Recommendations for TV, Movies, Anime, Video games, etc.

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Recommendations for TV, Movies, Anime, Video games, etc.

Postby Skids » Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:54 pm

Mainly establishing the topic here at our new home, but I might as well give some quick props to Naoki Urasawa's manga series Monster. Urasawa is billed as Japan's "Master of Suspense," and it's an accolade well-earned: Monster's frightening plot twists, constant air of mystery (But not confusion, unlike in some series where the plot was clearly intended to be mysterious but ends up opaque because of authorial shortcomings), and excellent characterization would make Hitchcock proud. Moreover, by telling a tale of terror set in the real world, namely a German hospital in the 1980s and 1990s, where young Japanese surgeon-in-exile Dr. Kenzo Tenma must deal with serial killers and equally vicious hospital politics, all while remaining committed to his already taxing day to day job: saving lives, Urasawa manages to weave a tale just as, if not more convincingly scary than many full-blown horror series because it could really happen. For a series without giant robots, underage girls or buxom broads, Monster is nonetheless visually very interesting, with its instantly likable and highly expressive character designs and Urasawa's attention to detail and sense of drama in rendering the world the characters live in. Specifically, the precise renditions of automobiles, German locations and medical equipment amongst other items make the story convincing, and the author poses his characters and lights his scenes in just the right way to turn the commonplace into the eerie and shocking.

Recommended, especially because since it's not exactly a flashy title on the bookshelves or on the initial flip-through, meaning some might overlook or dismiss it on first glance.
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Postby Matrix3 » Thu Jan 18, 2007 7:40 pm

Lol. I kept telling myself to post this but kept forgeting. Check out Sgt. Frog once it comes out the US on February. Later episode poke slight fun at other animes (Evangeleon, Spirited Away and etc.).
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Postby Skids » Fri Jan 19, 2007 1:45 am

Oh, we've been waiting for the good sergeant's anime to be licensed for quite some time; we're big fans of the manga series, you see. Gero gero. Mine Yoshikazaki's one of the best guys around at parodying other anime series, a skill which he shows with the constant references to Gundam models throughout the manga, as well as many other well-placed in-jokes. Since it's a Bandai production and Yoshizaki also has ties to Gainax (He designed the Evangelion angels-as-girls figurines) he's able to often make specific Gundam and Eva jokes.
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Postby Transypoo » Sat Mar 17, 2007 2:31 pm

Well, It's not REALLY an Anime, but it's stylistacly similar, and unlike Teen Titans it's not overly zainy with the plus marks an' stuff... actually from what I remember it doesn't HAVE any anime icons in it. The only thing that looks sort of anime in their eyes, but out side of that it looks like the old Batman cartoons.

Now before you go up in arms about it, it's actually really good. Just rent or, Skids, borrow my copy, and watch it before you jump down my throat.

I recomend:Ben10

Although my cousin (Salvation) hates it, you really have to muscle your way past the concept and just watch it. It's witty and clever and has awesome character designs.

Ben is sutablly annoying as a ten year old with alien powers, he uses them for all the wrong reasons and is always finding new powers with in his aliens. Oh, a note, it's not that he has ten alien friends that he calls upon, he actually BECOMES the aliens, but is still himself so he turns into an alien and uses the powers as a ten year old would, for mischif.

A note on the aliens: some of the aliens have recognizable voices. Heatblast has Spikes voice actor. Graymatter has Zim's. (The aliens were named by a ten year old, you think YOU could have come up with better name at ten?)

Gewn is Ben's cousin. So the only femail main character CAN'T get into one of those weird "We're kinda in love enven though we're ten but we'll never be together because it's the glue that hold the whole series together" things. Also she knows some martialarts and can kick but. Plus she's the brain of the operation, even though Grandpa knows more then she does.

Max (the gandfather) He's totally soposed to look like Andy Griffith. TOTALLY! (I won't say much more about him because it's part of the plot.)

So, in short WATCH BEN10!!!!! (Don't watch it on TV it hold up much better on DVD!)
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Postby Skids » Sat Mar 17, 2007 9:19 pm

Why would I jump down anyone's throat? The only things I'm picky about when it comes to Americans handling anime are dubs; most of the time, I'd rather hear the original seiyuu unless a great team is handling the dub. That's the only thing I ever get up in arms about: lousy dubbing jobs. Then again, there are those shows like Bebop and Tenchi where the dub voices were more interesting. Ghost in the Shell works great as a dub, too, as did Appleseed and Outlaw Star. Not too coincidentally, the same people worked on all of those shows except for Tenchi. (Animaze/ZRO Limit.)

