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Angry Jedi

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Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Angry Jedi » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:22 am

Anime thread? Anime thread.

At the urging of Beige and Rampant, I've been watching Silver Spoon (aka Gin no Saji), a thoroughly unusual anime that eschews the "moe" stylings and popular tropes of much modern anime in favour of something that is, to my knowledge, altogether unique.

Silver Spoon tells the story of Hachiken, a young man who finds himself at agricultural college following high school. The anime chronicles his adventures on this working educational farm as he slowly comes to learn where all his food comes from, including the grim realities of a number of things. This being a character-centric anime, he also comes to learn plenty of things about himself and grow as a person in the process, which is nice.

Silver-Spoon-1.jpg


I'm only four episodes in so far, but it's already a lot of fun. The characters are interesting and well-defined, and tend not to fall into the usual stereotypes, with the creators instead preferring somewhat unusual characteristics both in terms of their physical appearance and their personalities. This isn't an anime exclusively populated by "conventionally attractive" people, in other words: a couple of the main characters are overweight (and the different ways they clearly feel about their bodies make up part of their personality); another dude looks like he belongs in Dragon Ball Z; and the girls are more than the commonly seen (but admittedly enjoyable) tropes of "this one is the sweet one, this one is the tsundere..." and so on.

Although it firmly and unabashedly has its feet firmly planted in the muddy ground of reality, Silver Spoon doesn't, as it so easily could, take itself too seriously. Rather, the show is by turns light-hearted and thought-provoking without getting too "heavy" about anything; it strikes a good balance between telling it how it is and indulging in occasional anime silliness -- often with a bit of a twist on the usual formulae.

All in all, after four episodes, it seems like a show well worth continuing with -- and for those of you interested in checking out something a little different to the norm, I can highly recommend it. (Alex C in particular, I feel you will likely get a kick out of all the farming machinery porn throughout!)

Plus it has one of the catchiest EDs ever... and, I think, the first example I've ever heard of Japanese country music.

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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by asatiir » Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:31 pm

Copied from the What'cha Watchin'? thread:

Sakigake!! Otokojuku (Charge!! Men's Private School):

Joked around the internet as the manliest anime ever made, this was made by the Hokuto No Ken team about a school of delinquents that go there to brush up their manliness, all the teachers look like Dynasty Warriors/Samurai Warriors rejects. This is as dudebro an anime can get and I found it quite hilarious, it's a shame that the show near the end becomes a series of fights that take several of episodes to finish. If you plan to watch this, I suggest you skip both the movies (animated and live action) because they're a waste of time, otherwise the show is great despite the unfortunate last few episodes.

Not copied from the What'cha Watchin'? thread:

Gunslinger Girl:

Here's an anime that has taken me a bit by surprised, I was worried that there would be a lot of pandering as the show centers around several little girls but turned out quite the opposite. Show is about a government-backed institute looks for little girls that have either been abandoned by their families or are war refugees and give them a new life as cybernetically enhanced assassins. I'm probably not giving it any justice by describing it, but it delves into a lot of subjects that involve humanity and ethics. Some bits were pretty emotional and intense that it got me thinking about some the subjects the show brought up even after I've finished watching the first season.

I did hear they threw all that away by the first season and took it down the pandering route in the second season, I'm kind of disappointed by that but I might give it a look later. Otherwise the first season was great.

Currently Watching:
Jormungand:

Still 5 episodes in, can't say much about it as I'm still early in the show. It is a fairly interesting, story about a small team consisting of a well known arms dealer and her squad of body guards and hitmen.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by A.I Impaired » Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:24 am

I recently watched a few episodes of 'kino's journey'. The main character is a traveller with a talking motorcycle. Each place they go seems to be themed differently as if humanity was in each place made to develop without knowledge of any other culture. Through each culture the travellers observe different behaviours, norms, and levels of social dysfunction. Invariably throughout the episodes we see the culture unravel before the travellers eyes to make some point about the human condition. Before they get a chance to come to any final resting point on what they have seen, they pick up and leave for the next place. Very pensive and interesting if you are philosophical by any measure, I have really enjoyed each episode.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Angry Jedi » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:03 am

A.I Impaired wrote:I recently watched a few episodes of 'kino's journey'. The main character is a traveller with a talking motorcycle. Each place they go seems to be themed differently as if humanity was in each place made to develop without knowledge of any other culture. Through each culture the travellers observe different behaviours, norms, and levels of social dysfunction. Invariably throughout the episodes we see the culture unravel before the travellers eyes to make some point about the human condition. Before they get a chance to come to any final resting point on what they have seen, they pick up and leave for the next place. Very pensive and interesting if you are philosophical by any measure, I have really enjoyed each episode.


