I’m constantly feeling bad for not updating this site and not posting reviews as frequently as I use to. University seems to divert my attention towards other things like work, computers, games, programming, going out, having drinks, actually living by my self ect. And since the only animated films I can see that I haven’t reviewed are the very few DVDs that are currently in my flat, the cinema which outside of The Adventures of Tintin (if OMG doesn’t upload it then I’ll put it on this site) has been stale and disinteresting before the Oscar-bait films start showing at the nearby cinema, any that I could borrow and the rare chance that one of my friends stream it, I haven’t had any stuff of great interest to review. So I figured that since my focus is on University, I could probably write something relevant that is somewhat related to University AND is relevant to the stuff on this site. THE ANIME SOCIETY. Since I’m currently studying at Staffordshire University, it’d make sense that I join the local anime society, the Student Otaku Society, where anime fans go to watch three and a half hours of recent anime on a big lecture theatre screen. It’s a fun place to be, since everyone is either friendly, entertaining or completely insane, there’s always a chance to play video games and eat quick meals and listen to music that you cannot understand without learning a completely knew language. I go on alternate weeks because the Wednesday meet ups happen to coincide with a bi-weekly coffee meet up I attend in Birmingham, so usually I’m watching anime there or catching up sometime later in the week. I figured I can talk about the anime I’ve been watching at these meets, but since I’m currently part of the way through on all but one of these, I’m not going to be giving spoilers and I’d don’t want anyone who comments to be giving spoilers either.
A middle school student, Igarashi Ganta, gets falsely accused for the mass genocide of his classmates after a mysterious man in red slaughters them all and impales him with a stone that grants him the power to manipulate his blood, known as the Branches of Sin. He gets sent to Japan’s only privately owned prison, known as Deadman Wonderland, where the most dangerous criminals are kept and are used for entertainment at the prison’s theme park. Ganta has to get use to his new surroundings and try to survive in order to understand his powers, why he was given them, and to claim back his freedom. When I saw the first few episodes, my initial reactions were either confused or annoyed because most of the characters feel very two dimensional and stuff are barely explained until much later in the series. Protagonists like Ganta and Shiro have an annoying first impression and only get complex more than halfway through the 12 episode saga and to start with the only antagonist is the Assistant Warden of the prison Tamaki, who is a terrible, no surprises, uncreative villain I’ve seen in an anime so far, and while other antagonistic people appear later, he is still the main villain of this whole thing. The thing I love the most about this anime though, the opening. It pretty much summarises the dark, goring, gritty nature of this anime, and one clip (0:40) of it alone pretty much describes the prison to such a symbolic level that I could just show you this one image and tell you “This is Deadman Wonderland!”
Baka and Test
The story follows an active, outgoing but very dimwitted student Akihisa Yoshii, a student of the Fumizuki Academy, where students are ranked by their performance, and their benefits related to their ranks. Battles also happen at the academy using a virtual reality system where students can summon Avatars to do battle. Hating the school’s ranking system, especially since one of his classmates, Mizuki Himeji, was assigned to the lowest class with Yoshii because she failed to complete the entrance exam due to a fever, he plans to form an army to fight a war against the higher ranked classes to claim more privileges. This is probably one of the funniest animes I’ve seen ever, since every time I watch an episode I’m literally laughing my ass off at something in the show, and because the anime is very colourful, vibrant, and uses a range of artistic and animation styles for comedic or dramatic effect, it’s also very visually appealing. The range of characters is large enough to have a good development range but not too large to make it easy to lose track of different characters. Its easy to find a favourite character since they all have a different range of personalities and no matter how exaggerated they are, you can relate to some of them. Best way to describe this show? Think of Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star after they took an overdose of suger pills. That or FLCL but with video games. You’ll get crazy experience.
Eden of the East
This is the only one I’ve seen in full, but the society is still showing it from start to finish so I’ve got to stay silent while the episodes play. A young Japanese man suddenly gets a case of amnesia in the most awkward and confusing of circumstances. He finds himself standing in front of the Whitehouse in Washington DC, naked holding only a gun and a phone which gives him up to 10 billion yen and a woman who could do almost anything he wants, with the mission to save the world.
This one is strange for me because after seeing it all the way through, I’m not really sure what impression I’m supposed to have. On one side it’s a comedy with a slowly progressing love interest, since the first episode where the main character Akira Takizawa literally walks in naked towards some US policemen and it is just hilarious, then as the story progress it hints at some commentary on politics and conspiracies in a story that doesn’t really centre around the subject. The progression where Akira slowly discovers who he really is and what the game is and why he’s in it is cleverly implemented in each episode so we want to know more, and the romance between him and Saki Moromi is sweet, but the story is very shallow. There isn’t even a defined protagonist, even when the series is finished and follows on into the film King of Eden, I’m not sure what the eventual goal is for these characters. Maybe the next film, Paradise Lost, will make these more clear to make a good conclusion, but that will need to wait. Also, Noel Gallagher performing the main theme (awesome!) but it doesn’t appear in the DVD (boo!).
A self proclaimed mad scientist Houoin Kyouma (real name Otabe Rintobou) works in his run down apartment that’s above a TV repair shop which he calls a lab along with his childhood friend Mayuri and Super Hacker Daru, claiming that an Organisation is constantly after his ideas. Normally the things he works on a purely crazy ideas, which he doesn’t show much care about other than making him stay in character, however when he witnesses a murder and a mysterious device, he suddenly finds himself seeing time in a whole new light. Him and Daru tinker with a microwave and from it, build a time machine that can send text messages to the past. He is able to explore time travel further with new Lab members such as Makise Kurisu, a tomboyish scientist who doesn’t take Otabe’s attitude too well. However, it seems that his group aren’t the only one after the ability to control time, as experiments get more and more dangerous and get to reaching fatal levels.
If Baka and Test is the best show for entertainment at the meets, then Steins;Gate is the best show for it’s story. It does start off mainly with humour but as the show goes on it gets more and more complex and dramatic. I think it’s like an extended version of “The Girl that Leapt Through Time”, except much darker, popular Japanese/internet culture and a twist in every episode. No really, almost every episode has a twist, whether you notice it immediately or not, and while they can be seen as really repetitive, I think because of the way they lay them out, it keeps you on your toes as when they occur can be unpredictable sometimes. The only thing I’m worried about now is that I’m gonna be let down at the ending, because this thing gets more interesting the more I watch it.
Well I’m enjoying the anime meets, it’d be cool to do some events with the guys there outsite the meets. I know they go to a games store for Magic the Gathering but I don’t play those games. Sorry for the lack of updates (for anyone who cares), I’ll try and get back into the routine sometime soon.