Yah, the designs and concept seemed really interesting to me, but I hadn't seen it since I watch so little TV. (Don't even have a cable connection in my room anymore.) I'll be glad to check it out; I have no problem with some stylistic elements from anime being applied to shows; and the French do an awesome job of creating those series that almost trick you into thinking they're anime. Those are good because they use a basic visual vocabulary common to a lot of anime and manga, but understand that there is great room for creative flexibility within that framework...and take advantage of that variety to make unique works.

It took me forever to figure out that Code: Lyoko was French; awesome show, though, perfect example of a good "anime that isn't an anime".

What I have a problem with is certain Amerimanga where it's clear the designers didn't have much originality visually, and instead ripped off the most popular (You might say "generic") anime character design styles. Now, there are plenty of American manga artists who understand that there isn't really one single "Anime/manga style" to be copied, more general visual cues, and either work within the confines of one of the lesser saturated manga visual styles out there or mix manga artists' design sense with their own to create original products.

Thus ends my dissertation on Amerimanga. Thank you, thank you!

I just like joking around because I'm such a UY fan, and there's a supporting character in the series named "Benten". (Lum's "Gods of Luck" biker friend.) So I'm all, what, Benten gets a show, but Ran and Oyuki (Lum's other friends) get the shaft? ^_^
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Postby Transypoo » Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:12 pm

Yes, yes they do.
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Postby Skids » Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:47 pm

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DAMN YOUUUUUU BENTEN!!!

Now, now, let's all keep cool heads, everyone...
Image

Ironically, Oyuki is the scariest character in the entire series when she's angry...
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Postby Matrix3 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:54 pm

Been watching that show. Just did not think about recommending it. Speaking of which I recommend that you watch digimon savers the newest digimon show just warpping up in japan. No word if it will come to the US. Once you watch you'll see that they have gotten rid of the leader's trade mark goggles and the main characters are in their teens (well at least at the start). You can watch the subbed episodes on youtube if you want to check it out.
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Postby Skids » Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:56 pm

Black Lagoon is a great new show from Madhouse (The dudes who animate most of Satoshi Kon's films). If you're a fan of Cowboy Bebop, this series ought to appeal, since, although it's set in the modern day with realistic renditions of equipment and weaponry, it's similar in that it has a ragtag, hard-up cast of characters skirting the edges of the law to make a living, and, although boasting awesome action sequences and high quality animation, retains a sense of humor throughout.

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From left, we have Benny-boy, the group's technical expert, Rokuro Okajima (Rock), the hapless salaryman who falls in with this group of pirates/mercenaries and becomes freed from his downtrodden existence (But still brings a professional face to high seas piracy), Revy the Two Hands, the at-times-borderline-psychotic and always antisocial gun expert, and finally Dutch, their enigmatic, eloquent leader. To quote Dutch: "Amen, Hallelujah, Peanut Butter!"
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Postby Matrix3 » Tue Jul 10, 2007 11:08 pm

Well here's an anime I think you should check out because it has a premise that is unique as far as I can tell. The anime is called monster princess or Princess Resurrection. It is about a boy who on his way to meet his sister in the city is killed trying to save a young woman in black. However this is not the end for him because the woman in black revives him to be her protector from someone who is trying to kill her. Without telling much more of the plot of the anime it involves monsters such as werewolfs, vampires, creatures that resemble the creature from the black lagoon, the invisible man and etc.

Here is a link to a web site were you can download torrents of fan subbed episodes of this anime and (as well as other animes) and that has pictures of the episodes just in case you want to take a look.

http://anime.fansub.tv/series.php/1009/ ... 0Princess/
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Postby Skids » Tue Jul 10, 2007 11:47 pm

Heh, it was only a matter of time, but I've finally joined Haruhi's following thanks to the Bandai DVD releases (I've seen the first eight episodes thus far.).

Man, Kyon has simply gotta be one of my favorite male anime protagonists in quite awhile. It's refreshing to view events through the perspective of a deadpan and sardonic character. I just love how every time one of the more eccentric characters says something mysterious that will probably confuse the audience, Kyon's all "I have no idea what you're talking about" or "What...?" icon-fire.gif It's great because it lampoons the whole "Let's have the characters talk nonsense to make a series seem "sophisticated" problem that we have in the post-Evangelion era. (As an aside, I actually really *like* Evangelion, and get that a lot of the religious terminology and iconography was pretty much thrown in there because the creators thought it was cool or would be splashy, but some shows have unsuccessfully tried to mimic it with a straight face, thinking they could strike gold in the same way.)

Yet although he's always questioning WTF the characters are talking about, we still get nice insight into the humorous workings of Kyon's mind through his narration and dialogue, at the same time, so he's an interesting character in his own right, not just in how he plays the straight man to Haruhi and others but in his personal opinions and observations. His commentary during the Mikuru student film was just priceless, like the whole "What, another pan up?" thing. Heh.

