Dragon Ball – episodes 84-101

April 13, 2007 on 5:11 pm | In Dragon Ball | Comments Off on Dragon Ball – episodes 84-101

“Tenshinhan Saga”

Ah, a tournament saga to get Dragon Ball in line. One could accuse a tournament of being repetitive, but it’s an effective way to get characters together into a structured event without making weird diversions into nothingness. On top of that, this arc has a great ending – an ending which would have been a surprise had I not already known of it, and had the colour design and editing not made it clear that something was going down.

Continue reading Dragon Ball – episodes 84-101…

Dragon Ball – episodes 68 – 83

April 11, 2007 on 5:40 pm | In Dragon Ball | Comments Off on Dragon Ball – episodes 68 – 83

“Fortuneteller Baba Saga”

I was wrong about the division of the sets: the Fortuneteller Baba set starts at a pretty good episode to continue this part of the story, with the hangover from the previous set lasting mere seconds that would not really have been justified on the previous set.

This is fun stuff because it’s not very high concept and, before it launches into another storyline, a few stand alone episodes are offered. Elsewhere they might be considered “filler” (did I ever say that I hate that word? For I do, with every fibre of my being), but here they’re an entertaining break from relentless storylines involving immortal homosexuals who get killed by the tongues of rogue Chinese assassins.

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Dragon Ball – episodes 58-67

April 2, 2007 on 1:57 pm | In Dragon Ball | 1 Comment

“Commander Red Saga”

I have a feeling that those dastards at Funimation and Madman actually cut the Red Ribbon arc one episode shy on this release so that they could say that it covers all of Commander Red, and ends when he does.
The next set – the Fortuneteller Baba set – looks like, from its description, that it is the true end of the Red Ribbon Army. That is until Dr. Gero brings them back for one of the better DBZ arcs. It’s too bad that damned Frieza had to come in and mess the hell out of that story.

What? Oh, yeah, the Commander Red Saga. I think I’ve distilled the essence of what Dragon Ball has lost. Join me on that ride!

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Dragon Ball: episodes 46-57

March 30, 2007 on 2:08 pm | In Dragon Ball | Comments Off on Dragon Ball: episodes 46-57

“General Blue Saga”

Oh, I’ll give you romantic, all right.

Dragon Ball skirts controversial territory with a trip to an ancient yet high tech pirate cave, a cross over with Dr. Slump that makes little to no sense to those unfamiliar with the source material, and the introduction of a very busy villain: Aryan SS officer narcissist psychic homosexual, General Blue.

Yeah. Good work there.
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Dragon Ball: episodes 29-45

March 28, 2007 on 12:19 pm | In Dragon Ball | 1 Comment

“Red Ribbon Army Saga”

Thus we reach the point where Dragon Ball becomes less easy to categorise into arcs. I think that the DVDs are more arbitrarily divided at this point, considering that this particular quest for the Dragon Balls doesn’t end until episode 75.
I’m still having a good time, but the times aren’t as good as they once were.

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Dragon Ball: Episodes 14-28

February 8, 2007 on 10:06 pm | In Dragon Ball | 3 Comments

“The Tournament Saga”

Science would suggest that the moon is something that is vaguely essential to the running of the Earth. Now, Dragon Ball, full of communist pigs and owls though it is, is not actually set on Earth. Still, I think that moons are in place for a reason, regardless of planet!
Take heed, children who watch Dragon Ball: do not destroy the moon!

In summary: tournament arc, happy fun times!

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Dragon Ball: Episodes 1-13

January 28, 2007 on 7:57 pm | In Dragon Ball | 2 Comments

Meta: Yes, this is one of my first posts in ever. I haven’t felt like watching anime for the last few months, and then the desire to watch this struck me. I haven’t kept up with the anime blogging world in that time; anything good happen?

“The Saga of Goku”

Back before Son Goku was Superman, sent from a dying planet mere moments before it exploded, he was a dim-witted but good natured boy with a tail. In the space of a mere 25 minutes, Son Goku and his charismatic companions were able to tell a coherent segment of a story that consisted of more than screaming and powering up. Even more amazing, the spirit of Son Goku was irrepressible: Dragon Ball is consistently funny!

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Glass Rabbit

December 17, 2006 on 8:20 pm | In Glass Rabbit | Comments Off on Glass Rabbit

This film was shown in Sydney as part of the 10th Japanese Film Festival. For further coverage of the festival, check Batrock VGMM.

MacGuffin powered war drama

The titular glass rabbit is nothing but a narrative device to set a story in motion. Rather than being a story about the joys of glass blowing, this is a story about the horrors visited upon the Japanese by World War II.