Ah, I know Beige and Rampant are fans of this. Would like to check it out myself sometime.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by BusyZombieLord » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:51 am

Netflix here in the US just added some new anime recently. My surprise came when I saw the recently redone Hunter X Hunter series show up in the listing. I just started watching it. I had seen the original OVAs way back when. I had even gone as far as to buy Chinese bootlegs with english subtitles. It was all really rough in translation with those.

So far the new series is really well done. They trimmed a lot of the fat from the OVAs. Stuff that was stretched over 3 episodes was cut down to 1 with out missing any of the major plot points.

The basic premise is that Gon a 12 year old kid has been raised by his aunt and grandmother. His dad left home long ago to become what is known as a Hunter. Hunters are like an elite group of specialists. Some obtain the Hunter license to be bounty hunters, others executive chefs that prepare rare food, and other crazy nonsense. The whole first season revolves Gon meeting 3 other hunter applicants and they work together thought the crazy challenges the get a Hunter license. The challenges can be fatal too so it is not just kid stuff. It is a very action/fantasy heavy anime.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Rampant Bicycle » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:08 pm

I love animation.

This means that Japan has for some years been doing right by me in providing good stuff, though it can take some doing to sort through all of the...less good stuff to find the truly awesome.

As a point of interest, my very first series was Serial Experiments Lain, perhaps best described as "Japan reacts to the Internet." The elevator pitch: Shy junior-high school student Lain learns that people in her class have been receiving emails from Chisa Yomoda, a classmate who killed herself recently. To say "and then things get weird" seems like kind of an understatement...

I still get the opening stuck in my head from time to time.



A bit dated now, perhaps, but an interesting time capsule.

I absolutely recommend Kino's Journey, yes, though I feel I should advise you that while it is thoughtful and very solid work it can also be extremely depressing, so please take that under advisement. ;)

Its opening gets stuck in my head from time to time as well:



Other stuff that's fun:

If you're in the mood for something spooky/supernatural, Hell Girl is a good choice. It's rooted in urban-legend territory: rumor has it that if you harbor a deep grievance in your heart, you can call upon the being known as Hell Girl. She will offer you the opportunity to take your revenge - a gift of a little straw doll with a red string tied around its neck. (These straw dolls, wara ningyo, go back a long way in Japanese folklore, traditionally nailed to trees as a means of delivering a curse. See also: http://omamorifromjapan.blogspot.ca/2011/12/wara-ningyo-curses.html)

Pull the string, and your target will be immediately sent to hell. But, as Hell Girl says, "two holes appear when you curse a person" - once your retribution has been dealt, your soul is doomed to fall into hell as well when you die.

The overall flavor is a bit like the Twilight Zone in that it tends to of necessity be relatively episodic, though there is an overarching plot that starts to kick in as the first season progresses. It's dark, but weirdly compelling, and the show is just as curious as you (likely) are about who Hell Girl is and where she comes from, trust me.

Opening:



My all-time favorite anime series is Revolutionary Girl Utena.

If you know anything at all about that show I guess that tells you a lot about me. ;)

Our heroine is Utena, student at a very exclusive boarding school. Once, long ago, she met a prince, or so the introduction tells us - handsome and strong and kind and generally all-around fairy-tale awesome. So impressed was she with his awesomeness that she resolved one day to become a prince herself!

...and more than that I probably shouldn't spoil, though let's say that her love of chivalry is shortly to draw her into something more complicated than she could ever previously have imagined.

This looks like magical-girl fluff on the surface, but this one is densely-layered, kids - it's crammed to the gills with dreamlike symbolism, and absolutely will not hold your hand when it comes to explaining anything that's going on. Very little is what - or whom - it seems at first blush. Moreover, on a second viewing suddenly things that looked like throwaway randomness before will take on new significance. This was made by a guy who has expressed interest in working with David Lynch, if that is at all informative - shit gets weird up in here. Also, in my opinion it has some interesting comments on the experience of being female, but that's my opinion, so your mileage may vary.

Opening:



May post some other recommendations later - I mean, there's Welcome to the NHK and Mushi-Shi and Ano Hana and Twelve Kingdoms and Ouran High School Host Club and...well, I could suggest things literally all day, I expect.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Alex Connolly » Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:52 pm

I had a bit of a discussion on Twitter with a fellow on animation that changed the way we thought about the medium, and while it's not strictly anime per se, Peter Chung's Aeon Flux was one of those personal paradigm shifts; tucked into a seductive wrap of The Maxx and Liquid TV, followed by the first season of South Park in the 90s when it was fresh and raw and bawdy.

