The Old Bento Box Part 2

February 12, 2008

I noticed that I haven’t updated this category for a while now. So here’s another set from my old collections. Yes, I still have most of them in VHS, lol:

El Hazard: The Magnificent World: When Makoto Mizuhara discovers an old monument in his school and awakens a beautiful woman, he, his teacher, his worst enemy and one of his female friends were transported to the magnificent world of El Hazard. There they discovered that they have received some special powers. Makoto and his teacher Fujisawa land in a jungle and save a princess from some large bugs. Makoto’s friend Nanami lands in a desert. And Makotos rival, Jinnai lands in the middle of the bug’s kingdom and becomes their general, plotting to destroy Makoto and his new friends. After having his attacks repelled by Makoto several times, Jinnai learns about an ultimate weapon, the demon Ifurita. And so everyone sets of to find Ifurita, and when she’s found Makoto learns that she is the same woman that sent them to El Hazard. But the one gaining control of her is Jinnai.

Thoughts: This is one of those early other-world-adventures I enjoyed watching. Artwork, storyline and music are really good. Visible harem element to spice things up but the series has a strong plot to begin with. Two to three sequels followed which are equally good. If you’re looking for a light, entertaining, adventure anime with a dose of Fujisawa kick, you may want to try this one.

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Today in Class 5-2

January 10, 2008

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK IT IS!!^^ Today in Class 5-2 is a 4-episode comedy OAV based on the manga from the same author of Minami-ke. It’s about the everyday life of a fifth grade class focusing on Ryota Satou, his childhood sweetheart Chika Koizumi, and their friends.

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My 2008 Watchlist…

January 3, 2008

A lot of goodies are in store for anime lovers this 2008. I personally find some of them to be repetitive of the stuff that I’ve watched before and others simply seem to be boring. But among the line-up this year the following caught my interest:

1. Ponyo on a Cliff: Another film from Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki this year. The movie is about a goldfish princess named Ponyo who desperately wants to be a human. In pursuing her goal, she befriends a five-year-old human boy, Sosuke (wikipedia). Knowing it’s from Ghibli and Miyazaki, I’d expect that this will be good. The story might go in the line of Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro – simple but with much deeper plot, consistent characters, and good story development. I always feel that Ghibli’s usual watercolor-like animation adds nostalgia and a general feeling of happiness to the whole film. I don’t know why but I always feel happy after watching a Ghibli film regardless of the story/plot.

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My Top 5 Anime

December 5, 2007

Based on the anime I’ve watched so far, here are the best 5 for me:

5. Ranma ½: Saotome Ranma, a teenage martial artist, and his father Genma travel to the ‘cursed training ground’ of Jusenkyo in China. There, despite the warnings of the Chinese guard, they fall into the cursed springs. From now on, whenever Ranma is doused in cold water, he turns in to a girl, and a cute, well-built red-head at that. Hot water changes him back into a man again, but only until the next time. To make matters worse, his father engages him to Tendo Akane, a girl who hates boys.

Thoughts: Welcome to the world of anything-goes-martial-arts. This is one of the funniest and entertaining anime I’ve watched. Storyline and characters are unique and really amusing. It’s something I’d watch anytime after a hard day at work.


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Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

November 29, 2007

Some reviewers dubbed this anime as the ultimate vampire movie; I couldn’t agree more. A dark engaging plot, unique characters, slick action scenes, and apparently high-quality animation will definitely appeal to any anime fan. A few years back my friend and I were browsing though some anime titles in a downtown store and chanced upon this anime and bought it out of curiosity. It turned out to be the best deal. At first I didn’t expect too much from it after watching Blood the Last Vampire which was really disappointing. But my jaw just dropped in amazement after watching for about 20 minutes. Let me emphasized that I’m referring to the Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (the 2nd movie) and not the 1st movie which I think is a total waste of time.

The setting is in the distant future where humans, vampires and other creatures live together and of course the relationship is hostile. Humans hired hunters to protect them and to hunt down vampires. D, a dunpeal (half-human, half-vampire) was hired to retrieve Charlotte, a daughter of a rich family who was kidnapped by a vampire named Meier Link. But D has competition; the Marcus Brothers who already had a head start.

All I can say is that the whole film is just stunning. The dark western-gothic scenery set up a perfect atmosphere for the storyline. Fight scenes are violent and graphic. While action sequences were quick in execution, it was done smoothly and artistically. Characters were distinctly drawn with interesting traits and skills. Among the characters, D and Meier exhibited the deepest emotions. D doesn’t talk much but much of his thoughts and feelings were revealed through his interaction with Leila. The Marcus brothers were an interesting bunch, who also added some twist in the story. I found the guy who separates from his body and shoots out some kind of plasma blast the most interesting. English dubbing is of Ninja Scroll quality, that is to say superb.

