PRICES GO UP AT THE GATE
It’s been over a month since the Madhouse incident and the fact that I vanquished the Anime Gods once and for all, but unfortunately, when the police search for any remains and dead bodies, they reported that there are no traces of the Anime Gods and soon began to question me. They would have questioned the others but they skip town and no one has ever heard anything from them since. As for me however, I ended up in the hospital due to the serious life-threatened wounds and the result from the various fights I been in. But before he left, Prof. Paradox left his serum of Blue Leaf and carefully administered it in my system but the healing process takes a lot of time along with rehab, learning to walk again in order to avoid blood clots, and that could meant the end of my anime reviewing privileges since I basically killed(?) My handlers but then I noticed a wrapped box under my bed and I reached for a stick and dragged it out of there and quickly rip the wrapping paper and the package reveals itself as…..another anime review for me to do and it’s………AZUMANGA DAIOH.
Hmmmm…….It’s a slice of life comedy anime. I haven’t done this type of anime in a while and it seems like the perfect time to do it, since I did a monster anime, a shonen-style fighting anime, one about zombies and fan service, a sleeper one, one about either memory disks or something and a Satoshi Kon anime. I think it’s due for a change in pace. Anyway, the original source of this is a comedy manga created by Kiyohiko Azuma and serialized by MediaWorks that run from 1999 to 2002 in the manga magazine Dengeki Daioh in 4 volumes and also drawn in a series of vertical four-panel comic strips called yonkoma.
So, which anime studio did the animation for this? Is it Kyoto Animation? AIC ASTA? No. From what I heard, it is……..JC STAFF!??!?!?!??!?
The same J.C. Staff that made the awful first entry of an already awful show Ikki Tousen?
Not only that, it’s the same company that made my least favorite anime and what I considering to be the most awful piece of s*** anime I ever seen…….Eiken.
Oh boy, let’s hope JC Staff improve on their edition of…….No, wait, it was released before Ikki Tousen & Eiken, so like Studio ARMS, they tend to go on a backward slide with me so far and it isn’t looking good for either of them.
The plot for this show is very basic: it chronicles the everyday life in an unnamed Japanese high school of six girls and two of their teachers:
Chiyo Mihama - a child prodigy who has skipped five grades to tenth grade (the first grade in Japanese high school)  at the start of the series and is still at the top of the class.
Tomo Takino - a very hyper energetic (sometimes annoying as fuck) and competitive girl, despite being nonathletic and a slacker. She is extremely impulsive and never considers—nor cares about—the consequences of anything she says or does.
Koyomi “Yomi” Mizuhara - she is a grade-school friend and general antithesis of Tomo's. She is the voice of reason, and the most mature and sometimes bitter of her friends—and as such, the comic foil to the others' silliness.
[Both Yomi and Tomo are seen as manzai (a traditional style of stand-up comedy) comedians, with Yomi being the tsukkomi (the straight man) and Tomo being the boke (the simple-minded one).]
Ayumu “Osaka” Kasuga – Well, you guess it, a transfer student from Osaka and many people (mostly Tomo) at first, expecting her to act like the stereotypical Osakan—loud, exuberant and fond of bawdy jokes—chose for her the nickname "Osaka", although Ayumu's behavior could not be more different as in she considers herself “slow” and “spacey”.
Sakaki – The tall, shy and soft-spoken one of the group and sometimes uncomfortable with her height and physique and because she seldom speaks (something I can relate to), she is often misinterpreted and admired as being “tough”, “mysterious” and “cool” and that her reputation compounded by her natural athletic ability. She is also obsessed with cute things and blushes whenever she sees a cat or dog, but whenever she pets a cat, she always get bitten and that’s play for comedic effect.
Kagura – While she makes most appearances in the first year, she does not become a true acquaintance of the group until sometime later, joining Yukari's class in the 2nd year (Yukari selects her as a ringer to win the school athletic competitions). She is often similar to Tomo in her level of sheer energy and lack of interest in studying but isn’t prone to her impulsive outbursts.
The two main teachers, Yukari Tanizaki & Minamo “Nyamo” Kurosawa, both of whom are high school friends and sometimes rivals, despite of that, they are still at good terms with each other – Yukari being the girls’ English and homeroom teacher of Class 3 with vary of unconventional methods and has a close relationship with the class, especially the main characters (obviously), and often selfish, irresponsible, miserly, and generally dysfunctional, and shamelessly expects somebody to not only tolerate all of this, but to enable it. Nyamo is the P.E. teacher at the school and is very kindhearted, popular with the students and less obnoxious than Yukari.
Also, Yukari's driving is just horrible. If her and the mom from Ponyo ever be in a race, expect a lot of casualities and warped psyches.
Other characters include Kimura, the only regular male character who is a creepy and semi-perverted teachers who personally just creeps the hell out of me and his character design just says to me, “Somebody call Chris Hansen right away.” Also, he openly admits becoming a teacher to be close with high-school girls. Still, he really is the only cringe worthy character on that show.
Kaori¸ or also known as Kaorin, is the unofficial part of the main group and yes, she is the one who either is infatuated or has a crush on Sakaki and nobody is aware of this and it’s unknown that Sakaki would reciprocate or if Kaori would want to……..well, guess. But I bet a lot of fan fiction writers would like to contribute to that. Also, she has to deal with the very creepy Kimura and I don’t blame her for mostly acting in shock most of the series, even if it can be very annoying.
The animation is very gag-based and has these strange and chibi/moe-style visuals and it fits appropriately for this type of series with its disjointed and oblique humor. It may not be a visual marvel but compare to the other JC Staff anime I reviewed so far, it is glorious. The music is very upbeat and very cutesy and could sometimes drive you crazy and even the names of the opening and ending songs could drive you into a sugar coma. Get it? The songs for the opening and ending are called, “Soramimi Cake” and “Raspberry Heaven”. I’m surprised they didn’t make a song called “Vanilla Sky”.
FINAL VERDICT: I really did enjoyed or love this show. It makes laugh among numerous times, while most of the characters can get annoying, it isn’t overbearing and nerve-racking, they can rebound on their likeness and while it does get emotional, it doesn’t get depressing and I can myself re-watching this. Would I recommend this to people? I have no clue about that.
If it fits your taste.
Anyway, Azumanga Daioh gets the final score of:
Planet Tyro Rating: FIRST CLASS
All of a sudden, I begin to get up and try to walk towards the end of the hall, carrying my IV and then the Blue Leaf is starting to kick in and I was spazzing all over the hallway and the nurses are checking to see what is wrong with me and then a blue light shine inside me and then, a big neon blue flash came out of me and then……..
I was out of the hospital but I’m still in the gown and I check to see my surroundings and wonder where I was and asked a stranger and all that said was, “You’re in Cashis”, and what I known about Cashis is that it is really Hell on Earth and it makes Detroit look like Palm Springs.
Unbeknownst to me, an assassin dressed in dark clothing was viciously stalking me and as it turns out somebody planned to put a hit out on me and anyone who associate with me during the last few weeks and this one seems to be somebody who can’t be turned to the other side.
AZUMANGA DAIOH – animation by JC STAFF / distributed by AeSIR HOLDINGS (formerly ADV FILMS)
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
I’m stuck in one of the worst cities in an hour from the hospital and yet I don’t know how I gotten there. I get the Blue Leaf is supposed to phase and transport you to the next area within two minutes distance but is this batch of Blue Leaf that Paradox cooked up is more advanced than what he knows but yet, he should know. He made the formula and I’m sure Jumper tested it out but then as I walk toward a restaurant, I asked to see if there was a pay phone available and why I ask for a pay phone? I don’t have a cellphone, that’s why. People said I never go anywhere and yet here I am, a long way from home. I went to call everybody I knew from the mansion as I call towns and cities in Florida, California, United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, South Africa, and Illinois and yet there was no response from either of them. My guess is that they are still on the run and don’t want to be on the grid, and suddenly, this guy tried to knock me out with a broken beer bottle and quickly phase and broke his arm. He seems to be defeated but as I stared and mostly ran, he quickly got the feeling of his arm back and chases me from the restaurant and threw knives at me and then remembers I can phase out of there but before I can, he took a needle and drugged me…….that reminds me, this master assassin seems to remind me a lot of this character in the next anime du jour and let’s say it’s a return to something known……This is MEZZO DSA.
Hey, remember when I did the review of Mezzo Forte or if you see the anime? If not, then I suggest you stop where you are now, watch Mezzo Forte, then read my review of that and Kite (the double review) because there will be spoilers that are only for Mezzo Forte in this review that connect throughout most of the episodes in DSA, although they never use it enough to make it a good continuous storyline but I’ll get to that in a while.
I would say this show has a plot and/or storyline but most of the time it is the typical “bad guy or assignment of the week” episodes and they do have their biggest case that serves as the main plot of the story and it’s finding out why someone wants Kurokawa, the bitter ex-cop and head honcho of the DSA, assassinated.
To recap on the main characters, Mikura is the brawns of the group that can kick a lot of ass and have a short temper when it comes to doing her job. Harada is the brains and the technical expertise of the group that handles all the robot bodies, just like Forte.
All three main characters are pretty decent like last time but here’s one thing that bothered me: when has Harada shown interest in Mikura because in the series, there were some hints at that although like the first Hentai scene in Forte, it felt very unnecessary and unneeded but then again, I didn’t mind the Hentai scenes in the first one. Also there is a new character introduced in the series and her name is Asami and you first see her appear getting beat up by grade school girls who are getting her lunch money or something like that and then she met the DSA and I thought The Boondocks illustrated that point where grade school girls are never to be fucked with. Anyway, Asami wants to be just like Mikura because of how skilled a fighter and a gun-toting girl she turned out to be. Thankfully, she isn’t up to Scrappy Doo levels but she still doesn’t feel that useful but only to add some cuteness into the show and that goes double for Mikura’s new design. Yeah, the animation in here is slightly inferior to Forte due to the fact that Forte did have the budget for 2 episodes and DSA has 13, it shows and it seems a little big off. Some of the original character designs were altered with different colors and face expressions. I also feel like they should have used some storylines from Forte to give the show more into a continuing plot like (SPOILERS AHEAD):
Remember the psycho insane girl, Momomi Momoi, which Mikura fought and killed? A longtime friend of hers named Sakura met the girl Momomi when she was about to get gang raped and Momomi rescued the girl and since then, they became lovers after that and when she is killed, Sakura swore revenge against the people who murdered her. I would have like to get more into that storyline and see how it progress instead of the Kurokawa assassination plot because the assassin hired to kill Kurokawa has got to be the most blandest characters in that show. He’s a very typical hired hand, mother was murdered and killed his father for murdering the mom and so on and so forth.
The dub wasn’t half bad although I kind of miss having Melissa Fahn as Mikura but instead they got Luci Christian to do her voice, mainly to the fact that this is an ADV dub and this actress does associate herself with that company and its successor, Sentai Filmworks. She was good in her role but it wasn’t a stand-out. The music is hardly noticeable and doesn’t stand out in my opinion and the opening song was alright and the ending song was something I would just skip just like the other ending songs in the past.
FINAL VERDICT: To me, this is the diet version of Mezzo Forte. Now I don’t miss the Hentai element in the series at all but as a regular action anime, this was a decent and relativity OK series but as a successor to the first OVA, this is very bland and it doesn’t leave much of an afterthought when you finished it. I make it sound like the first OVA was the masterpiece of anime and it wasn’t. The OVA was a stupid but very fun anime that I whole-heartedly enjoy. The series was OK but it should been tweaked a little bit more. Would I recommend this? Maybe to those who saw the first one and I recommend that you see the OVA before seeing the series.
Sadly, I have to give Mezzo DSA…..