Tomokazu Sugita's performance as Kyon is right-on. He's probably my favorite character in the series.

The whole "If Haruhi's mood turns foul, the universe is pretty much screwed" concept makes for a really novel plot point, to boot.

Looking at the scriptwriters, I can see that Shouji Gatou (Full Metal Panic) was involved. No wonder I like this show so much; FMP was another novel spin on the careworn "high school comedy" formula.)

Glad to read that season two is coming out in Japan!
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Postby Matrix3 » Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:27 pm

XXXHolic (No its not about that nor alcohol) is another anime you should look at. The premise is about a guy who can see/attacts ghosts (no this is not a bleach clone) who meet a woman who can grant any wish a person desires for a price. The guy wanting to not burdened by his ability must become her butler/cook and she will get rid of his ability. I recommend it due to it being another unique anime and also since is brought to you by Clamp the people behind X, Chobits and Card Captor Sakura to name a few. The anime along with the movie has been licensed to be brought to the US while in Japan a second season is about to be shown.
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Postby Skids » Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:31 pm

I recommend the somewhat older, but well-loved anime series from 1999 (Only recently released in the U.S.) "To Heart". At first glance, it seems pretty formulaic as far as high school comedies go...but it's somehow formulaic in a comfortable, pleasant way. It's your tried and true "unrequited/hidden love" story, with the girl as the one with the secret crush and the guy as the oblivious (In fact, literally half-asleep most of the time) childhood friend object of her affections. There are many characters, with appealing if not shatteringly original designs and well-established personalities, and the series is well-plotted. It doesn't seek to or pretend to be groundbreaking; rather, it takes a well-used formula and does good things with it. In this age of slick computer-aided animation, its late-90s visual styling is a pleasant nostalgia trip for those of us who got into anime through shows like Captain Tylor and Slayers back in bygone days of yore.

Mai-Otome is also a thoroughly enjoyable show so far; I like it better than the series that inspired it, Mai-HiME (Which gave a strong showing in its own right, but I feel suffered from not explaining the nature of the HiME's powers and mystical background in sufficient detail for this information junkie. ^ ^). Mai in Mai HiME was an interesting heroine, with her troubled personal background and moodiness...not what you'd expect of a lead in a shonen anime; however, Arika, the heroine of Otome, is refreshing after Mai's fascinating darkness in terms of being spunky, determined but somewhat clueless. Other familiar faces from Mai HiME are recast in this unconnected universe, often with quite different identities and roles to play; I do like how some of the interpersonal dynamics from HiME remain, but with a twist, for instance how HiME student council president Shizuru now plays right hand to Natsuki in her new role as academy headmaster. One of the most amusing turns for me was how the calm and controlled child headmaster, Mashiro, is now a bratty princess. What really impressed me about Otome, though, was the world it takes place in, a combination of science fiction and medieval/fantasy elements, with the characters utilizing and being surrounded by super-technology the origins of which is sometimes mysterious and blurs with ritual and magic. There's a very clearly defined reason for the Otome, the super-heroines, to exist (Trained to be bodyguards for heads of state, royalty; whatever afflicts your master, you suffer as well), and their powers are, while being somewhat magical girl-like, grounded in science fiction (Their outfits and weapons are generated by nanites inserted into their bloodstreams; the nanomachines, however, will be negatively affected by certain male hormones, so receiving them and becoming an Otome is equivalent to a vow of chastity.)

Visually, the imaginative outfits, creatures, weapons and surroundings of Otome wow me much more than the school uniform styling of Mai HiME, which while stylish, were...well, school uniforms, something you see a lot of in anime.

Let's see...what else have I seen lately...oh, Girls High is a lot of fun; it's a very funny, vulgar and uncompromising look at life in an all-girls' high school.
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Postby Transypoo » Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:24 am

I suggest, if I have not already, BLAME!! (The first exlamation mark is part of the title)

Sort of the ultimate cyberpunk, there is NO similarity to our world... what so ever.

It takes place in aworld made of endless level, like a planet sized building. The world is aparently millions of years old, and the people have no knowlage of "Sky" or "ground". The characters seem to be born as cyborgs, and can survive four hundred foot drops. It strange and awesome, and eventhough I'm on vol. 5 I STILL don't really know what's going on, but it's starting to come clear, with "Net Terminal Genes" and "The Athority" and names like "Mensab," "Killy," and "Cibo."

Read it.

If you don't...

You only have your self to BLAME!
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Postby Skids » Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:21 am

Hey Mutate, don't bother with the Battle Vixens manga; I'm slowly realizing more and more what a horrible translation it is. Nobody wants to scanlate it, either, since it's licensed. Every time I come across a "scanlation," it just turns out to be the Tokyopop version. Oh well, there's still the anime; at least that was translated decently, and there's a second season on the way. It even plays out less convoluted.
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