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

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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

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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

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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

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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…)

Every Day is Like “Survival”

August 31st, 2015 in Sabagebu! – The Survival Game by

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This is another “Women and Weaponry” submission, potentially closer aligned to “Stella!” and “Girls und Panzer” than “Upotte!” (and I have reviewed all of them, so give them a spin if you haven’t already). For this one, “Sabagebu! – The Survival Game”, it follows a group of high school girls and their daily lives in their survival game club. It all begins with Momoka Sonokawa (Madame Peace Sign), who is a transfer student to a new school. While on the train to school, she is bothered by a pervert when some woman pulls out a pair of side arms to confront the molester, only to get arrested instead. Yeah, it’s usually not a good idea to be yanking guns out to dispense some harsh justice. People freak out, even if they are just airsoft pellet ball weaponry.

Momoka follows this odd lady when she sees her at her school, tracking her over to a run-down building and discovers the Survival Club. The rest of the club are (right to left):

Maya Kyōdō, second-year and gravure idol
Urara Kasugano, first year and a bit of a masochist
Momoka
Miou Ootori, club president and filthy rich (she pulled the guns on the train)
Kayo Gōtokuji, club treasurer and a cosplay freak
Platy, club mascot (more…)

“Gender” Confusion

February 12th, 2015 in Blue Gender by

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This is one of those shows that drop you into the action without much to go on, although the show might have been better to be called “Red Gender” than “Blue Gender”. Disclosure Time: I bailed out on this show after three episodes, as it did violate Rule Three of Anime (“If you feel the show is not going to get better, leave it. It is NOT going to get better.”). In my opinion, this is one of the worst animes I have seen this year (fighting for that title with “Terra Formars”) and the worst anime I have seen since “Peach Girl”. Now, this differs from one I don’t like. There are some shows that just miss for me or aren’t worth my time from the capsule description. This one I at least watched to draw my conclusion (and my repeated open).

In the year 2009, Yuji Kaido (that mullet-head up there. What is that hair style? Was it ever popular?) is an average young adult male diagnosed with a serious disease (the “B-cells”) and is put into cryogenic stasis until a cure is found. Twenty-two years later, he is awakened in the midst of a raging battle between armored soldiers and insectoid beings called the “Blue” which have overrun the Earth.

This group of soldiers is from an orbiting space colony, collectively called Second Earth. They had orders to recover “sleepers” around the Earth. Among them is the soldier Marlene Angel, (can you find the girl?) who at first appears to be heartless toward others. On the journey to the space colony, Second Earth, Yuji meets many of the humans that were left behind during the evacuation due to limited resources. Standing orders for Marlene and the other troops are to consider any human survivors on the surface to be already dead, which greatly troubles Yuji.

The problem with this is that it is terrible science fiction, terrible war and terrible horror. It seems these insectoids, which look like giant spiders, when they capture you, ball you up and will eat you later. Well, as you have seen, most people do not roll up well, so there is a lot of physical compaction. Adding to this is that Yuji has zero idea what is going on, except that he is the only one from his facility to survive, as the others are lost. His tube broke open and he was awakened; the rest were still in their tubes and sank to the bottom of the sea. (more…)

“Stella”!

December 12th, 2013 in Anime, General Reviews by

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This is another entry into the “Women and Weaponry” genre. We started with “Upotte!” went to “Girls und Panzer” and now we have “Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3“, which we’ll call “C3-Bu”.

Yura Yamato (front and center) has just transferred to the prestigious Stella Women’s Academy, but is having a hard time fitting in, as her timid nature and robust fantasies of what could happen seem to take over her waking life, so she is all by herself. She is asked to join the airsoft club, but is scared off by the more forceful members of the club, which include (left to right, as always):

Honoka Mutsu, tactics and logistics
Yachiyo Hinata, sniper
Karila Hatsuse, close-quarters combat
Rento Kirishima, support and back-up
Sonora Kashima, club president and Yura’s roommate. (more…)

“Tanks” For All You’ve Done

May 25th, 2013 in Anime, General Reviews by

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This has got to be the oddest coupling for a show I have ever seen. “Girls und Panzer” exists in some weird parallel dimension or alternative universe world where this is OK and fervently supported.

Miho Nishizumi (dead center) has transferred to Ōarai Girls High School, as they do not have a tank program. She is attending classes and meeting friends and having a good time, when we learn that the academy may be closed down unless it gets more students. So, they revitalize Sensha-dō (“Way of the Tank”) and decide to take on the Big Boys…..uh….Girls of other schools that have tank programs. What, the Flower Arranging Club was all full?

Since Miho comes from a long line of tank girls (and this is revealed through the run of the show), she is pressured to join the club. Here’s the weird thing (oh, and girls in tanks isn’t weird enough?): they live on an aircraft carrier. It has been kind of terraformed, so it looks like a regular little village or town, but they are out at sea about 90% of the time, coming to land to reprovision and have their tank battles. (more…)

“Night” Fever

April 16th, 2013 in Anime, General Reviews by

Senkou no Night Raid

It’s the past. (The past? How did that happen? Anime is about the future!) The year is 1931 and we find ourselves in Shanghai. There is a great build-up of forces from Japan, which threatens to engulf the area in war, as the need for conquest and land acquisition looms. Into this volatile mix is flung a group of people, collectively known as the Sakurai Agency, but they really are a spy ring. But they are more than they seem. They are, from left to right:

Aoi Miyoshi, Kazura Iha, Yukina Sonogi and Natsumi Kayiga. Not pictured is their boss, Shin’ichirou Sakurai. But these people are no ordinary spies; they have special abilities that aid them in their investigations. Their powers are, respectively, telekinesis, teleportation, telepathy and tele-clairvoyance. (OK, I couldn’t help myself). He is also an excellent sniper.

Together, they battle the Kwangtung army and its mysterious leader, Isao Takachiho, who is bent on the idea of Pan-Asianism, and will use any and all means to achieve it.

Now, if you put aside the special abilities folks seem to have, this is a series with loads of intrigue, from the era of pulp novels and detective work. It is a very good-looking series, as you really get a feel for Shanghai of the 30s. The fact that we know the eventual outcome for all of this does not detract from the agency’s attempt to prevent it. (more…)