Planet Tyro rating: Vanilla
I wake up to find myself tied to a chair and my feet nailed to the floor and luckily, nobody stripped me naked like in Casino Royale and use a ball of rope to hit me in the nads but they would soon do worst things than that. The guy with the mask started to question me about the mansion incident and I responded to nothing and remain silent. Then he question me about the people take were with me at the time and said to spill names. I told the guys one of the guys’ names is similar to one of the cheating & scandal celebrities and I said names like Eric Benet, Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, John Edwards and they knew I got it wrong and kept beating me. They ask about the rabbit-based character and I said I don’t remember Bugs Bunny being at the mansion and hit me again. Then they questioned about the beast, the scientist, the experiment, the guy whose name is a MLP: FIM villain which I think you know by now, and the two ladies that was with him at the time and they were really getting to be too personal with the latter and then I demanded him to show me his identity and he was reluctant to do it and then that is when the shit hits the fan. The masked assassin happens to be…….me. But it wasn’t really me. He looks to be like a clone and then after that reveal, he punched me in the face and knocked me out cold again with a swift sucker punch.
MEZZO DSA – animation by ARMS / distributed by ADV FILMS
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
Once again, I’m still got my lights punched out and this time the person that knocked me out with in fact…..a clone version of myself. I started to wonder how did a clone of me get made and why was it made in the first place. Then he told me the whole story about his existence when the Anime Gods first started to look over me as I do my anime reviews and the top-notch researching I always do (i.e., Wikipedia or some shit) and one day I felt a slight nerve at the back of my head and as it turns out, one of them snatch some DNA (hair) from my body and created a baker’s dozen of clones in case I started to turn rogue against them and it couldn’t come at a perfect time like this. Now, I don’t know much of his plans to do with my image and what he or did after that is inject another drug to put me to sleep because I guess punching someone in the head too many times can damage the brain but what kind of punch can knock you out without lifting a finger……..and the answer is SWEAT PUNCH.
Another day, another dime, another anime brought to you by Studio 4’C and again this is an anime collection of short films but this time it is only 52 minutes in total length and only 5 shorts, but only 4 had been previously featured in the 4-volume DVD magazine series, “Grasshoppa!”, and upon the collection and release of 2007’s Deep Imagination, a fifth one was added later and unfortunately for me, I didn’t know there was a fifth short prior to this review but I did manage to finish all the shorts…..12 minutes later after finding that out.
Professor Dan Petory’s Blues
The first short is a musical number or something close to that about a hand puppet name Junior controlled by the title character in his drunken stupor and explains via puppetry the answers to the many questions concerning the world like why the Earth is blue and any other subject involving relativity. The beginning did confuse me for a bit because I originally thought it was going to be some professor frustrated with his wife. The animation and overall image presentation is below average in visuals and disturbing at a few time especially the puppets and their musical scenes and I thought the puppet idea should have been ditched for the better and animate the puppet sequences. Aside from the dialogue, it got have been better but everything else was a bit of a letdown.
End of the World
The second short is a science fiction story about a young alien girl named Yuko as she escapes from the world of humans. After returning to her own world with Kazumi, a human girl she met at a rock concert on Earth, Yuko wages a retaliatory campaign against hordes of S&M monsters, and the evil queen of Yuko's world and yet this one particular short is very tedious to watch and most of the time I didn’t care for this one. Some of the animation is very choppy and mediocre at best and most of it is very tedious to watch until the middle or very end of the short and not because it was near the end. The middle part of the short actually was interesting to watch.
The third short is based on Shubert's "Lucifer," and details the adventures of a pale young girl and her interactions with the mysterious "Black Knight" who has the power to utterly decimate entire armies. This is actually the best of all the five shorts on here. The story is better improved and one to pay attention, the animation didn’t look like a rush job and look like a finished painting that aged well, there is more character development in this short than the other ones and we barely learn any characters from this short but it is quite superior in animation and story to the others.
The fourth short is a mecha piece set in a battlefield. The story revolves around three soldiers in mech powersuits who are engaged in a fight to the death against two mobile tanks. This one has the “what would happen if this were the last moments of your life” element thrown there and it isn’t much of a story but it’s the recap or playback of past scenes and the dark and ambient visual style fits into this short and it was the second best short in this compilation.
The final short (the one I forgot to look at until now) is a sci-fi story of a young boy who discovers and befriends a small robot and as he becomes hungry and eats, he grows in size as he devours machines of increasing size. This is pretty straightforward and it gets the point instead of just spreading itself very thin in order for you to decipher it. It’s a similarity to a “kid and pet” story. It’s a decent story and the animation for this one is also great here, too, and it doesn’t feel clunky and out of order at all.
FINAL VERDICT: While it may be a good thing to go beyond into these kinds of shorts, most of them did not work at all or they are too much of the same thing that any other better anime director would do. The first two shorts are the first examples of that, it tries to be deep and surreal but it turns out to be very pretentious and too much for its own good. The latter three shorts were an okay to good watch and I would suggest you watch those shorts and just skip the first two. Overall, these shorts try nothing new and basically, it’s been done before.
In other words, Sweat Punch gets the rating of:
Planet Tyro rating: Vanilla
More and more, I’m starting to get tired of being knocked out and drugged, especially since I spent my time in the hospital mostly being that and this time, we’re outside and the clone is getting his silencer, ready to shoot me in the head and as I explain if he kills me, he will never get any info about me or the team but he already got the information from my head and knows where the others are located at. Then I thought to myself, oh wait, I got the Blue Leaf and then I activate it and jump on the guy and grab his gun and aim for a clear shot of his head but he quickly makes it hard for me and threw it toward the river and we began punching and stomping each other in the stomach and other areas and as we reach for that gun, the Blue Leaf kicked in and transported us to another location and unfortunately for me, we transported into the location where Professor Paradox is located and it is the first one on the clone’s list to hunt and interrogate…
SWEAT PUNCH – courtesy of Studio 4’C.
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
As me and the Hybrid Clone was transported into where Professor Paradox was at, Paradox was startled, shocked, and confused to see two versions of me and like anybody, he could not tell which one is the real version of me and just like that, the Clone pulled a gun out of his holster and aim straight to the two of them, demanded them to get the Blue Leaf and administered it to him or he will fill a fistful of bullets in all of us. I quickly responded with, “FUCK THAT!!” and beat the shit out of him and kept punching him, mostly payback for knocking me out several times and stomp on him like he was on fire and then gave him a horse kick and now he’s the one that knocked out. So I explain anything to Paradox, warned him about the Anime Gods sending an assassin to exterminate him and the others involved, and then he called up Jumper and we dragged out the body and plan to dump the remains at the river, which is behind the HOUSE OF FIVE LEAVES.
Funny thing about coming across this anime, I originally thought it was named “House of Blue Leaves”, and I wonder after that, how in the hell did I get ‘five’ confused with ‘blue’? I guess I got “Kill Bill” on the mind when I thought of that title. Anyway, the anime is based on the Japanese manga of the same name by Natsume Ono and serialized in Shogaukan’s seinen magazine Ikki (from 2006-2010). The series is animated by Manglobe, the same company that brought you Samurai Champloo and Ergo Proxy and this is completely different from any samurai-based anime you seen before.
The plot or storyline is focused on a samurai named Akitsu Masanosuke, a skilled and loyal swordsman who has no master under him and once again, he was been fired by his lords and start to look for bodyguard jobs and he find one working for a guy named Yaichi, the leader of the gang “Five Leaves”. As he is delve inside the world of the Five Leaves, the more he finds himself fascinated and involved with the people he associates himself with, especially some with many questionable past lives.
You may wonder if there is going to be any action, thrills, or anything that expect from a samurai anime, well, you might want to keep on looking because it does not fulfill that need that you wanted.
This is a samurai anime that is character and story driven and whiles the pace of the series does get numbingly slow in the beginning and it still gets that way towards the end and the amount of character development is adequate and well-needed but as for the story development, I never quite understand most of it halfway through the series’ runtime yet in some parts, I could make out some details of it.
The atmosphere in the series including the main character design of Akitsu comes off as depressing and unenthusiastic, especially the latter. He really just looks like he doesn’t want to be here or just has the same emotionless, expression-less, Keanu Reeves look. However, he isn’t that bad of a character. I’m fine with him not being an all-mighty samurai. Not every character in every form of entertainment (especially Anime) needs to be this powerful character. All the other characters (especially Yaichi) are well-developed and practically carries the show.
The animation done by Manglobe is non-traditional in character designs and backgrounds and while it looks fascinating to the eyes, it isn’t actually up to par and it can get very tiresome and I sort of gotten sick of that look during the 10th episode. The upbeat opening and ending songs really does contrast from the rest of the show’s bleak and bland tones.
FINAL VERDICT: The show does manage to get story and character development spot-on, it is different than the other anime that is close to this but it is enjoyable to watch? Well, at a time, you can but it has an unbelievably slow pace that can turn off most viewers but a bad show this is not. An underwhelming show it is but would I suggest this? Uhhhhh………I don’t know. This is something you need to figure out for yourself but I can’t help you on this one.
However, my score for House of Blue Five Leaves is
Planet Tyro rating: Watchable
We arrived at the river and pre-packaged the body in a body bag and I, Paradox & Jumper carefully drugged the guy so he wouldn’t try and escape but when Paradox tried to drug him, he discovers that we drugged the WRONG GUY!!! That and the clone have escaped even after we opened the trunk, which was a very stupid idea in the first place, and suddenly, the clone swiped the Blue Leaf and just swallows it orally. He started to pull out the gun but realize he didn’t need a gun to take us out but grab me and threw me to the ground. Then Jumper decides to take on the clone and it is not looking good for either of them and both of them get their asses kicked and then the clone disappears and continues the rest of them. However, I think I know what location he’s going to……but it’s the place I’m worried about. His next target is located in…..somewhere in Durban.
HOUSE OF FIVE LEAVES – animation by MANGLOBE, courtesy of NoitaminA, U.S. distribution by NIS AMERICA (online distribution by FUNIMATION)
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
There was trouble brewing and pretty soon it could come to the other side of the world…..The Hybrid Clone just escaped from being dumped into the river and transported himself to Durban, South Africa. He did have a reason to travel there and unfortunately it is all a part of his hit list and the next target happens to be Ani. Now, initially, I was worried about her and the endangerment she was going to encounter but yet I know she was a woman who isn’t willing to give up and it helps that she has a bad-ass arsenal of weapons. So, it was all up to me, Paradox & Jumper to travel to South Africa and get to the clone before he hurts another one of us and I loaded up with Blue Leaf and focus on my journey but made a pit stop in Georgia and that’s when I ran up to Discord, or as of now he goes by the name of Batmare (Ask him why he named himself that), and of course, I warned him about the clone that was me and he said to me some shit about if I was the clone and was tricking him and it went on for the next 10 minutes and yeah, let’s skip that and get to the mission. Operation URSA Minor Blue.
This 20-minute anime short comes from Tamura Shigeru, an animator/manga artist, who has worked in several animated works including The Glassy Ocean and Phantasmagoria and has contributed to the defunct manga magazine Garo. For me, finding the information on the director and this anime is pretty obscure and I couldn’t find more info on him but hopefully, the little info I gotten might help this.
Here’s the plot in a nutshell: This adventurous story of a boy named Uri and an old man takes place in the cosmic Milky Way where the starfish live. This is the tale of their fantasy journey in search of the mysterious monster fish. Yuri discovers a new star near Ursa Minor. Further observation of the newly found celestial body lets his grandfather witness the transformation of the constellation into a diabolic looking fish swimming up the Milky Way. It's up to Yuri and his grandfather to stop all the destruction this monstrous fish is causing.
Now, the only two main characters or the ones worth talking about is, obviously, Uri and his grandfather and to sum them up, they are straight-forward simple and was simple as they are, they didn’t need any more characterization. There isn’t any deep dialogue between the two of them but they do have a purpose throughout the short and weren’t just faffing about nothing. The same thing can be said about the story, too. It is a very straight-forward and simple story with no unnecessary filler or idiocy.
The animation reminds me a bit of the old TinTin cartoon that was on HBO and maybe the comics, too, but I have no recollection of that and it is very non-traditional Japanese animation (i.e., back to surreal style anime) and at first, it did look a bit cheap but cheap doesn’t mean it will be bad and sometimes the basics and simplicity do work out in your favor and I think I said this too many times but it can work out if it’s done right. Really, how many times have I said that during my reviews? The music, I really didn’t pay much attention to, but it does play like a 16-bit RPG game but not much of a stand-out.