A story of resentment, love and tragedy; Bloodlust is a must see and definitely a great collection. I’ll now leave you with an emo monologue from Meier Link:

When the last vampire is extinct,
Who will mourn our past?
Will she?
Will anyone?
Can anyone understand this pain… this loneliness?

Umi ga Kikoeru (I can Hear the Sea)

March 25, 2007

The guy who likes to sleep in bathtubs. That’s Taku Morisaki. After a year had passed Taku returns to his hometown Kochi for a highschool reunion. On his way back home he recalled everything that happened. Matsuno Yutaka was his best friend and both their lives changed when Rikako Muto (a Tokyo girl) transferred to their school.

Rikako excels in everything – studies, sports, looks, etc. but remained wrapped up with herself. She hated moving to Kochi and vented all her problems and frustrations on everyone. The class trip to Hawaii and the sudden trip to Tokyo let Taku see a clearer picture of Rikako. It took a class reunion for Taku to finally realize what he truly feels.

This is my favorite Studio Ghibli film and in my opinion is Ghibli’s best work. The first time I saw it was 6 years ago in VHS along with Whisper of the Heart. I fell in love with it and bought the DVD a few years later. It is nothing exceptional but it offers a nostalgic coming of age story of persons living simple lives and as they relate to those around them, they realize something about themselves that makes them a better person. It is a story which anyone can easily relate to or has actually gone through.

The plot progresses smoothly, presenting the conflicts and developing each character in a very timely pace. Some circumstances that led to the realizations of Rikako and Taku are still vague to me but the spontaneity of it all is what makes it more appealing. Artwork is consistent with the simplistic Ghibli trademark. Instrumentals cover the scenes consisting mainly of piano, violin and some pipes. It is classical to the ears and enhanced perfectly every mood. Cinematography is great highlighting background images like grayish cottony clouds, the school building, and the night shot of the shrine. Perhaps what makes them artistic is that they are actually patterned from the real things. The school and the shrine featured here exist in real life.

I highly recommend this one. The film will take you back to your own highschool days when everything is simple yet exciting. As the end credits roll, you’ll wonder why you still feel warm inside.

The Old Bento Box Part 1

March 25, 2007

Let me share some of the anime I’ve watched and kinda stayed with me. They’re not that old, some are quite popular and some may be unheard of. This might help those who ran out of new anime to watch and would like to try some oldies. So let’s begin…

801 T.T.S. Airbats (OAV). When aviation mechanic (and anime fanboy) Takuya Isurugi is transferred to the 801st Tactical Training Squadron, he gets more than he bargained for. Moderated by hard-headed veteran ace Mitsuru Konishi, the “Airbats” are an all-female aerial acrobatic team consisting of loose cannons Miyuki Haneda and Arisa Mitaka, karaoke freak and gambling genius Sakura Saginomiya, and junk food lover Yoko Shimorenjaku. Both Haneda and Mitaka do not get along with each other, and their rivalry worsens when they both fall for Isurugi. But with the entire JASDF having doubts about the team, the Airbats must work as a team or face total disbandment.

Thoughts: This falls under the harem genre, basically featuring the lives of the pilots and the mechanic Isurugi. Lots of funny antics common in harems. There’s also a nice side-story about the captain. ^_^

3×3 Eyes. 3X3 Eyes is the story of a young man named Yakumo Fuuji, who through a strange series of events becomes the immortal slave of the last of a race of 3 Eyed immortals. The immortal absorbs his soul to save his life, making him immortal in the process. Now, he begins a journey with the female immortal in an attempt to find a way of becoming human. Of course, there are many complications along the way, not the least of which being that the immortal is a female with a split personality, one achingly cute and the other being no-nonsense destructive power, and the romances that develop between.

Thoughts: I guess this is one of the pioneers of the master-servant genre. The OAV kinda fast-tracked the story but still very enjoyable to watch if you’re into magical heroine and adventure.

Kimagure Orange Road. Fifteen year old Kyosuke Kasuga moves to a new city and becomes enamoured by one Madoka Ayukawa, whom often treats him coldly even though she seemed friendly the first time they met, when he caught her red straw hat on the stairs. Kyosuke also must try to avoid breaking the heart of the slightly childish Hikaru Hiyama, whom fell in love with him after she saw him make an impossible shot with a basketball and whom likes to shower him with affection. Also, just to make things interesting, Kyosuke, his sisters, his grandfather, and his cousins all have various powers (teleportation, psychokinesis, hypnosis, time travel, personality transferrence) which Kyosuke desperately tries to keep a secret, though some of the other family members have no such qualms against using their powers in public.

Thoughts: This seems to be the grandfather of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien but much lighter and more on the comedy side. The OAV concludes everything for the 3 main characters while the movie took out a new twist. Highly recommendable romantic comedy anime.

That’s all for now, I’ll rummage again through my collection, see if I find anything interesting. ^_^

(images and summaries from ANN)