“Fleet” of Foot

August 9th, 2018 in Anime, General Reviews by

The Duties of an Anime Reviewer:

  • Give quality reviews
  • Don’t give away the endings
  • Be fair in all reviews
  • Note trends

That last one is important, as I am noticing another trend and it is what I call “Women and Weapons”. Shows that can be flung into this mix are “Strike Witches”, “Girls Und Panzer”, “Upotte!”, “Arpeggio of Blue Steel” and “KanColle” (although those last three can be seen as “Women AS Weapons”). The latest title to come to us is “High School Fleet” (“Haisukūru Furīto”) and operates in an alternative future. (more…)

The “Gate” to Eternity

June 29th, 2018 in Anime, General Reviews by

Look, I KNEW that there was going to be a second season of “Gate: Jieitai Kano Chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri” (“Gate: The Self-Defense Forces Fight like This in That Place”), as all the loose ends at the close of Season One made that a foregone conclusion. To their credit, they have upped the stakes, so now things are even more problematic. (more…)

“Free Time”

May 17th, 2018 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies by

Whew! At least we picked up the pace for the final installment of “Arpeggio of Blue Steel” (maybe; I can no longer tell if a series has truly ended any more), with “Ars Nova: Cadenza”. It’s musical history time. A ‘cadenza’ often refers to a portion of a concerto in which the orchestra stops playing, leaving the soloist to play alone in free time (without a strict, regular pulse) and can be written or improvised, depending on what the composer specifies. The final movie is like that, as so much ‘new stuff’ comes in, that we are left in its wake.

The good news is that this is a full and true movie. We have progressed beyond the cut and paste of “D.C.” and formed a real film, with all the twists and turns you have come to expect from a submarine chase film. The time has come to end this war. (more…)

From the Beginning

May 11th, 2018 in Anime, General Reviews by

We have before us another example in the current trend of ‘concluding’ a series with a movie or two. I mean, the same effort goes into a movie as a series, but I guess they feel they can control things better with a movie. I also have the lurking suspicion that they can trot out a ‘special engagement’ viewing party and charge far more at the cinema for this, with one of those ‘weekend’ showings….provided you live in or near a city that would do this. If you are in East Powdermilk, Wisconsin, you could be out of luck.

We are continuing the saga of “Arpeggio of Blue Steel”, with this offering called “Ars Nova DC”. Now, since we are dealing in musical terms, ‘Ars Nova D.C.’ might be confusing to those not so musically inclined. But if you know the terms, it explains the movie a bit better. ‘Ars Nova’ means ‘new art’, although we can take it to mean ‘new technique’ and it represents a break from the style of music that preceded it. ‘D.C.’ is ‘Da Capo’ meaning ‘from the beginning’. It is a notation to play a musical phrase from a certain point again, kind of like a repeat. This movie is all that and a bag of shrimp-flavored chips. (more…)

“Academy” Award

August 18th, 2017 in Uncategorized by

As of late, I have been running into a lot of fighting academy shows, where people of varying degrees of talents and abilities are shipped off to this particular institute or that particular school to hone their fighting skills in that they may defend this country or do battle against other schools for honor and glory and toyamaki. It’s like being in “The Goblet of Fire” but without Cedric Diggory. (Hmmmm……….this intro sounds familiar). (more…)

Open Your Golden “Gate”

May 11th, 2017 in GATE by

This was an intriguing series, but the terseness of the first season means that there will be a second season (at the very least) to try and settle the problems that were both brought up and complicated in this show. This is “Gate: Jieitai Kano Chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri “ (“Gate: The Self-Defense Forces Fight Like This in That Place”), although it just seems to be called “Gate”. It is either current times or a slightly distant future (like 2020 or something along those lines. Still no hoverboards). It is a wonderful afternoon in the Ginza Area and Yōji Itami (guy up there) is enjoying his day off. You see, he is a JSDF soldier, but he is also a hopeless otaku and is making his way to his favorite store for the latest and greatest in manga and anime.

Suddenly, a massive portal shows up, and I don’t mean like a pulsating spiral of pure evil, but a real archway. It almost looks Roman in construction and design and size. Look, it spans the street and is, maybe two stories tall, perhaps taller. Then, all of these nasty monsters start pouring out and attack the citizenry. Itami is ticked off, as he had places to go to, but now, he is pressed into service to help protect people and drive back the threat. Well, despite being monsters, these guys come off as mediaeval, with spears and arrows and swords, so they are no match for modern weaponry and are quickly dispatched (those that aren’t captured). (more…)

The “Apple” of Discord

January 17th, 2016 in Anime, Appleseed XIII, General Reviews, Uncategorized by

The “Apple” of Discord blog 156
Yes, I know this was a movie, but, for me, like “Ghost in the Shell”, the series made more sense than the film, although that’s where the similarities with “Appleseed XIII” end.