FINAL VERDICT: This short does the simplest style of animation, story, characters and music but sometimes using what you got to make the best anime short doesn’t make you cheap. It’s simple but it is a good anime short to watch. Would I recommend this to you? Yes, I would
URSA Minor Blue gets their score of
Planet Tyro rating: Solid B.
Finally, we jumped enough places until we arrived at Durban and we split up to cover more ground to find Ani and can only contact via walkie-talkie in case something happens. We all searched and look in the phone books for her real name and ask people who know her to figure out where she lives….but since 4 Americans asking for a girl’s address for somebody we only knew once seems a bit suspicious for people but I guess we have something that shouts “TRUST US!”
Meanwhile, Ani was just getting home to her place and she noticed that her door was slightly ajar and of course, she was packing and walk inside and then as she looked around the area for any intruders and still no sign of anyone…until she turn around and notice that I came around and she was irritated at first that I broke into her apartment and almost could’ve shot me but she did welcome me, I told her about the clone that the Anime Gods created and he put out a hit list on us and told her to get ready to plan an attack.
But what she doesn’t know that the real me and the rest of the crew was still searching for her and we reach to her place 30 minutes later. While at there, she was changing into new clothes and “I” was searching around for something and then….you know what? Yes, that person masquerading as me is the clone and it looks like we are a bit too late as the Clone was about to barge into Ani’s room while she was still changing and as he did, I grab an chain and began to wrap it around his neck and kick the shit out of him but grab the chain and started to whip me with the chain and Jumper grab the gun and pistol-whipped the clone but it seems that he wasn’t that much of an easy feat and snatch the gun and pistol-whipped Jumper and Paradox and then Disc…I mean, Batmare lay down some smoke pellets and Ani grab some nightvision goggles and find the exit and getting the guys round up and the right version of me together and all of us run out of there quickly and then…we jumped out of that spot and transported into…...
URSA MINOR BLUE – courtesy of Tamura Shigeru Studio
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
So, as we last left, the crew has gotten into a scuffle with the Hybrid Clone and after we kept him busy for a while, we transported ourselves right into…….Florida. The place where there is sun, beaches, and sexy women hanging around and it’s basically the Southern version of California and it’s paradise to you, right? Well, Florida is also known for other unfortunate events in the past, whether they are idiotically insane or tragically devastating. So, it was only me, Ani, Jumper, Paradox & Discord (yeah, we’re going with this name again and I’m sticking to it) and now we are off to search for another member of our crew as one of them currently reside down there, the one called Lucky and we need to warn them about the clone coming before it arrives and then a few minutes by here, the clone just arrived down here and need some transportation and saw a vacant motorcycle and just as he was about to steal it, the owner came out, saw her bike get stolen, reach out her hammer and try to aim at the head and not damaging her ride and soon he stops, he zoomed into the girl, grabbed her gun and shot the bike and it explodes. So, yeah, he had no reason to steal the bike if he can just jump from place and place and speaking of that……….this is TRIGUN……& TRIGUN: BADLANDS RUMBLE.
Originally, I was going to review this under the Madhouse saga, but immediately decided against it due to college work and time. Also, this is first time I watched the entire series (AND REMEMBER, I review anime series and/or anime OVA/movies that I either heard but not seen and some not heard of nor seen, that’s in case I didn’t say this earlier) and the fact it’s been on Adult Swim around 2003, I had gone 9 years (or 14 years if you count when it was released in Japan) without seeing the series as a whole. From what I know from the show, it is a Space Western Adventure series (kind of like the vein of another anime series with that theme and presence) and yet, it didn’t garnered much of an audience in Japan but it did accomplish that goal in America, considering the themes and surroundings of the show have something that is more related to western society.
Anyway, the plot is centered on a very lighthearted, expert marksman named Vash the Stampede or “The Humanoid Typhoon” (because I really don’t believe that this is his real name: Valentinez Alkalinella Xifax Sicidabohertz Gumbigobilla Blue Stradivari Talentrent Pierre Andres Charton-Haymoss Ivanovicci Baldeus George Doitzel Kaiser III - try saying that three times in a row), who is a very known outlaw for causing damage whenever he appears and because of that, bounty hunters are hunting and chasing him for the pursuit of “60,000,000,000 $$” (sixty-billion double dollars)”. Yeah, if you had a bounty like that on your head, you’ll be dead within a heartbeat and to think what will you do with money like that, I could either rule the world with an iron fist, having legions of armies surrounding me, have harems all day every day and…….wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, Trigun.
Then there are the two insurance employees from the Bernardelli Insurance Society named Meryl Strife & Milly Thompson. Meryl is the strong-willed yet hotheaded one of the duo and finds Vash to be more of a nuisance than what most people already preceded as him. She soon begins to have some romantic feelings toward him but it was never determined in the series. Milly is the kind-hearted and genuinely optimistic one in the duo. She always looks up to Meryl and that’s despite her physically towering over her. Did I mention that Meryl hides her many derringer-style pistols under her coat and Milly carries and hides a heavy concussion gun under her coat?
There’s also Nicholas D. Wolfwood aka Nicolas the Punisher, taken in by a Chapel and modifies him with as an successor and also carries a special large cross-shaped gun called The Punisher, containing two machine guns and a rocket launcher. The main antagonist in the series is Millions Knives (what the hell kind of name is that? It sounds worse than Jacuzzi Splot.) And he is Vash’s twin brother and he has a superiority complex of how humans are inferior creatures, has no value of life for others and only believes in survival of the fittest and always seeks to dissuade Vash basing his life around the idealistic way taught by Rem Saverem, a SEEDS ship crew member who instills the philosophy of how every being deserves life.
Now on the serious tip, that philosophy that I just mentioned does have good tensions surrounding around it but it have some shaky flaws towards it. Vash doesn’t want to end an being life but most of the times, the being that he let go ends up hurting and killing innocent ones that never deserves it and the ones that have no remorse, no regrets toward anyone but themselves does not deserve a second chance, especially some of the villains in the show, including Knives and yes, even though Knives is a villain and I’m supposed to hate him, I immediately want that guy to be killed off and wanted him to have an bullet enter his cranial. Vash does have good intentions and a little more humanistic but the ideals he was brought up are not always up to perfection and very flawed.
Now as for the animation and since it was made in 1998, it looks really dated as for now but Madhouse did made some good animation at that time period and I think it does get either better or slightly worse into the show. The opening music and the ending theme music are a fantastic feat done by Tsuneo Imahori and of course, Akima & Neos. So, in short, I really love the music in the series.
FINAL VERDICT: Despite that flawed philosophy ramble I made, this is an enjoyable series that I would consider to be a favorite. The characters are mostly humanistic (well, the main characters are) and likable; it doesn’t skimp on the character development that much and spread it on some of the characters, although there is little development on the girls but it wasn’t much of a problem. Would I recommend this to anyone? Yes, I would.
So, the crew arrived where Lucky is staying at and the first thing we did was…..bang the door like we were the police and the first thing Lucky does is….shot the roof and point the gun at me, wondering why the hell I’m here and from what I detect, Lucky knows about the clone hunting everyone down and how does Lucky know this? Apparently, there are trackers of the world that Lucky conveniently placed whenever the rabbit’s business is to happen and it’s in places like Paraguay, Japan, South Africa, Puerto Rico, etc. Oh, and speaking of Puerto Rico, our good friend Neon happens to be one of the next targets that the Clone is heading. Then a knock on the door rang and said, “Excuse me, have you seen some guy in with an afro whose ass I need to kick? It was the biker girl from earlier that Hybrid knew nothing about and as soon as he opened the door, the girl grabbed the guy and threw him on the ground and the ass-kicking commence. While trying to run away from his undeserved beating, he explain to her that they guy wasn’t me, it was a clone and like any other human being, she didn’t believe that shit and seeing how I didn’t fight back because well, I done nothing wrong and she seems brave and wise enough to know a clone from a real human and also Lucky explained it to her. Anyway, the girl told me her name or what she calls herself is The GSXR, named after a bike of hers and we asked her if she can join us to find the Hybrid Clone, so she can deck him one for destroying her bike and get to Puerto Rico to save Neon before it’s too late.
TWENTY MINUTES LATER
The Hybrid Clone is now holding Neon as hostage and immediately called the Hybrid and told him all about it. The crew would have arrived early if someone who shall remain nameless hadn’t stopped for nachos. Yes, we failed to get to Neon on time because of m*****f***ing nachos. So, he told me to give the Blue Leaf up or Neon gets the ultimate beating of his life. At first, Neon did put up a fight against the Clone, which he did not know it wasn’t me in the first place and he seems confused and a bit betrayed that I would do that even though I didn’t. Anyway, we arrived at Puerto Rico just at the nick of time and Jumper laid out the plan to easily go behind the clone, knock him out, grab Neon and then get the hell out of dodge. It does sound like a good idea at the time and easily add in a silencer to shoot him in the kneecaps to subdue him permanently and that’s a best laid plan for you……and you know what, let’s get back to the review of TRIGUN: BADLANDS RUMBLE.
It’s been over 12 years since the series had first aired and it is also a series reboot of the franchise (well, that or a stand-alone movie) and usually when that happens, a good anime series could end up doing a fantastic movie (Cowboy Bebop: The Movie) or it could end up being the most idiotic attempt of making their characters we know and love into complete insane unlikable and irritating thankless morons (Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers). But, hey, I could be wrong about this one seeing how I did like the series, I wonder if the movie would do the same.
20 years after meddling into the bank heist of a notorious robber named Gasback, Vash the Stampede is heading towards Macca City. The rumors say that the legendary thief might appear there causing an enormous influx of bounty hunters in the area who want to collect the $$300,000,000 prize (which is chump change compared to the bounty on you-know-who) for his head. There is also a female bounty hunter named Amelia, who seems to know of the past life of Vash and Gasback. That and apparently, she have an allergic reaction to males and from what I know, can fight while drunk.
As you may noticed or not, all of your favorite characters from the series are back from Vash the Stampede to Meryl Strife to Milly Thompson to Nicholas D. Wolfwood………wait a minute? Didn’t Wolfwood die in the series run? Does the series take place between episodes like what Cowboy Bebop kind of did? Or is it just a bit of nit-picking? It could be as far as I know and of course if you watch the English dub of this, there is a few voice actor changes from the series (with the exception of Johnny Yong Bosch returning to his role as Vash), mostly due to the fact FUNimation took over distribution of the movie as well as the series after Pioneer/Geneon went under.
As for the animation, it is very fresh and crisp compared to the series, not that the series’ animation wasn’t bad, it was decent but then again this is animation for a 90-minute feature-length movie, not a 26-episode anime series. The music on the other hand is very score-based and I do kind of miss the theme song a little bit and they did play some resemblance of that and mostly, I didn’t pay much attention to the score at all.
FINAL VERDICT: Despite what very little and I mean, little nit-picks I gotten in the movie, I really enjoyed this movie, possibly a bit more than the series since the movie didn’t do a rough mood shift like it was in the series. There were some dramatic moments in there but not in the enormous amount of tear-jerking and depressing elements, just only a few. It is still a fun movie for many fans of the series to enjoy.
But you know what, I am going to give Trigun an 9.5/10 and I would give Badlands Rumble an 10/10 and here’s an surprise for you……my Planet Tyro rating is going to be….
HALL OF FAME.
So the plan has come into fruition.
We met up into some abandoned apartment complex and the Clone said if there were going to be any tricks, he will not hesitate to shoot and kill Neon and then immediately gun us all down.
The exchange is about to happen as I will give the Blue Leaf vials for Neon’s life and so far, the Clone doesn’t have much of an itchy trigger finger and as I give him the ‘vials’, he immediately begin to inject the stuff into him and quickly spill some on the floor and so he tastes the stuff and he notice that it wasn’t the Blue Leaf, but it was Gatorade.