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Discounting Sam Keith's animated adaptation of that classic dark and very grungy comic, Chung's Aeon Flux shorts on Liquid TV did indeed unleash a weird macabre thirst for more of this fare. The seasons of short animations, ones where Aeon dies at the end of each, were breathtaking. High weirdness, strange architecture and premises, with that classic Schiele DNA design that is a trade of Chung's work. Highly contorted, strained anatomies with thin, insectoid proportions. Allegedly, Aeon Flux was Chung's outlet after working on Nickelodeon's Rugrats and the contrast couldn't be more apparent on all levels - some though more subtle than others. Where there was barely an angle in the world of Tommy and company, the realms of Monica and Bregna are sustained to their core in the sheered, savage interplay of brutal angularity.

I'm just about ready to roll back into my yearly watch of both the shorts and the longer, more philosophical series. And the less said about the movie, the better.

The first batch of shorts that aired on MTV can be found here.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Bowley » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:14 pm

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Attack on Titan

Humanity is on the brink of annihilation, beset by a horde of weird, horrific, people-like humanoids, called "titans." They are as big as a house or (much, much) taller and worst of all, they have an insatiable hunger for human flesh. Like zombies, they are dumb, but formidable nonetheless. No one knows where they came from or why, but the remnants of mankind have survived a century since, living out their lives behind the enormous titan-sized walls of a three-tiered super fortress... until now.

I binge watched this on Netflix, it's very good, and has strong military flavor, which I enjoy. They do an excellent job of making the titans a horrific foe. You will watch them eat people, mercilessly, and they can be unpredictable, unlike zombies. The forces of humanity have adapted by creating gas powered "3D maneuvering devices" that allow you to zip around like a cross between batman and spiderman, otherwise a human on the ground vs a titan, is, well... lunch. This anime has way too much inner monologuing for me (STOP, I don't need to hear everyone's thoughts, just show me what happens!) but the story and action are worth it, I think. It also has an excellent, excellent soundtrack.

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Knights of Sidonia

In the not too distant future, humanity is also on the brink of annihilation. Our solar system has been destroyed, Earth is no more, thanks to another mysterious race of beings, alien beings, call the Gauna. They are like John Carpenter's The Thing in nature, massive and able to take any form they wish by absorbing it, and they are numerous in the galaxy. Humanity has taken to the stars in massive seed ships, with chunks of Earth attached, in which the knowledge and resources to start anew on a distant planet have been placed. One such, seed ship, is named Sidonia. Humans have been genetically altered to photosynthesize, to save on food consumption. To protect itself, a company of shiny mecha, called Gardes, and a corps of pilots, stand at the ready. Only one weapon has ever proved effective at stopping the Gauna, and Sidonia is running out...

This is almost like a sci-fi version of Attack on Titan, they are very similar if you boil them down. Still, the science fiction in Knights of Sidonia is done very well. It's well thought out and very realistic in a lot of ways, for instance ships need fuel and ammo and have a range from Sidonia they can get before not being retrievable, maneuvering Sidonia in any more than a subtle course correction can have horrific consequences with regards to the gravity inside and if you are secured to something or not. This is a weird compliment, but the various GUIs and HUDs are awesome, they sound awesome, and I love all the ETAs and clocks ticking down as various objects take time to intercept out there in space.

The characters, however, are not good, the female characters are especially forgettable. It approaches a harem kind of anime at times, but thankfully never goes full retard, and, much like Attack on Titan, doesn't shy away from killing them all off. I just roll my eyes at the cheesy, "oh, we're so embarrassed" love shit and wait for it to get back to the actual plot. The anime style is CG and can be a little choppy to watch in the beginning, but you get used to it. This is also on Netflix.

Edit: OH, and there's a bear lady. I don't know why, but no one seems to care that there's a bear lady on board. Anime.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Raven2785 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:39 pm

I cast revive on this thread in order to bring you something both interesting and morbid: Death Parade.

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Based around a single episode short called Death Billiards, Death Parade continues with the same premise: when people die they are either sent to heaven or hell, a few exceptions instead end up in Quindecim, a bar as luxurious as it is mysterious. Attended by Decim and his assistant, these poor souls are told in no uncertain terms that they are unable to leave the bar and they'll be playing a bar game chosen at random in which they'll be betting their lives. Right about now you'll be wondering about that little plot hole, how can dead souls even bargain with their lives? and that is the point, they don't, but these people don't know that (the in-universe explanation is that the shock of death makes them forget the very fact they died in the first place) and as such, they go into these games thinking they will have win in order to get out of the game alive.

Think about it, if you're playing a game with your life on the line, will you cheat? will you play fairly? will you do anything you can to win? and are you gonna trust the other person you are facing NOT to cheat or do anything they can to win the game either? these are questions the players of said games are faced with as a test of character in order to determine who is worthy of going either to heaven or hell with the titular Decim acting as an arbitrator and final say in this matter, and this is where the show shines, as you're watching either of the two contestants go from normal composed people to complete babbling messes of tears and fear playing a simple bar game like darts.