Toshiko lives in Tokyo with her glass blowing family. Japan declares war on the US and everyone celebrates. Then, as the US makes inroads into Japan, the people realise that war isn’t such a good thing after all. Toshiko suffers greatly as a result.

Movies about surviving World War II in Japan can spread it on pretty thick and, being animated, this particular film will inevitably be compared to Grave of the Fireflies. They’re both based upon semi-autobiographical novels, but their leads deal with the issues that they face in significantly different ways. Takagi Toshiko is of the group of Japanese people who fought to stay alive during the war and, despite all of the terrible things that happen to her, there is a prevailing sense of determination about her and everyone that she meets.
People die all around them in horrible ways, and the survivors mourn, but those outside of the military have no time for survivors’ guilt. They themselves don’t want to be mourned.

It’s not a very difficult film, and is clearly designed for children, but it surprises with its not quite total opposition to the war. It’s nice to see that, when the radio announces that Pearl Harbour has been bombed, all of the listeners cry out in celebration. As the war progresses, Japan’s hatred of America changes into one of resentment of the sanctions and difficulties imposed on the lives of the common citizen.

The way that some of these messages are conveyed are slightly too common. The death of a key character is done in the form of a “sudden close up, fade to matte” shot, but director Shibuichi Setsuko doesn’t have the skill of someone like Dezaki Osamu in this regard. The frequent use of the same footage of Toshiko running away from hardship crying quickly grows tired, and the Aryan gunning sequence is nothing short of surreal in its fluidity.

Glass Rabbit does not quite succumb to the idea that the Occupation was met with open arms: one of the sentiments expressed is “if we were going to lose, why did we go to war in the first place?” There is a deep resentment of all of the lives taken by American forces – because if you’re not in the war yourself, it’s difficult to think of lives that your side has taken. The soldiers – or at least Toshiko’s brothers – have different ideas, and the exorcism of hatred with the revelation of analogous humanity is more satisfactory than trite.

Triter is the sweeping finale, achieved by people throughout Japan reading the nation’s now thoroughly outdated constitution, and begging the people of the world to turn more towards pacifism. It’s an admirable message, but it didn’t need to be hammered in by an end credits sequence hat involved the children of the world dancing in a circle.

While not an essential addition to any anime war library, Glass Rabbit has a story to tell. If the hardships visited upon Toshiko seem laid on too thick, all one has to do is remember that the war was actually like that. Um … never again?

Ranma ½ – Series 1

November 17, 2006 on 8:38 pm | In Ranma ½ | 9 Comments

Ranma ½: one of the holy grails of nineties anime fandom. That’s the period of holy grails I tend to be most interested in, quite possibly because I had the means to read about anime for about six years before I had the means to watch it. Many people will cry out with the law of diminishing returns, but, I will argue, there can be no return more diminished than the sequels to Project A-Ko.

The reason that I liked the first season of Ranma ½ as much as I did was because it had that charming earnestness that was the hallmark of several titles of the era. My only real problem is that this first series is somewhat insubstantial, but the existence of six other series soothes that to a small degree.

Of course there is always the possibility that rather than substance being added to the insubstantial, Ranma ½ snowballs into an avalanche of the insubstantial. Naturally, I will reserve judgement until a later date. For instance, there are still many characters to be introduced.

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I don’t hate anime

October 27, 2006 on 12:37 am | In Anime Scene | Comments Off on I don’t hate anime

I’ve been consumed by a lack of motivation in the face of anime the last six weeks or so. Apart from the Nana clip episode, I can’t remember if I’ve watched anything since I want to return to that day.

Working hard on pretending to be ready for my Japanese speaking test tomorrow (including the memorable line “I’m so glad that the Cold War has ended. Russia, banzai!”), I had the opportunity to steal my speaking partner’s library of music.

The folder was filled with a plethora of obscure songs from obscure titles, and before long I was rocking out to “Horizon”, the ED of Argento Soma:

Music has the power to send you back. I was instantly transported to those fine days when I was provided with one of my few true moments of anime shock and elation.

Heck, as I sit here avoiding work, I’m listening to the first ED of Suzuka. A lot of the time, music can be better than the show it supports. Suzuka had the makings of greatness but it ended up with the endings of suckness.
Even as I sit here, I’m drawn towards Sakura Diaries once more. That’s effed up romance done right.

The big watershed moment for me was listening to Hayashibara Megumi’s excellent ED for Abenobashi. That’s a case of double nostalgia right there.

All I need to say is this: I don’t hate anime, and I’m looking forward to reliving my glory days with the DVDs. Those days when things were that much simpler.

I’m not ready yet; don’t expect me to check back in for proper until mid November at the earliest. I might let you know that I’m still alive from time to time, and I’ll probably keep updating my other half in the meantime.

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