Now in anger, the Clone makes an attempt to shoot Neon, but the real Hybrid grabbed the clone by the neck and slammed him down, only to have the Clone to make him trip and stomping Hybrid in the stomach and chest. Suddenly, Ani shot the Clone with the knife gun and throw back the knife back at her. Luckily for her, he misses but he grabbed Ani by the hair and threw her around and then at the ground. Then GSXR, Jumper and Discord all jumped at the Clone and GSXR really did a number on him as she grabbed a lead pipe and kept beating him mercilessly and grab an knife and stab him in the kneecap, Discord give him an wet willie and said “dogpile” and Jumper kept kicking the shit out of him but soon the Clone emerges from the pile and as soon as that happen, The Hybrid pushed the clone and himself off an window from an 9-story height and got on top of the Clone and then The Hybrid grab an pole to save him from falling and then immediately lets go to stomp on the Clone, hoping to end him once and for all.
But unbeknownst to him, it wasn’t the Clone at all; it was a clone but not that one. As it turns out the real Clone is still indoors and could be executing his friends right now. He got into there and everybody was missing or either wounded. Paradox is left defeated with a gunshot wound to the shoulder and the legs. His condition are stable but in dire need of first aid. The last thing he told me that they kidnapped the others and then transported them to the next location to use my friends to find more of the others and end them off and that location that Paradox told me was:
TRIGUN & TRIGUN: BADLANDS RUMBLE – animation by Madhouse / distributed by FUNIMATION (the series formerly distributed by PIONEER/GENEON ENTERTAINMENT)
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
All hope is about to be lost. In case you need to recap for a second, The Hybrid Clone kidnapped the remainder of his crew and shot Paradox and is in dire need of immediate medical attention so I quickly took him to the hospital and unfortunately, he was to stay there for over a month and cannot assist me attempting to save the crew from being terminated by the Clone but he has already arrived in London and is storing Neon, Ani, Jumper, Kris, Lucky & GSXR into this warehouse previously ran by the Anime Gods and now managed by the Clone and have them tied and locked up (some in uncompromising positions) really tight and the same thing can be said about their security. It always seems that every time I’m with these guys, we always manage to get kidnapped in every way possible but at least it isn’t a running gag on an anime that I’m now reviewing, which is DAPHNE IN THE BRILLIANT BLUE.
Speaking of the opening theme song sequence, I might as well talk about it right now to get it out of the way. It is a very standard J-Pop song with an aqua-style bubbly underwater tone and it is listenable for a while and I didn’t have the need to skip over the opening song and the ending theme has more of a softer tone that does go along with the show’s more serious episodes but kind of distract it from its’ comedic episodes and the show does often focus on the comedic elements in the first half but delve into the main storyline in the second half.
The plot starts off In the future, water has covered much of the Earth due to the effects of global warming, leaving the human race to live on neighboring floating cities.
The orphaned Maia Mizuki, 15, just graduated from middle school and has already applied for employment in the elite Ocean Agency, part of the futuristic world government. Only the best, most intelligent, and physically fit students are eligible for admission. She was set to become one of the few people but unfortunately it all falls apart as she fails her entrance exams despite her high grades.
Okay, I always wonder why do anime like this got to have the main character failing an entrance exam. I feel like I seen this situation one too many times and that does gets a little old there.
Oh yeah, it gets worse. She also gets evicted from her house, pick-pocketed and taken hostage (which is one of the running gags of the show) and eventually she is saved by an unorthodox help-for-hire organization called Nereids and ended up joining them, taking jobs from capturing wanted criminals to chasing stray cats.
Here’s a little info on the rest of the Nereids crew:
Rena Honjo (the one in Red) is the de facto leader of the Kamchatka branch of Nereids. She is capable and elegant when doing her business and uses her sharp instincts to know the weaknesses of other people and she also seduces others for manipulation, weapon use and sometimes sex. However, she does come off cold at some times and one of the running gags involving her are deducting pay from salaries under the slightest pretext.
Shizuka Hayama (the one with purple hair, glasses & busty physique) is the smart mechanic of the group who has a friendly and casual personality among the crew and is very trusting towards people (albeit on a later episode, she needs to know when not to trust anybody) and she has a very voracious appetite for food, as in the girl can eat and damn, she can eat. The flaw about her is that she can’t aim or shoot worth an s**t.
Gloria (the blonde one) is the loud, spontaneous, tomboyish, and reckless trigger-happy marksman and weapons specialist. She often clashes with Rena all because of deserting her on a past mission and occasionally bothers her about her pay although it has something to do with her being greedy with money, as in, if one coin dropped on the floor, she’ll get to it in a flash.
Yu Park (the blue-haired one) is the silent, brooding, nihlistic, and a loner who specializes in being a strong fighter and hand-to-hand combat specialist, especially since most of the time I don’t feel worried for her since we all know she’s going to kick some ass. The best thing about her and Gloria being paired up on assignments is the fact that their pairing as boke and tsukkomi to each other is actually hilarious in my eyes.
Other side characters include Tsutomu Hanaoka, the branch manager of Nereids but he is more of a pushover to the girls and especially towards his daughter; Tsukasa Takagi, Maia’s best friend who got accepted into the Ocean Agency despite having average grades and promises them both they would work with each other; Millie, Shizuka (and later Maia’s) friend, who’s a skilled race car driver inspired by her great-grandmother Ai Mayuzumi and of course, the Wong-Chang-Lee brothers with their sister May, which they are the only recurring criminals on the show who usually take Maia as hostage and their goal is to find the treasure of Elpida, which is the part of the subplot that happens midway that concerns Maia’s journey to retrieve a time capsule to find about her past.
Now I got two questions about this series and the first one being:
Why this show is called Daphne in the Brilliant Blue?
The word, "Daphne", Greek for "Laurel tree", in the title refers to Maia's grandfather last words. "Brilliant Blue" refers to the fact that this is a world covered by water with almost no land. The world consists of vast oceans, a few islands, and floating cities.
Okay, and also this question:
What the hell is with those outfits they’re wearing?
It looks like they’re nothing at all, especially from Rena & Shizuka and maybe Yu to an extent. Gloria’s choice wardrobe is well, not risqué, but still skimpy and Maia’s outfit……well, what do you say when a 15-year-old dress like this during her mission?
But, seriously, it isn’t much of a problem because the show doesn’t always ogle at them dress like that nor does it get too in-your-face about them being dress like that. Its fan service but its tolerable and sometimes subtle fan service, which is actually sexier than just shoving it front and center and speaking of fan service, guess who did the animation for this series?
Oh, hello, J.C. Staff, I haven’t heard you since a month ago and so far, this animation………is slightly better than their usual shtick of anime. It is very vibrant and bright with some fight scenes looking decently animated even from the opening sequence, although the second ending sequence does better in the animation than the first since it’s mostly a zoom-out picture of what I assume is Maia’s in the ocean floating.
As for the voice acting of the English dub (yes, I watch the dub of this), it is an okay dub by veteran voice actresses Wendee Lee, Michelle Ruff, Megan Hollingshead & Erika Weinstein. Carrie Savage was decent but the whole “cute/shy girl voice” does get a bit irritating and that is mostly Savage’s bread and butter in her earlier gigs. She’s still an okay voice actress but that shtick can wear out. Don’t believe me? Try watching the dub of another show she did by the same exact animation company that was distributed by a former anime distributing company.
Also, there is only 24 episodes in the series and 2 bonus episodes on DVD release, which the episodes is mostly the comedic ones that have nothing to do with the plot.
FINAL VERDICT: At times, this is a fairly good show with some decent comedic moments happening in between them with a subplot that doesn’t go underway until the near end of the series’ run. Characters are fairly decent and likable with some human-like and medium flaws and I did laugh at the funny moments throughout this. The fan service isn’t distracting or irritating but I did notice some and honestly, it didn’t stick out. But would I recommend this to you? Well, for those who want something that isn’t an ecchi-fest but still has a few fan service moments, this is it for you.
I give DAPHNE IN THE BRILLIANT BLUE an
PLANET TYRO RATING: SOLID B.
Now then, the Clone continues to search for the rest of the crew and first he got to Don, who was easily tricked by the façade of the Clone by just acting like the real Hybrid and in 10 minutes flat, Don went for the gun and then the clone did a paralyzer move and then Don got knocked the fuck out and as he’s dragging him to outside, an cat was staring at him with this “I’m watching you” look and then he said, “I could poison your food if you tell somebody about this.” Then the cat up and left.
Then he went to see Nu and unfortunately for him, it took twice as long to get her as she knew that wasn’t Hybrid and she kept punching and kicking and throwing him at the wall and bitch-slap him….and then he injected a drug inside her and easily she was subdued.
Then there’s Jon. He made a fully-cooked steak and left it outside for him to get. Jon tried a piece of steak and notices it was marinated with steak sauce, black pepper, a little bit of seasoning and lots of rum and drugs. He quickly fell asleep and was, too, dragged out of there.
He did the deed and gotten all of the Madhouse survivors, with the exception of Paradox and myself plus a new member who wanted to kill him for stealing her bike, into one building and is about to get the tools to finish them off. He grabbed a machete and uses it on Jumper first and as the blade heads toward him, two gunshots were heard and Jumper quickly ducked the impact and hopped around the area and that’s when Hybrid uses a wire to strangle the Clone and bash his head against the grain.
DAPHNE IN THE BRILLIANT BLUE – animation by JC Staff / distributed by SENTAI FILMWORKS (formerly distributed by GENEON)
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
As the Hybrid kept on throwing the Clone back and forth to the wall and slap him around, eventually the Clone did knew when his ass is getting kicked, he grabbed some sand and threw it on his face, punching and slamming the Hybrid on the floor and kicking him while he’s down. When that happened, the others are planning a way to actually kill the Clone, although they should have planned it before Hybrid was getting a beating for his life. First, Kris grabs a lead pipe and tries to knock out the Clone but he conveniently grabbed the pipe and uses it to beat Kris (Discord) into a coma and also breaking his legs. Then Jon dog piled on the guy to distract him so everyone else would leave but then the Clone got a switchblade and he stabbed Jon over 16 times and while Jon was getting stabbed and managed to not bleed out quickly, the others escaped with Hybrid & Kris (Discord) needing medical assistance but soon the Clone did catch up to everybody, armed with a machine gun and is about to aim and shoot the rest of the others and as that’s about to happen, it’s suddenly interrupted with the review of EDEN OF THE EAST: THE KING OF EDEN & EDEN OF THE EAST: PARADISE LOST.
WARNING: This review may contain spoilers from the TV series ‘EDEN OF THE EAST’ so if you have not watched it yet, I suggest you do then return to read this review but if you prefer to be spoiled, be my guest and learn all.
For me, the Eden of the East TV series has a lot of potential to be a unique and insightful anime to watch and the production staff wasn’t exactly lackluster since Kenji Kamiyama & Production I.G. was involved but I learned since then that just because Production I.G. is involved in something doesn’t mean it’s going to be mind-blowing in many different ways (the same can also be said for Madhouse and Gonzo anime, *coughs*HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD *coughs* ) and as for the two movies following the series, well, the example is clearly shown here.
ON THE KING OF EDEN: The story continues where it left off from the Eden of the East TV series, and brings Morimi Saki back to the USA in order to find Takizawa Akira. The other Selecao however are actively moving to take part in the game, and a few in particular are making dangerous moves in order to eliminate Takizawa or move towards their picture of a better Japan.
You see after Takizawa prevented the missiles from destroying Japan, he vanished for six months and once again, having his memory erased and much like the TV series, Saki tends to be a ditzy moron, which I should’ve noticed from the series and I had to watch in order to understand the movie more and for anyone listening, if you’re in the US, and you find a gun in your hand, don’t wave it around people because they think you’re about to go into a GTA-style rampage.
ON PARADISE LOST: The story of political and subversive intrigue in the series finally reaches endgame. Even as the law enforcement net tightens around Saki and her fellow Eden of the East associates over alleged terrorist activities, the complex web surrounding the mysterious Mr. Outside is finally untangled as the remaining Selecao attempt to outmaneuver one another. Takizawa's memories and identity are also finally revealed including his association with a former Prime Minister and his request to be the King of Eden.