It is very psychological, and the animation is top notch, the show right now is barely getting off to a good start (It's on episode 4 as of this writing) so your only choice to watch it subtitled on Hulu unless you wanna track down a fansub. but I assure you, it is very worth it.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Beige » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:18 pm

You know what's a good anime? Space Dandy.

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Back it up: L and I have a semi-regular anime night with a friend over here, we have a couple of things in rotation.

It goes like this, with the evening changing up between a slot 1, slot 2 and slot 3 show as more cocktails are consumed.

Slot 1 (Sober)
This is the reflective, contemplative serious show du jour. Usually something requiring that we pay close attention to it, often with character nuance, themes etc that aren't well served by increasing libations. Mushi-shi, for example, is a classic Slot 1. Currently we are spinning Ikuhara's gonzo Mawaru Penguindrum, a WTF if ever there was one.

Slot 2 ("A drink or two")
This has traditionally been reserved for shows with contents that benefit from a stiff drink but which still require some degree of focus to parse. Themes have a tendency to get dark here - we've had good success with horror in this slot. Hell girl, etc. Currently this means Danganrompa: The Anime. Our non-PSP owning friend is a bit confused by Monokuma (fan translated as "monobear") but whatever.

Slot 3 ("You're Drunk")
This slot is for only the silliest, most outrageous anime we can source -- the more whoop whoop the better. No holds barred, no accounting for good taste in this slot, anything goes. This slot is 100% focused on silly nonsense. Currently this means Space Dandy.

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What is Space Dandy? He's a Dandy in Space (obvs.) they're the first words in the title crawl for chrissakes. Bones, the studio that draws this gem are the same geniuses behind Samurai Champloo, (a show I adore) which means lots of bright colors, kinetic motion, outlandishly styled character designs with lots of visual flair and rediculousness.

I know jack shit about whoever made this show, but I love the cut of their jib. It's quite obvious that the artists making this grew up on Robotech style 1970s anime space opera fare about people with huge sideburns shooting blasters and rocketing around in Veritech fighters, in Space. They've taken a useful "if it ain't broke" approach to this trope, modernizing for color and tone but otherwise basically just updating the template while adding a dash of postmodernism.

Space Dandy is a Dandy in Space. He's got an enormous pompador, he mugs constantly at the camera but he's a likeable enough guy. Pretty much 100% of his time is spent doing odd bounty hunter jobs, scrounging around for pocket change so that he can afford to blow all his time and money at Space Hooters (which in the show is a restaurant chain literally called "Boobies") where girls wear hotpants and serve Space Cocktails. Nominally the Gang work sorta as alien hunters, tracking down rare squidoos and glorpies that they feel they can get the cute girl at the Space DMV to scan and give them money for.

Dandy is kind of sleazy in a Han Solo way but also alternatively flawed and strangely capable a la Archie or something. He hangs out with his two BFFs: a Betelgusian cat alien named Meow and a robot vaccuum cleaner named QT and they have escapades e slumming around the galaxy in their ship the Aloha Oi (which has a hula dancer painted on the fuselage and which can also jettison a little ship from inside itself G-Force style or turn into a giant mecha when the plot says it's hilarious to do so). Along the way Our Heroes find themselves constantly mired misadventure, frequently involving the show's nemesis, a giant apelike poseur named Dr. Gel who flies around in the Statue of Liberty and dresses in a pimp hat and full powdered wig. Oh, also there is a nefarious and ominous Space Lich / Skeletor figure named Commander Perry who serves as Emperor to Dr. Gel's Vader.

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Each episode is just gonzo nonsense. Our Heroes are at a bar eating Space Ramen, someone gets the idea that what they must do is search around to uncover the ultimate Ramen which (spoilar) ends up being produced from an aging sage alien trapped in the Ramen Dimension. Dr. Gel trails them secretly through Meow's habit of instagramming Space Ramen (everything is Space _____ here) but is ultimately foiled when Dandy throws the cell phone out the window because of an unrelated plot point.

I love that it's the kind of show that frequently explodes or zombifies its characters at the end of the episode without any explanation and then resumes next episode without any pretense of continuity whatsoever. It's breezy, stupid fun exactly halfway between dumb and smart, like old Police Squad or Airplane movies. That said, it's not afraid to be serious every now and then and do a character episode or to focus on some quiet times just because.

Dunno if it's the cut of your jib, but I get a kick out of it. Space Dandy doesn't take itself overly seriously and does what it does really well with style and ablomb. It's got tons of panache and visual flavor, is a little bit sleazy without being Otaku skeevy and stands outside of the customary nonsense that passes for popular these days. Not an ounce of moe here, just bad ass pompadours, blasters with rings around them, hot pants, Space Ramen and happy trails.

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