20 Aug 2011

Full Metal Panic


As someone who doesn't particularly like anything with Mecha, I couldn't get enough of this relatively short anime. Full Metal Panic (FMP) is one of those top tier programs developed from a great manga that deserves to be way up there along with stuff like Bleach and Naruto.


A fair amount of Japanese humour evades me due to lack of culture knowledge. Sometimes a slapstick joke is deployed in an anime and I don't even understand it, or it just doesn't appeal to a westerner like me. Due to this, I am skeptical about any anime or manga within the comedy genre. However, Full Metal Panic managed to make me laugh and smile throughout, even during some of the crude fanservice that you always have to put up with when commiting yourself to a new anime.


The biggest flaw I can point out is how boring the antagonist is. He has no personality, no background, and is capable of less than a few facial expressions. Other than that, I really can't find much to bitch about. The tension builds nicely and is divided neatly by comedy and romance. Although a little confusing at first, the storyline quickly picks up and you feel like you know the alternate world and the characters within.


I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, you need to be able to put up with or enjoy romance, and be able to watch some mediocre mecha fights. The love-hate relationship between Chidori and Sagara can also be a bit smothering at times, but it's very sweet really. If you want to give it a go, I suggest you watch at least 3 episodes, get a feel for the action and then you'll have an idea of whether you want to finish them all.


After the first two seasons which are mostly serious and run in one long arc, you can treat yourself to the bonus series, FUMOFFU. While it's very episodic and more about comedy than anything else, a vast majority of fans love it and prefer it over the other series. I myself liked all of it and have no preference, but if you've seen this anime or read the manga and have thoughts, please share them with a comment!

11 Aug 2011

Utawarerumono

I just watched utawarerumono for the first time recently. I found it as a similar recommendation for Code Geass.


Skeptical, I forced my way through the first couple of episodes and found it bearable and fairly addictive. The characters are engaging and have their own backstories (although a little lacklustre), the world is very interesting, and the art and visuals are nothing special but the average anime blend. Sure, that description isn't exactly positive, but I genuinely enjoyed it once having found myself settled in.


Even though I feel a few plot details were unexplained and unnecessary, I believe they may be covered in the manga, which I didn't read. Presume it's better than the anime, since it pretty much always is.


Anyway, the story goes a little something like this: Man wakes up from serious injury with no recollection of previous events. After helping the town who saved him from destruction, he is named Hakuoro. Lord Hakuoro, now followed by many and hailed as a kind and generous lord sets off collecting allies and warriors to aid the uphill battle. The war continues on an increasing scale with further consequences each victory.


Overall, I wouldn't say this anime was anything special. However, do give it a watch, especially if you liked Code Geass or stuff that involves war strategy.

3 Aug 2011

One Piece


The first thing you need to know about this program is it has a stupid amount of episodes (500+), and there is still a load more to come. If you are looking for an anime similar to the Dragon Ball franchise or Rurouni Kenshin, One Piece is probably the closest you're going to get.


Although the start is slow and also a little boring, once ironically heroic pirate Monkey D Luffy collects his crew the rapport is excellent and hilarious. The more time you invest into this anime the more satisfaction you will get from it.


When I think about the plot of One Piece, all I can say is it's very shonen. Don't let that deter you though, I mean it in a good way. Some people may find it a little repetitive, but that doesn't mean the series isn't entitled to the enormous following it has gathered since the initial release of the manga in 1997.


The art is fairly well animated albeit not in the traditional style that I like (the eyes). As the characters develop some of the battles are well drawn and great to watch. Overall, the whole feeling is very lighthearted. Don't try to take the One Piece plotline seriously, because it will let you down. Do watch a dozen episodes if you have the time, you could be a fanboy in no time.


29 Jul 2011

Death Note

I can't say I loved this anime. Death Note was good in a mind bending way, similar to Code Geass. The main character Yagami Light is difficult to sympathise with or even like, but he does have his moments. The whole story is a little hypocritical and ironic, but I won't ruin it for you.