Once again, Takizawa has the need to erase his memory because he doesn’t want to be used as a scapegoat but that’s the only and lame excuse to do that and why did they pull this son of a Prime Minister just right out of their asses? I think that they basically run out of ideas.
But how is the rest of the movie?
It’s just the same thing as any episode but has a longer runtime and the plot is solely stretched to add in more unnecessary plot lines and points so the movie would exist.
I also wish they would have started it out where they left off instead of recapping in during the opening credits considering they might sound more intriguing and capable rather than fast-forwarding six months later and it all just passes you by.
Also both the movies are only focused on main characters Saki & Takizawa most of the time. The other characters, such as the runners of the Eden of the East are merely more than just Mission: Impossible-like (The earlier Mission: Impossible movies) side characters. They are just there and that’s it and most of the characters in the story aren’t even that memorable even from the series (Example: The character called Sis. That’s it.) Also the second movie where Saki has less on-screen time with Takizawa, most of the time the movie play them off as this couple was meant to be together and it looks completely contrived in some scenes between them.
As for the animation, it is some highly excellent work done by Production I.G. and it also looks fantastic in HD, which I suggest you watch it in that format because anything else, you’ll just be robbing it of how gorgeous the appearance of the characters and background designs.
But for the music, it is also very lackluster in that department. Both opening and ending songs for both movies are nothing to get excited or get immersed into. It’s nothing like the OASIS song in the series. It just leaves you at a “meh” or “just didn’t give a damn at all”.
FINAL VERDICT: Both the movies are a disappointment and very underwhelming at some parts and leave little to impress. It’s sad because I actually thought the series was an okay show but not a great one but I can why not that many people are impressed with the movies. The plot is a befuddled mess and the way it ends leaves it like another one is coming out when we all know it isn’t. I would say to only watch the series and that’s it.
Therefore, THE KING OF EDEN gets the rating of
PLANET TYRO RATING: LOW VANILLA
& PARADISE LOST gets
PLANET TYRO RATING: HIGH AN ACQUIRED TASTE
So the Clone begins to shoot the rest of the crew, trying to make Swiss cheese out of them and barely getting a mark, The Clone noticed Neon escaping and easily grazed him in his legs and as the Clone was about to end him, The GSXR & Lucky was distracting him by throwing rocks at him, continuing to berate and harass him and Ani & Nu was helping Neon to escape out of there. Soon, Don grabbed a chair out of nowhere and he thrashed it roughly at the Clone; Jumper snatches the machine gun from him and aims it at his head to end once and for all but there were no bullets. Then that’s when the shit hits the fan. The Clone grabs Jumper by the neck again and slammed him against the ground, then got the switchblade and cuts Don’s Achilles’ tendon, rendering him unable to walk and then Clone grab a pistol and shot him in the stomach. As for the GSXR, the clone subdued her by snatch and grab and beat down. The same was also applied by Lucky and soon, Neon, Ani & Nu was the only ones left that were to survive and then the Clone spotted them and as he did, he first began to torture Neon by putting the gun into his wounds and then as Nu and Ani was at gunpoint and if they were move, he would shoot Neon and then shoot them….or worse, he even thought about having his way with them (i.e., torture of the other kind). Then, as it looks like things are coming to an end, Neon notices a wounded but willing Hybrid coming with a sword and then he STABBED the Clone through his torso but what Hybrid didn’t know the Clone stabbed him in the exact same spot, too. Both men fall down to their knees and they each tried to twist the sword in each of their stomachs to make the pain worse but soon, Kris shot the Clone in his head, thus ending this clone’s life.
The war between the Hybrid and the Anime Gods may have ended but at what costs? Paradox’s in the hospital, Jon & Jumper are knocked out unconscious, Don is severely wounded and is losing blood, Neon’s legs are shot to shit, Kris (Discord) might have brain damage & The Hybrid suffered from deep (and I mean deep) wounds. The GSXR & Lucky are doing fine but suffered from bruises but they’ll live. With his last words (for now), Hybrid told Ani & Nu to escape with their lives and if Paradox is alive, find him and give him a card which says, “ALPHABET 4 INITIATIVE” and wants him to activate it.
But could that card lead to something more?
What did Hybrid wanted to give to Paradox, even though I should mentioned this earlier during my reviews in part of the storyline arc?
Will this storyline fast-forward into six months later and with another different storyline that will stray away from the Anime Gods plot that I established over 4 months ago?
EDEN OF THE EAST: THE KING OF EDEN & PARADISE LOST – animation by Production I.G. / distributed by FUNimation
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
It was about three months later after the Clone incident, as we know of the Hybrid that he was severely wounded after defeating his clone and finally putting an end of the blood feud between him and the Anime Gods, despite him thinking he actually killed them but none of the bodies are recovered and anybody hasn’t pronounced them deceased. Now, inside an unnamed underground fortress where only few anime fans knows of its existence, he is in a comatose state and is being kept in for major medical need, possibly rebuilding him and studying him to see how he can survive the ordeals he went through and what of the anime world that no one knows about. Luckily, someone that Hybrid know has someone they know working on him and trying to prevent them from knowing about the rest of the group. The insider calls himself “Tron” (apparently at first, I thought he was named after the movie but I was wrong) and his job is to blend among the scientists, grab whatever data they got on me and burn it and to have the Hybrid escape safely. In other words, that card that Paradox had……that was the code for his plan and it was called INITIAL D (Don’t ask why?).
This review both covers First Stage & Second Stage. I’ll try not to spoil as much as possible.
Well, for me, this is a rarity for an anime series where the subject involves street racing although it is not strange in Japan since the concept of that is known in 8 countries and the fact that street racing has been involved in other parts of media including videogames like Midnight Club, some elements of street racing have been shoved in Grand Theft Auto & later iterations of Need For Speed franchise and also in the cinema, which I will bring up later in the review.
Anyway, it is based off the manga series created by Shuichi Shigeno and it’s been serialized in Kodanasha’s Young Magazine. The story focuses on the world of illegal Japanese street racing, where all the action is concentrated in the mountain passes and rarely in cities nor urban areas, and the drift racing style (a driving technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, causing loss of traction in the rear wheels, while maintaining control from entry to exit of a corner is emphasized in particular.
In the first stage of the series, it focuses on high school student Takumi Fujiwara, who works at a gas station attendant by day but at night he’s a delivery boy (since 7th grade) for his father’s tofu shop. His father is Bunta Fujiwara, a street racer with a great reputation in his younger days and was known as “The Ghost of Akina”. What little did Takumi knew, he does have an inherent sense for drifting on local mountain roads and is a natural expert yet he never seem interested doing that until a local race team called the Akina Speed Stars, who is in need of a replacement driver after the last one had an accident, is going up against reigning skilled street racers the RedSuns.
In the second stage of the series, a team from the Tochigi Prefecture called Team Emperor and their leader Kyoichi Sudo challenges every racing team in the Gunma area and does come out victorious and once they heard of The Akina Eight-Six and they see what it can do, the tension around there raises not only for the Akina SpeedStars but for all of the racers in the Gunma area.
As for characters, while Takumi seems like it doesn’t give a damn about street racing, later in the series, he starts to understand the pride of a street racer and does begins accepting challenges, despite the car he was being a Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86, which is considered inferior towards the other racer’s cars and when Takumi outshines them in the races, even though, what he’s got wasn’t up to current standards, it makes me ask this question………does he have the touch?
Okay, that was a bit stupid.
As for the his team, his friend Itsuki is the comic relief of the show and yes, he is loud and obnoxious and won’t staple his mouth shut for a while but he does play the role of being confident in Takumi and his racing skills. Iketani is the leader of the Akina SpeedStars and while he is an average driver, he fits the leadership at a few times and Kenji, best friend of Iketani and possibly one of the level-headed members of the group (Iketani is a close second).
I would mention Natsuki Mogi, the love interest of Takumi, and they do have this subplot of him and her hanging out and eventually ending up together but her part doesn’t get bigger until the 2nd stage, where we (but mostly Takumi) also learned that she’s engaged in enjo kosai to make some extra cash on the side but Takumi isn’t the only one with love in the brain. Iketani does have a crush on this girl named Mako Sato, who is part of the racing duo Impact Blue with her as the driver and her partner Sayuki as the navigator, but that relationship also have dire consequences during that course and Itsuki did have…….or had a relationship with this girl but that part is very unimportant to the plot of the series.
Now, originally I thought this series was going to be a rip-off of The Fast and The Furious movies but that’s due to the fact that when TokyoPop originally got the license of the anime and the manga, they would Americanize the characters’ names and some did reflect the changes Sega pushed when they implanted into the Western releases of the video games following (Iggy, Tak, Natalie, Maya, Simone, Cole), throw in some street slang which to attract the younger audiences and where the original had some Eurobeat music mixed in, they replaced with some (IMO) very generic rock and hip hop music done by the CEO of TokyoPop, Stu Levy or better yet, his stage name DJ Milky (Really? DJ Milky? I thought Plies was a worst name for a rapper and/or producer). That result just seem like they want this to be like The Fast and The Furious when it’s not. Unlike those movies, the plot of the series actually involves racing and so far it sticks to it and I’m a guy that actually likes Fast Five……and possibly a bit of Tokyo Drift but I see why want to cash in with those movies and it’s a horrible reason nevertheless a reason.
Also, the music in the original Japanese and Funimation dub was alright but it never drawn that much attention from me, although the first opening and ending songs was good, the later ones I could care less about. The music just seem like videogame music for Dance Dance Revolution rather than anything to do with racing but hey, I think it fits more into the series than the other music. The TokyoPop songs were honestly too corny and too self-reliant on grunge rock and hip hop to sell to Western audiences and possibly that and the awful excuse of a rap song from the 4Kids dub of One Piece are mostly the reason why sometimes anime and hip hop don’t mix that well together (except for Samurai Champloo and Afro Samurai, those actually go well together).
The animation for both series is proved to be dated, considering the anime was made in the late 90s, some character designs were a bit crude but it is realistic and differs from the traditional anime look. The CG racing cars does clash with the 2D animation and it is not a good sight but the animation does improve during the second stage with the character designs being less crude-looking but still retains its realistic look.
FINAL VERDICT: The anime is actually good and I didn’t have any high or great expectations of this but this one actually surprised me. It actually focuses on its prime objective and doesn’t glamourize the life of being a street racer (i.e. drugs, parties, women at the palm of your hands) and while it does show illegal street racing (albeit only on mountain passes), the show does advise you to only do this at safe locations like a track where you won’t run over somebody and takes what lessons about drifting seriously, as in, this is nothing to joke about. I would recommend if you are somebody that expected more from the you-know-what movies, this is your treat. The 2nd stage of the series actually covers more of the plot without putting much filler episodes like in the previous one.
Also, for the ones who are prefer dubs like me, stick to the FUNimation dub. The TokyoPop dub may have voice actors you like but honestly, this dub does no justice to them.
Therefore, the scores of both series:
INITIAL D: FIRST STAGE – 8/10
Planet Tyro Rating: Solid B.
INITIAL D: SECOND STAGE – 9/10
Planet Tyro Rating: First Class
So, Tron heard about the plans of what they’ll do to me. He received Intel that they are planning to study my brain for any secrets from the anime world that no one dares to know or find out, then extract the info from my brain and then deactivate me and toss me aside like yesterday’s trash and dump the body so no one will search for him. As soon as Paradox received the information from Tron, he needed to act fast on how to break Hybrid out of the underground.
Three hours later…..
Tron snuck into the lab while a disguised Paradox is monitoring the outside office in case someone checks in there. While there’s no one around, Tron indiscreetly switch charts with some other unlucky idiot who’s also in a coma and Tron went into the room to quickly roll the Hybrid out of there, disguising him as a cadaver and went out the back door and escape without any detection from the security staff and alarmed Paradox to get out of dodge quick.
Then, when they went into the road to take Hybrid into a hideaway, both Paradox and Tron try to revive him from the coma without giving him an anxiety or heart attack. After attempting that 4-5 times, they noticed a finger movement and soon, The Hybrid started to wake up, looking around his surroundings, and wonder where he is and how did he get here. Both guys tried to calm him down and say everything is alright but then the Hybrid asked this very shocking question, “Who Am I?”