It is the future (and with what I see, it had pretty well damn be). It is also after the close of WWV (No, not some Super Bowl; World War Five). On the plus side, it was fought with non-nuclear weaponry. On the negative side, about half the world’s population died. Well, at least I can get a parking space. We have also seen the rise of the city-state of Olympus, a gleaming spire offering a way out of the chaos and destruction of the past and into a grand and glorious future. Or not.

It is governed by Gaia, an artificial intelligence, and administered by bioroids, genetically engineered humans. Isn’t that eugenics? Just askin’!
Into this mix we have the battle duo of Deunan Knute, a young female special agent, and Briareos, a veteran cyborg soldier. They are partners and, when Briareos was human, perhaps lovers, (this is hinted at but never really defined). They work in E.S.W.A.T., the elite Special Forces serving Olympus. They are deployed wherever trouble strikes. Conspiracies, terrorism, deadly military weapons technology, greedy corporations, and power-hungry politicians, whenever it rises its ugly head, they are there to strike a blow for the future as they fight to protect Olympus and conduct their personal quest to find Eden in the wasteland. (Enter patriotic music beneath). (more…)

Movie Review – Automatic “Pilot”

January 3rd, 2016 in Anime, General Reviews, The Princess and the Pilot by

Movie Review - Automatic “Pilot” blog 154
I did catch part of this at Fanime!, not realizing that “The Princess and the Pilot” (“To Aru Hikūshi e no Tsuioku”, “Recollections for a Certain Pilot”) was NOT “The Pilot’s Love Song”, even though both have the same general idea (and some theorize it is set in the same universe). I had to track it down later on, as I saw the bottom half and I needed the first part to understand what it was all about. You can try and piece things together from the second half and you could get the whole thing wrong. When I had a lumpy chance to see it (I caught it on a site that broke it up into four segments), I went for it.

It is an alternate universe, although the planes imply something late 30s to early 40s (if we used our calendar). What skews the ideas are these massive aircraft, which have a series of double propeller engines that generate 1.21 gigawatts of power to keep them aloft. The ships are huge, about the size of Delaware, yet these comparatively puny engines have them sailing along, singing a song. And how fast do they move? It looks like a tree could outrun them. Anyway, the country of San Maltilia is hosting a party for Prince Carlo, the next ruler of the Levamme Empire. He is awaiting the presentation of Lady Juana del Moral, who would be next in line for the throne. Her father, King Diego (whom my daughter thought looked like Gary Busey. Don’t be sticking a seashell in her ear, now!) wants this to go well, as these upcoming nuptials will strengthen relationships between these two nations, and make the del Morels a more powerful family. (more…)

“Collection” Agency

December 29th, 2015 in Anime, General Reviews, Kantai Collection by

collection agency blog 153
This is another in the “Girls Who Save the World” genre, but, potentially, taken to the zenith of the idea. Also, sharing a lot with shows like “Upotte” and “Strike Witches”, “Kantai Collection” (also known as “Combined Fleet Girls Collection” and the nickname “Kancolle”) really goes all out with things.

In this Alternative Universe, although there is a World War going on, it is not fought with the other peoples of earth, but an alien group, bent on World Domination. “We will control all the Fun Size Snickers bars, so there!” Hahahahahahahahaha…………ahem! We are fighting on the high seas with girls who are battleships. By the style of ship and airplane, as well as off-duty garb, I would put this somewhere between 1938 and 1941 (if we were using a real calendar). Our heroine Fubuki (brown hair, second from right. It was hard to find a group shot of most of them that could be easily comprehended as to what was going on that wasn’t also smut smack) has been asked to join the task fleet. She is a destroyer, but we have all grades of ships: torpedo boats, aircraft carriers, communication ships, battle cruisers. (more…)

One You May Have Missed #1 – The “Girl” Can’t Help It

September 27th, 2015 in Anime, General Reviews, Gunslinger Girl by

one you may have missed the girl can't help it blog 145

Part of the problem with any art form (movies, music, anime, painting, books, graffiti at the bus stop) is that there is so much already out there and so much more coming through, it is very easy to miss or overlook or just be oblivious to whatever else is out there and you cruise right on past things. There are a lot of really good shows out there, but you may not have heard of them or the capsule description doesn’t really capture the flavor of the show.

As part of an on-going series, I want to draw your attention to these overlooked gems and suggest that you take some time out of your busy day (there is no need to see a replay on the NFL Network of a game between the Patriots and the Falcons played in Week 13 of 1992) and check them out, which brings me to my first offering, “Gunslinger Girl”.

It is interesting in that it is fully set it Italy, something that you rarely see in anime. We begin with the Social Welfare Agency (or “the Agency”), ostensibly a charitable institution sponsored by the Italian Government. While the Agency professes to aid the rehabilitation of the physically injured, it is actually a military organization. It is composed of two independent branches: Public Safety, its surveillance and intelligence-gathering division, and Special Ops, the anti-terrorist division. (more…)