I've even heard there's a movie in production, but don't get your hopes up. Even if it does come out, films these days have a habit of letting you down.


Anyway, if you like tactics and strategy - this is another anime for you. The mental back and forth between Yagami and the antagonist, L is full of tension and is very engaging.  There are a few great twists, but as usual - the manga is better than the anime.


Some of the characters are epic and awesome, I found myself rooting for L instead of Yagami. Ryuk the death god was amusing and a little cryptic at times. The art is well drawn and animated, and in high quality the graphics are some of the best. As always, watch the subbed version instead of dub. Dub sucks. Bad voice acting central, thank you for wasting my time.

25 Jul 2011

Bleach


If you're looking to get into anime and you've only seen mainstream stuff like Dragonball Z, Bleach is an ideal place to start. Now I can't say popularity is the best way to measure the quality of something, but the Bleach fanbase is practically a cult following. In my opinion this anime should be on everyone's priority list.

There are too many awesome characters to name, although Zaraki Kenpachi is the king of badassery. For those of you that love long running animes like One Piece and Naruto, Bleach could be your next addiction.


Plot summary taken from IMDB: 
High school student Kurosaki Ichigo is unlike any ordinary kid. Why? Because he can see ghosts. Ever since a young age, he's been able to see spirits from the afterlife. Ichigo's life completely changes one day when he and his two sisters are attacked by an evil, hungry and tormented spirit known as a Hollow. Right in the nick of time, Ichigo and his siblings are aided by a Shinigami (Death God) named Kuchiki Rukia, whose responsibility it is to send good spirits (Pluses) to the afterlife known as Soul Society, and to purify Hollows and send them up to Soul Society. But during the fight against the Hollow, Rukia is injured and must transfer her powers to Ichigo. With this newly acquired power, so begins Kurosaki Ichigo's training and duty as a Shinigami to maintain the balance between the world of the living and the world of the dead.


There are a hell of a lot of episodes to watch, as the director Noriyuki Abe and Studio Pierrot has been pumping them out since 2004 and the manga is still ongoing. The mangaka, Tite Kubo uses a simple but fairly unique art style that gives the characters life and personality.


It might take you some time to get into the rhythm of Bleach, possibly up to 100 episodes. But I can assure you it's worth the watch. You'll be humming the intro songs in no time. Some of the characters are unbelievably badass - there's no contest who'd win in a fight versus Ichigo and Naruto. The only bad part is the filler, beware of the Bounto arc.

17 Jul 2011

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

Hey everyone, welcome to the first post on my anime and manga blog! It was difficult deciding on which anime to review and talk about first, so I chose my favorite:


Code Geass is an excellent anime for pretty much anyone. The series does involve Mecha but it's not an overly smothering feature, so if Mechas aren't your thing don't worry about it. Both the anime and manga are good, but I'd suggest watching the program since it covers pretty much everything that's in the mangas anyway. Here's a little about the plot:


Lelouch Lamperouge is an incredibly intelligent young high school student living in future Japan after a great world war in which the country Britainna took over the majority of the planet. Japan, renamed area 11 is under a harsh tyrannic rule with its citizens oppressed. On his way back to to the academy after winning an illegal chess match, Lelouch is accidentally involved in a terrorist operation and shot. He survives by assistance from a mysterious power and some quick thinking. And so begins his epic journey to take the world from the hands of the Emperor and Britannia as revenge for his family.


That's just about as much as I can reveal without spoiling the story. I do recommend this anime to anyone who likes strategy, tactics, total badassery and more. Lelouch is hands down one of the biggest winners ever, I have yet to meet a more smug protagonist. He is more of an anti-hero than anything else.


Overall, don't miss out on Code Geass if you like anime. Sponsored by Bandai, you can tell it's arguably one of the best out there. I can't promise you'll love it like I did, but you will be able appreciate this anime, you'd be mad not to!

15 Jul 2011