INITIAL D: FIRST STAGE & SECOND STAGE – animation by STUDIO COMET / STUDIO GALLOP / PASTEL, distributed by FUNIMATION Entertainment (formerly TOKYOPOP)
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
It has been confirmed that The Hybrid lost his memories that channeled over the last few months. It turns out the memories of his past encounters are contained and encase in this vial and as it turns out, Tron was eventually about the receive it but didn’t have enough time. As Paradox and Tron try to retrigger the Hybrid’s memories, they used many practices to bring it back. First, they tried to recreate one of the fights with the Clone but ends up sounding like Jar Jar Binks and eventually, both guys had to knock him out. Second try: they use a flashbulb memory technique by having he read a fake newspaper they printed out and yet one of the pages had an ad for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with the Twins and guess what happens next? He acts and sounds like him and eventually both of them had enough and decided to……well, what would you do if you encounter them? So knocked out again, Paradox tries to figure a way to once again retrieve the vial and administered it to him and after initializing the first and second stage, we are about to enter the next phase of INITIAL D…….THIRD STAGE. But before that, I’m going to give a short but sweet look into the Extra Stage OVA.
It’s basically a spin-off that features Impact Blue, the female racers that Takumi encountered before in the 1st stage. The story deals with the dynamic of Mako & Sayuki, rather than the usual main cast (although they do appear in the OVA sans Takumi) facing a challenge with one of the racers of Team Emperor, who were the challengers from 2nd Stage and at the time was reigning over the Myogi Night Kids, while Mako is dealing with the breakup between her and Iketani.
This is a…….alright edition to the story. I don’t know how it will affect the later editions but it is good to focus the series on another main character with their backstory and the Impact Blue girls does seem interesting to focus on to, although some problems I have with the OVA is the challenger (or antagonist of the first half) they faced with. I’m not sure of his name but he is mostly a generic, sexist with the “girls can’t do what we do” attitude and the arrogance of him just reeks of annoyance and blandness. WE GET IT!!! It’s just so f***ing annoying. The second half deals with the relationship and while it is emotional and shows how Mako will eventually have to settle this soon, I just lost interest half-way through the OVA.
Now onto to the Third Stage……
Ryosuke has been putting together a racing team featuring the best racers of the Gunma prefecture, and would like Takumi to join. Takumi doesn't want to decide whether or not to accept the proposal until he settles his score with Team Emperor Leader Sudou Kyouichi, who had looked down on the AE86 because of the car's age and had seriously damaged Takumi's confidence in the AE86 after being defeated by him. Meanwhile, the drama between Natsuki and Takumi is at highs since he found out she was doing enjo kosai in order to make some extra money.
Now, on that latter subject, she did quit the business and got herself a fast-food job in order to move away from her past and at some times, Takumi can be kind of a dick. Yes, she never told him about what she did then but she did gave it up to pursue a relationship with him and yet, he keeps on phasing her out and not bother to listen to her.
As for the main story, well, it’s the usual story as like the past entries. Somebody challenges Takumi to a race, thinks his car can’t handle their car, they race and eventually he will either win by doing what others thought he couldn’t do.
Also, it really felt like 4 ½ episodes condensed into one movie with their usual basics of the series.
The animation studios switched from Pastel, who did the work on Extra Stage and the past stages to Studio Deen, who contributed to the 3rd Stage and the animation is superior to its successors, which I said before, will happen every time and everything from the movement of the characters and the racing scenes are gradually more enhanced and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. The music…….well, it’s there and that’s it. It’s okay but I really don’t have anything interesting to say about it because it isn’t interesting. Some people will like this and most of it is just not my taste but it’s there.
FINAL VERDICT: Both entries are passable at the least but I really don’t consider them as being entirely different than each other. They are more of a rental than actually owning them.
Therefore, the final scores:
EXTRA STAGE – 6/10 – Vanilla
THIRD STAGE – 7/10 – Watchable
Later into the night, Tron decides to break in again just to steal the vial from the offices. Breaking in didn’t seem like an easy feat to him but this time, it really seemed easy…..almost too easy. So either way, he grabbed the vial from the room and as just as he was going to leave out of there scot-free, a silent alarm triggered and that was when 12 armed guards showed up with very itchy trigger fingers and they started shooting. But then, Tron got a pistol from one of the lockers and easily shot the shoulder in one of them and one in the legs, arms and feet. The mission was to get the vial only. Why should cops doing their job get killed for? It seems that he was headed for freedom but then came somebody in the shadows who shot Tron and receive the vial from him. One of the guards took him away and puts him in their prison facility and as that happens, the shadowy figure thought to him that he knew someone would send somebody to get the Hybrid’s memories back and it seems not too soon that will happen.
Meanwhile with Paradox and a somewhat-laxed Hybrid, he kept trying practices on how to regain his memories but everytime, Hybrid ends up imitating as a child-like figure or an annoying stereotype from any movie that must’ve come to his self-conscious. Paradox is beginning to feel worried about Tron and call him to check up on him but when it rings, the person on the phone warned Paradox that Tron is being kept in prison and they know all about the memories of the Hybrid one and they stated that if you don’t give the Hybrid to him within 24 hours, he will kill Tron in cold blood.
INITIAL D: EXTRA STAGE / INITIAL D: 3rd STAGE – animation by PASTEL / STUDIO DEEN & distributed by FUNimation Entertainment
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
Now, with Tron captured and a 24-hour deadline to either give up the Hybrid or have Tron tasting his own blood. Paradox has to make this difficult choice that could cost him to lose either one of his partners but as of recent, Hybrid has been acting like a spaced-out kid with ADHD and it’s been getting on his nerves so much, he’s actually thinking of just giving him to the unknown bosses within the trade of Tron and move on with his life, but considering that they might tried to screw him over and kill both of them and he’s being the next target, he’s not taking any chances.
So, 8 hours later, they met at this bridge of the facility where they are holding Tron in chains (yes, in chains for some reason) and Paradox announced to them that he agreed on their terms and will trade in the Hybrid for the safety of Tron, just as long as nobody does anything that’ll regret. The switch begins as Tron and Hybrid walk towards each other and when they pass each other, Tron gave a strange look to Hybrid and nodded his head as they are about to enter the other part of the Initial D stage – FOURTH STAGE or PROJECT D.
I’m starting to get why I don’t review series that last beyond 26 episodes (I watched them, mind you, but takes a lot of time to review) and as much as the first 2 editions of Initial D were pretty good and the third stage movie was…..okay to say the least but I starting to think like in any of the Dragon Ball series, the story and the races do tend to drag (no pun intended) as they go along.
This series focuses on the exploits of the new team founded by Ryosuke, Project.D, which is composed of Ryosuke (leader and strategist), downhill specialist Takumi, uphill specialist Keisuke, and a staff consisting primarily of members of the Akagi Red Suns. The team travels the region, challenging other teams and posting the results of the battles on their website. Each race is intended by Ryosuke to develop a specific area of his drivers' skills. By this time, Takumi matures slowly into a more confident and knowledgeable street racer, while Keisuke improves on his technical driving skills.
In the series, the main drivers and their racing skills do develop as they race against the opponents they’re matched with and could make their better drivers, but as normal people and in my opinion, they are flawed (which is a good thing) but they are crazy to think that racing is the only thing that fulfill their lives. For example, Keisuke has this girl named Kyoko Iwase, who is a fellow Mazda RX-7 FD driver and uphill ace racing for the Northern Saitama Alliance, has a crush on him as she admires his racing techniques and he does like her but he doesn’t want her to interfere with his racing, even though she said she wasn’t going to. Look, I get not being distracted during your time of racing but are you seriously going to say that it’s more important than a girl who has some interest in you because of your talent? Okay, maybe it could be distracting but still after hearing enough crap about that “lonely driver” thing from Takumi’s crew (friends who we never see race anyone BTW) during the first three stages and soon they realize what they been saying is a bunch of bulls**t.
As for the main story, it’s the same as always. People think the Eight-Six can’t race worth jack squat, they challenge him, they race which lasts about 2-3 episodes, they think they are about to win until Takumi tries this stunt that makes it impossible for the opponents to believe, they do the same thing and mess up and Takumi wins……only this time, it also happens to the other racers on Project D. It’s basically the same story with a few different story elements thrown in and some of the other drivers in Project D doing the same thing.
As for the animation, it’s done by another anime studio. Remember Studio ACGT (or Adenine Cytosine Guanine Thymine), the same studio that did the formerly reviewed Koi Kaze? Well, of course in this series, the animation is still better than what it used to be and ACGT definitely animated this better than the other aforementioned anime. The music is slightly better with the first opening theme, “Dogfight” by move, which is the better opening theme in either one of the Initial D series but, however, that theme only lasts for 10 episodes and the other one, “Noizy Tribe” also by move, is very lackluster at best. The ending theme songs you can just skip to the next episode since there is no next episode clip as they do in most anime.
But before I get to the final verdict on this one, EXTRA STAGE 2 gets a brief check-out:
It’s just like the first Extra Stage with the same elements that I mentioned in the first review of this only added-in more stupidity from the Akina Crew, especially in the end of it. Nothing new is added into this and maybe they should’ve added this into the 4th stage series because it would have edged up the racing monotony that it’s been suffering from.
FINAL VERDICT: 4th stage is the weakest of the series and it shows with shifting pace on storyline from turtle-like slow to roadrunner fast. At some parts, you will know what’s going to happen during the show. It’s becoming too predictable for its own good and doesn’t care about the other situations going on at the same time. The characters are merely just there and only motivate on one thing and make themselves look like robotic and stiff. I would say to watch it only to continue the saga but frankly, while doing that, just skip over the parts that you can guess already.
Judgment of both series:
FOURTH STAGE – 6/10
EXTRA STAGE 2 – 5/10
Both are very……VANILLA.
Oh, and as for the Battle Stage 1 & 2 and their rating…….An Acquired Taste – both 4.5/10
The Hybrid just reached the other side and as just as he was about to be taken prisoner, they had him in chains but he grabbed the chains and then whips the guards with them and it seems like the Hybrid has gotten his memory back but how did he gain it back?
When the exchange happened, Tron discreetly injected the vial inside him, which he stole behind the guards’ back while he wasn’t looking, and if you’re wondering how no one noticed that from the trade with guards watching by. Tron is a bit slick like that and now, Hybrid is busy beating down everyone with his 2 Chains and then he escaped out of there quick and jump into Paradox’s ride and speeded out of there.
However, this is only the beginning of what to be their impending doom as if you can guess that, it was one of the Anime Gods. As it turns out, he was only one to survive the Madhouse massacre and despite that no one knew his name and the other whereabouts of his others, he might become a dangerous force to be reckoned with and how will it affect the Hybrid and the others?
INITIAL D: FOURTH STAGE & EXTRA STAGE 2 – animation by STUDIO A.C.T.G. / PASTEL & distributed by FUNimation Entertainment
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
Did the water plan helped them escape from the crashing waters or is it the end of our fallen protagonists? Well, if it helps, they’re not dead but they are unconscious and are drifting from the ocean, soaking wet and tired. Paradox and Tron first awaken from the accident and aside from a few bruises, some little internal bleeding and being sore……they are still hurting from the inside (literally) and Hybrid, for once, is not still asleep and as he woke up, he gets a shock from malfunctioning Blue Leaf powers and gets so dizzy from it, he imagined that he saw a wolf walking past here and not only that it’s standing on two feet and almost walks like a human. As I spotted the wolf, it began to run away from him and it left behind a jacket and I look at it to see who is belongs to and one of the label reads out……….PARADISE KISS.
I think at the point of our lives when after high school ends, you’re going to ask yourselves, “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”, that is if you always think of that a numerous amount of times and you become less of the person you wanted to be and you start to question your way of life.
That’s what Yukari Hayasaki (later being nicknamed “Caroline”) is being described as and it’s no contest about that, especially since it’s beginning to become repetitive and she needed to experience something new and that is when she is encountered with these eccentric fashion design students and they wanted to scout her to become a model for their clothing line Paradise Kiss.
