowers- F-ing Brilliant Shoujo! Well executed, despite art style.
Fruit Baskets-Cute and Funny!

So, in summation, my fellow videophiles, I just don't see it, and I wish that I hadn't.
I tried, I honestly tried... but this both sucks and blows.  
on February 22, 2006 - 11:24 AM PST
  of Gasaraki Vol. 1: The Summoning (2000)
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful

The first thoughts that came to forefront of this reviewers mind when finishing this eight volume series was: Gasaraki, that was a good animated series... FOR ME TO POOP ON! I tried folks, I honestly tried, hoping against hope that somehow this incredibly "flat" series would pull a rhinocerous out of its pants -being perfectly frank- and raise my resting pulse rate beyond the ranges typically reserved for the recently deceased. The story/plot, far from being engaging or entertaining, was dull and uninteresting with a liberal helping of lathargic pacing... it makes glacial-creep look like Steve McQueen in Bullit. (Which you should have rented in place of this!)
Besides being painfully slow, which is not to be confused with being intellectually deep or of great substance -which the story isn't- the animation is banal; more underwhelming than average, with mech battles that suffer from delusions of adequacy let alone excitment -ultrasounds of fatty-livers and gal stones are better, people. This is, of-course, an oddity considering the pedigree this series claims in regards to those people invovled with its being(e.g. Patalabor, Gundum, etc.) Perhaps they lost a bet or were trying to finance a fledgling drug habit, who knows? I have no explanation.
And lastly, from a medical-wonk POV, whoever was the technical consultant regarding this series' anatomy and physiology must have gotten their credentials from the back of a match-book... so many glaring impossibilities of B.P., Heartrate, etc... beyond the realm of suspended disbelief.

So, please, for pity sake, keep right on moving past this series, don't make eye contact, don't acknowledge it, don't give it a dollar or even a nickel, just keep on moving. Unless of course you are the proud owner of a self-inflicted ice-pick lobotomy in which case... good luck with that! Otherwise, there are sooo many far better series to choose from.
Not Even Light Can Escape It.  
on February 3, 2006 - 4:23 PM PST
  of Voices of a Distant Star (2002)
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful

Intensely beautiful, with an emotional density and gravity that will floor all but the hardest and blackest of hearts... I cried the first time I saw "Voices of a Distant Star." Beautiful... but sad, yet entirely brilliant. A MUST SEE film made all the more impressive as, Makoto Shinkai, deftly animated/created this lush film on his G4 Mac single-handed.
Even Crack, Nicotine, and Oxy Combined Aren't This Addictive!  
on April 8, 2005 - 3:45 PM PDT
  of His and Her Circumstances Vol. 1: Appearance of a Normal Life (1998)
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful

As the title implies, I have a problem. Not with the afore mentioned illicit substances mind you, but this wonderful, yet all-too-brief series. Although I am a self-admitted romantic, teenage-angsty-romance isn't exactly my shtick. Yet, upon the buzz surounding this series I obtained the first volume, sat, watched, and once was all it took. I was hooked, and with a great hunger I wanted, nay needed more. I can say with honesty that I have never laughed, or been as enthralled with any movie or series before. Never. Great writing married to fantastic directing, style, voice talent, imagination... and oh, did I mention the writing (the characters, the plot, their development, the humor, the depth... the...). Very, Very good story telling. Yet imagine the shock of coming to the last volume only to find that no more were to be found... (money issues as I understand it) This is the only shame upon this truly delightful series... cut down in the prime of its youth. (Warning: Rant Incoming) Which raises an interesting point from the world of anime: "HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE OVER 60+ EPISODES OF ANOTHER MEDIOCRE SERIES (not naming names, you know who you are)WHILE A SHOW OF THIS MAGNITUDE AND GENIUS IS CUT-DOWN?!? Even though the series continues in manga... it just isn't the same. Methidone isn't Herione, not even close, and neither is the former. Even though the series is unfinished on film, what remains is nothing short of wonderful. I cannot recommend nor heap enough praise upon it. SEE THIS SERIES! The sadness will pass, I promise... though, I hear Xanax helps.

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