The group consists of Jōji "George" Koizumi, the charismatic student who has a talented gift for fashion design with his extravagant ideas, even if he’s cold at some times, since some of his ideas may not be accepted by the public. Miwako Sakurada is the pink-haired student who works with George and is exceptionally cute and sweet and tends to act child-like manner, either by the dress of the Lolita style and engaging personality. Arashi Nagase is the student with a taste for punk style, piercings (especially around the oral area) and alternative music. He is Miwako’s boyfriend and despite that they seem really unmatched for each other, they have known each other since childhood. Although one of the subplot in the series is that Miwako had feelings for Hiroyuki Tokumori, an prodigy who goes to Yukari’s school and was the object of her affections, and Arashi is known of that, which is why he’s insecure of that. Isabelle Yamamoto is the mother figure of Paradise Kiss and is the epitome of high class and femininity and also inspired George’s first dress during their childhood and often encourages Yukari when she needs it the most, whether it’s George or her studies. I don’t know if this is spoiler territory or not, but she happens to be a transgender woman.
If you already know, this is based off the manga series by AI Yazawa and it’s a stand-alone sequel to her previous work, Gokinjo Monogatari, although that manga or the anime isn’t in English. There is also the point that a 5-volume manga is only squashed into 12 episodes. I’m not complaining about that but it seemed like some parts of the anime may have either been rushed or forgotten.
The plot of the show isn’t what most people call ‘original’ but it’s not the same rehash of any other story you ever heard. The themes of the story are very realistic, along with the characters, and you feel like you actually know some characteristics of people in real life pursuing their dreams of doing (insert whatever you can think of, I wasn’t really interested in just the fashion part of the series).
The animation of the show is done by Madhouse (9th times the charm, isn’t it?) and it does show a lot of quality brand of animation around the time of 2005 and even if it’s been over 7 years since the release, the animation still holds up today and the one thing that does weird me out is the deformed looks of the characters once it’s shown and it is me, or does Yukari in her deformed mode looks like if Olive Oyl was an anime character? I’m serious about that.
The music really holds up well during the show, especially the opening and ending music. The opening theme, “Lonely in Gorgeous” by Tommy february6 has this funky vibe of J-Pop mixed in with ‘80s Madonna vogue music. “Do You Want to” by well-known British pop-band Franz Ferdinand, originally from their album You Could Have It So Much Better, and I like it how it always played off during the end of an episode that isn’t a clean cut to the end credits, plus, it’s an fairly awesome song to listen to. The background music is not really that noticeable throughout the show but it doesn’t stick out awkwardly.
FINAL VERDICT: Despite that I really don’t know much in the fashion world, I did enjoy this series in it’s entirely. The story is very compelling and doesn’t stray away for only one character as it covers basically all of them. This is the type of anime that focuses on realistic characters in realistic situations and do you know how people always say ‘we need a break of the norm’? Well, Paradise Kiss is the break of the anime norm.
So, Paradise Kiss, you definitely get the score of:
Planet Tyro Rating: HIGH FIRST CLASS
So, I was thinking if I should track down the wolf or I should just try to find a way to get back to civilization and since tracking down a wolf means they won’t be friendly if you try to follow them but Tron and Paradox saw something climbing the trees and it vaguely looked like the same wolf the Hybrid saw before but that creature was about to….sprout wings. Angel wings to be exact and as it flew away, the mystery around the flying wolf has surrounded the fascination of the three wanderers and their choices are either find the way home or blindly follow the wolf for some reason………and you know what? They’re going with the former choice mainly due to the fact that eventually they’re going to find the flying wolf coincidently or basically a case of writer’s block.
So the remaining questions are:
Will the three travelers find their way home?
Who is that flying wolf with wings?
Will the writer of this storyline conquered his writer’s block that is if people actually remember the storyline?
PARADISE KISS – animation by MADHOUSE / currently unlicensed (GENEON had it first but yeah, we already knew about those guys.)
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
Our three protagonists have begun to travel their way back into civilization after their (sort of) encounter with the wolf angel and basically nothing else. But during their travels, Hybrid is starting to feel more disoriented and jaded for various reasons, such as the fact that ever since he escaped the Anime Gods and his killer clone, he’s beginning to feel more disoriented, vulnerable and liable to not keep going on these strange journeys because the trauma could endanger his life. Paradox and Tron were not sure of his condition but to them, he looks even more depressed than he was at………well, ever since the Madhouse saga aftermath. He’s lost focus of his future endeavors and he doesn’t even care anymore about his life but he really doesn’t want anybody else to be in the crossfire because of him. Then, they arrived at a local youth hostel and just in time as the Hybrid enter into a deep sleep and were out like a light. They also check into a room…....G-9 in the district of Neo Tokyo.
Once again, I challenge myself go into the world of anime that is seen by only few eyes and little-known existence (well, at least to me knowing that it exists). It is another look at obscure anime, which I think I haven’t done in a while but still, going through stuff I’m sure not everyone has in the stores and only available in the slums of the internet or old VHS tapes that are obsolete.
But enough of the introduction, the first look is the 17-minute short G-9.
The plot follows a woman who awakes in a deserted town with no memories and no clothing. The story continues to show how she regains these memories of which she was and her mission in the town with the help of a voice that speaks directly to her thoughts via her earring. Her name is Agarta, the Devourer of Dragons, and her mission is to destroy the dragons that plague the consciousness of humans in return for her own long past memories.
Now, the animation is done by Toei Animation, who is most known for making anime such as Dragonball & One Piece, two series that one of them, being the former I only watched and the animation is a bit lackluster and it’s not because of the black and white only color scheme. There wasn’t any animation at all and it just feels like they should’ve made this into a manga (either printed or digital) because the production just feels cheap, even for a short. But the art does compliment the dark and eerie surroundings of the environment in the anime. I get that it feels like a painting in motion or like motion webcomics in a way but it’s nothing to be at awe about.
The story of it is average at best but still passable to an extent. I could blab on about the minimal character development of Agarta and the dragons but they only have 17 minutes to cover it and for what it’s worth, it’s actually decent.
FINAL VERDICT: It’s very stiff and flat but it may appeal to other watchers but it’s just not worth watching over and over. It is mostly an artsy fare and I can appreciate that kind of anime but most of the time, it’s a complete bore.
This particular anime is divided into three separate segments, each under a different screenwriter and film director. The following of those screenwriters/directors being Rintarō, who worked on anime films like Metropolis, X & Captain Harlock; Yoshiaki Kawajiri, known for creating titles such as Wicked City, Ninja Scroll (the movie, not the f***ing TV series) & Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust; and last but not least, Katsuhiro Ōtomo, who we all know for Akira, which is not only one of my favorite anime, but one of my favorite movies.
The first segment is “Labyrinth labyrinthos” by Rintarō about a young girl named Sachi trapped in a game of hide-and-seek with her cat Cicerone and her search leads her to a longcase clock that doubles as an entry to the labyrinth world. It also serves as the ‘top-level’ story or a framing device that leading to the following segments.
The second segment shown is “The Running Man” by Yoshiaki Kawajiri that takes place in a futuristic world where people race to the death (although this have appeared in movies in numerous times) and one of the best is Zack “Grim Reaper” Hughes, remaining undefeated for 10 years but how does he keep winning for so long? He was telekinetic powers to vanquish his competition.
The final segment is “The Order to Stop Construction” or “Construction Suspension Order” by Katsuhiro Ōtomo where a revolution in the fictional country of the Aloana Republic has resulted into having newer government installed but refuses to accept a contract and the company sent down salaryman Tsutomu Sugioka to stop production but as it turns out the work is fully automated and won’t stop to any cause.
If I have to pick one of these shorts to be a favorite of mine, it would have to be “The Running Man”, mainly because I can notice some of Kawajiri’s traits of realistic designs of the characters, the deaths among with the element of agonizing pain and misery. While having the power to stop your opponent can make you one of the most notorious racers ever known, having that isn’t going to last forever. “The Order to Stop Construction” while having an excellent detail of the combination of nature & tech, which all the praise goes to Ōtomo but it’s not what I call the best. The only human character in here just seems like the pushover dork that should’ve known better than to accept something that could get him killed. “Labyrinth labyrinthos” is a very simple story of entering another world as a child and it is a visual marvel but it’s nothing glorious about it.
The animation here is done by……well, damn, MADHOUSE and this is a title made in 1987 and it does retain its vintage looks much like any anime made in the 1980s. It has aged very well throughout the years ahead of its existence. However, on the voices and I rarely go on about voice acting but the Streamline Pictures dub is really lackluster, but consider back then, awful English dubs did exist back then and it really shows how awful it is, it’s not 4Kids awful but Streamline Pictures don’t even try to make it sound good, especially on the dub of Akira (for future references, Yes, I rather prefer the Pioneer/Geneon dub to Akira rather than the Streamline dub. Excuse me while I get my shields and beating stick.) The music is composed of Western classical music: the first of Erik Satie's Gymnopédies and the "Toreador Song" of Georges Bizet's Carmen in "Labyrinth" and "Morning Mood" from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt score, in an ironic manner, in "The Order" in addition to original music by Mickie Yoshino.
FINAL VERDICT: It’s a fairly well-done anime that has many visual and storytelling contributions from three different directors/screenwriters. Aside from the bad dub, it’s something I would recommend if you want to explore something different than the usual.
So, the final scores are this:
G-9 – 5/10 – An Acquired Taste
Neo Tokyo – 8/10 – Solid B.
Later on, Hybrid is starting to have these strange dreams of him following a road that leads into a path of many disturbing images and hidden messages. He is warped out of his mind that he is seeing Neon trying to karate chop some wood and keeps doing the breathing in, breathing out thing like that one guy who did it. Then he sees Lucky beating up an overgrown lizard that vaguely looks like the Lizard off of The Amazing Spider-Man (which I haven’t seen yet) and then slitting his throat and waves back at me for some reason. I’m surprised Lucky didn’t notice I saw a murder happened or threaten to kill me. Then out of the blue, I saw large angel wings in the sky and wonder who that was in the sky. Was it the wolf angel? Alas, it was not, it was an actual angel that has the image of Ani flying around and then she asked me if I was okay or do I need to relax. I told her I was fine and then she give me something and said this could lead me back to do was I was originally doing but without any interference from you-know-who.
Suddenly, I woke up and discover a box lying next to me and it reads:
Hybrid, you need to get your head back into the game. There are many people counting on you to review what comes to your way but we are doing this out of love and admiration and not of demand. I may warn you; this next title is not for the ones who like this kind of anime.
G-9 – courtesy of TOEI ANIMATION / GENTOSHA COMICS
NEO TOKYO – animation by MADHOUSE & PROJECT TEAM ARGOS, distributed by ADV FILMS / STREAMLINE PICTURES (both out of print)
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
The Hybrid has been in a strange drug trip and was awaken by an encouraging and weed-inducing vision and was handed a DVD box set of an anime that he was heard of but never was man enough to face it…..
“Oh no, no way I’m watching this.” The Hybrid complained and complained about his next poison to review and was proceeding to throw the thing out and he did. Then he heard the door knock and he’d open it and the DVD was thrown back at him and it was Ani who did it and she said to me that I have been slacking ever since and I need to get back into the reviewing biz…….if not, she was going to force me to review K-On!.....both seasons of it (40 episodes = 14 episodes/season 1 + 26 episodes/season 2) and immediately I switched back to my original selection and like K-On!, this show is involved around the subject of moe and it was made by Kyoto Animation…….it was Lucky Star.
Well, the anime doesn’t have much of a plot since this is a slice-of-life anime but that doesn’t make it less exciting. It’s basically portrays the lives of four (and more coming up during the run) Japanese girls attending high school. Yeah, that’s all you’ll get from here and here’s what to know about the characters:
Konata Izumi (the short blue haired girl) is the eccentric, outgoing girl with a cheerful but mischievous sense of humor with a habit of doing all-nighters of playing games and watching anime, which does mess up her studying habits despite her being smart a bit of times. Most of her traits around videogames do come from her father, who is a bit creepy at a few times whenever dating sim games, most of the manga he reads & having a lolicon fetish since his late wife Kanata has a resemblance of Konata herself (which is disturbing at first) but he isn’t a pedophile (good thing, too.) Konata is that character that many otaku would consider their dream girl but still seems very lazy and inept at her other part of social life.
Kagami & Tsukasa Hiiragi (the two purple-haired girls) is fraternal twin sisters. Kagami being the older sister who has good grades, concerned about her weight most of the time but loves to eat sweet food and is the archetype of being the tsundere in the show and the fact that Konata loves to irritate her and seems to be more of the level-headed one is proof in the dust. Tsukasa is the younger sister who isn’t good at studying or sports but she can cook and is portrayed as the klutz and is easily forgetful about her work, which is different than Konata being lazy or busy with her hobbies.
Miyuki Takara (the pink-haired one with glasses) is practically the show is known as “the moe factor” of the main 4. She’s smart, well-mannered, extremely polite, and comes from a very wealthy family. She is best described as a meganekko, or glasses-wearing girl and is the tallest of the girls. She is the one often relied for her help with their studies and maybe even better-rounded than Kagami. Although like Mikuru in Haruhi Suzumiya, Miyuki has fallen victim of Konata’s bouts of verbal sexual harassment and believe me, there is more references of that show and other anime but that can wait.
Other characters include Yutaka Kobayakawa, Konata’s cousin who first appeared in episode 14; Minami Iwasaki, who is the show’s ‘mysterious’ and ‘emotionless’ character of the show and very good friends with Yutaka; Patricia Martin, the 1st-year American transfer student who is a big fan of anime and manga and everything Japanese; Hiyori Tamura, an amateur dōjin artist who likes to draw mostly yaoi to yuri anime, especially when it involves her friends (specifically, Yutaka and Minami); Izumi Wakase & Ayano Minegishi are Kagami’s classmates who doesn’t really contribute much and mostly background characters most of the time. Nanako Kuroi is the homeroom teacher for Konata and is more of a friend due to her relaxed personality and she, like Konata, plays online RPGs at her spare time but she does remind Konata when to study on her work. Yui Narumi is Konata’s cousin and a police officer for the Saitama Prefectural P.D. who acts before thinking, a klutz (again?) & a meganekko.
Also on every end of each episode, there is a short segment called “Lucky Channel”, which in the segment where host Akira Kogami and assistant Minoru Shiraishi mostly discusses certain characters in the show and the events happening around the anime. But one of the most recurring and (IMO funniest) jokes in the show is the relationship between the two partners with Akira masquerades herself as the typical moe girl but in reality, she is a violent, cynical, disturbing, deep voiced burnout entertainer….and that what makes it funny about her. You expect the girl to be the same basic cute moe girl but the more f***ed up she is, the more interesting it is.
However, the problems are this show is that when it tries to be funny, it means up falling flat, much like the first episode where they discussed about food most of the time and the many anime/manga/videogame references, which can be too annoying a few times, whether it’s either Haruhi Suzumiya, Sgt. Frog, Azumanga Daioh, Gurren Lagann, Dragonball, Initial D and I thought I buried that show once I was done with it. However, my second guess is that the point of the references is to appeal to hardcore otakus who know about this stuff and I don’t think it will attract any newcomers to anime if this is the first thing you’re going to watch.
Okay. The animation by Kyoto Animation is very gag-based and nothing special but it’s passable but the character designs just feel like moe blobs and there is nothing more than that. The music is, well, the opening theme I heard once and it was okay but I wasn’t going to hear it all over again once I start to watch the show back to back. I just skip the intro and straight into the episode once I get far into it. The ending music……there isn’t just a single song in there. The first half is mostly karaoke by the main cast of girls and the second half is live-action musical sequences done by the voice actors of the Japanese dub.
Speaking of voice actors, you’ll notice the same Japanese VA actress Aya Hirano & the English dub VA actress Wendee Lee voices Konata in the series and was previously the voice of Haruhi Suzumiya and also most of the voice actors from the latter series (both Japanese and English) appear in Lucky Star.
FINAL VERDICT: At times, Lucky Star can be a very funny and entertaining anime but when you throw in the many anime/manga references that not everybody will get, you’re going to lose points on that. Some of the characters are relatable at some of the light dramatic parts later but I wouldn’t hold on to them for the long haul. I would still recommended this to some people if they want some moe in their life but if you hate that, I suggest you turn back and take the blue pill.
So, Lucky Star gets the rating of…..
Planet Tyro Rating: high VANILLA/low WATCHABLE
Well, I completed the task and it really felt good……..no scars, broken bones, being slapped, gun downed, or risking my life for any bullshit. I can simply review anime without any consequences of life and death. This was the start of something anew; a future in reviewing titles in situations that won’t get me killed.
I told Ani how I did on the review and from the looks of it; she said that I finally learned that I didn’t always need to fight for my life or endanger the people that I know and for that, she said that I can use some of the members for my next two reviews and when I told her what’s the next review going to be, I told her to pick out an outfit that would fit into the show’s theme and that show happens to be…….
LUCKY STAR – animation by KYOTO ANIMATION / released and distributed by KADOKAWA PICTURES, INC. / BANDAI ENTERTAINMENT.
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.
One morning after the Lucky Star review, The Hybrid was deliberately planning what to do on his review but the next one he’s planned wasn’t exactly what everybody had in mind. For example, he wanted Ani to dress up in a maid outfit, Neon & Lucky to transform themselves into robot panthers (Yes, they can do that.), Tron and Paradox to get a lot of porno magazines (you’ll get it) & Kris……well, he was still pissed at Hybrid for showing him Eiken for the first time (you’ll hear about it later among other things) and said that the next time I owe him a favor, I have to sing “Call Me Maybe” in front of everyone and I wasn’t looking forward to that. Eventually, I have to force them to do this skit with me or if not, I was going to make them watch Strike Witches, both seasons of the show, Clockwork Orange-style. So, I’ll say this about the next anime; there was a very arty but strange guy named Shaft who met a very eccentric but sweet woman named Gainax, who seem to click right off the start and so they dated a few times until that fateful night where they (you get the idea, didn’t you?) and then 9 months later, out came their first child….MAHOROMATIC.
(This review covers both seasons of the same series).
Well, I already told you info about Gainax via the previous two reviews of anime I did on them so what about this another anime studio that they collaborated with, Shaft. Shaft is known for producing such anime as the critically and somewhat fan-acclaimed Puella Magi Madoka Magica (and I actually love that show, along with the English dub of the show) and…..Dance in the Vampire Bund (thankfully, somebody already covered that show in this group) and that have collaborated more in the distant future but for Mahoromatic, this is a very mixed concept of a show that manages that can be both fascinating and very awkward.
The story is about a combat android named Mahoro has driven into guilt by her actions in her combat days want to retire her days in peace as a live-in maid, serving the son of her late commanding officer, Suguru Misato, a phenomenally messy high school student who lives by himself after his family passed away. However, if she lays down her arms and conserves her remaining power, the time she has left can be prolonged to just over a year and as for their later episodes, as the relationship between Mahoro, Suguru and his classmates develops further, another android girl enters their lives and becomes attached to Mahoro. All the while, the number of days before Mahoro is to shut down decreases steadily.
Now, I really have low expectations when I came upon watching this so here are the things that I think are positive for the show: I actually like Mahoro as a character in the show because her character and backstory kept me intrigued and although I really don’t feel relatable to her because I really don’t know anyone as a combat maid or even a regular maid (I think, memory of mine is a bit fuzzy). Plus, you’ll start to actually care for her since you’ll know she isn’t long for this world since every episode ends with how many days before she stops functioning, even if the episode is more comedic than their serious ones.
As for Suguru and his friends, well, they are the neutral part of the series for me. Suguru isn’t a bad character but he isn’t much of one in the series. He can be a bit of a weenie in the first few episodes but can stand up for himself a few times but I wouldn’t count on expecting it every time. Also, Suguru has some female friends Miyuki (the blue-haired tomboyish member of the Triomatic), Rin (the brown-haired and tallest member of the Triomatic) & Chizuko (the short blonde-haired girl who orgasms everytime she eats something) who I think want to get closer to him and be more than friends (‘lucky bastard’) although they really don’t carry the plot much. They are mostly the harem part of the show and yet most of the time he looks at dirty magazines with his friends Hamaguchi & Kawahara. Dude, you got not only one, two but FIVE girls admiring you from afar and yet you look at many images of naked woman and yet when you see them for real, you freak out which is normal when seeing one out of the blue but still….Suguru, you dull but lucky bastard. There is also Minawa, an android working for Management, the newer addition in the second season, who poses in school as Mahoro’s younger sister and she always manages to trip and fall down and always apologizes for doing that. I don’t want to say she’s slow, I don’t think she is but I can’t really defend her on that plus Hamaguchi does have a crush on her in a few episodes and that’s basically it on her.
However, when the show stops funny, they bring out Saori Shikijo, the homeroom teacher of Suguru’s class and have a very deep attraction to him and always remind us every time about that. My God, she is the most annoying character in this show and all the times she appears out of nowhere, it is very cringeworthy on the screen and wish this character didn’t actually exists and I actually wanted Mahoro to really mess her up and the fact Shikijo always teases her about her breast size since by comparison, Shikijo wins in that area but she’s still a bitch.
There is also Slash, the robot panther or “support mech” who works for Mahoro and Ryuga, who poses as a teacher to investigate Mahoro on what she’s doing at Earth. Alongside with Mahoro, these two is also my favorite characters on the show. I actually now want a robot panther as a pet now and having Steve Blum voicing Ryuga is icing on the cake, even if the cake is a bit tart.
On the animation courtesy of Gainax and Shaft, the movements in the fight compliments much of the Gainax style even if it looks like it was made in the ‘90s (this show was made in 2001-2003) and has the depict of weirdness and surrealism (maybe) that most people expect from Studio Shaft. Did I forget to mention BOOBIES GALORE!?!?!??!!? Yes, every female on the show does appear either it’s a panty shot, in their underwear, and baring it all or it does get a bit tiring at some parts and kind of creepy, too. Look, some nudity is nice and all but I don’t always want to be expecting it at every nook and cranny. I don’t have much to say about the music except some of it does fit the tone of the series and yet I always skip the opening and ending songs as I really don’t care for them after the episode ends but the satellite poems after the songs are nice, too.
FINAL VERDICT: Mahoromatic can be a bit problematic with some of the stuff they come up with. They develop a fascinating character to get into but brought in some very uninteresting characters that have nothing to do with the main story and one character to completely loathe. The fan service is very liberal in its usage but it gets very played out at some point. Some episodes I actually had fun with and enjoy some of the hilarity in them and the other episodes that contribute to the story helps as well. I wouldn’t recommend you watch the series immediately but for a Gainax series, it’s not actually mind-blowing but it’s passable.
Mahoromatic gets the final rating of
Planet Tyro Rating: WATCHABLE
So the plan is all set but I felt like something is missing and I really need to call on some more girls…..so I look into my calling list and looked up GSXR, Nu, Angel, & E.B. and call them if they want to be a part of this and after I told them about it, these are the reactions I gotten from them:
GSXR: “I’m actually going to be busy today, sorry to disappoint you.”
Angel: “I’m going to have to refuse politely.”
Nu: “Motherfucker, are you serious about that?”
So they all refuse, although I get why and after that plan is botched, I have to break it to them and they were civil about it, especially Ani, since I had her practicing in the maid outfit, while Lucky being the robot panther and Neon also being one and a stunt panther and Kris was the panther wrangler and he almost got hurt and said to me, “You now owe me another song……and some hospital bills to pay for.”
Well, at least the next time I tried to make a plan, the output would be better than expected and speaking of next time, I’m going to check out one anime series that many people have being talking about for a long time, they rather loved it or hated it and considering to be one of the very controversial endings of an anime ever.
MAHOROMATIC – animation by GAINAX/SHAFT, distributed by SENTAI FILMWORKS (formerly GENEON ENTERTAINMENT).
Reviewer. Spillio. Anime/Movie/Hip Hop lover to the extent.