Casshern SINS after episode 04

Can robots fall in love? Ding! This little critter has metallic armor.
Friender looks kind of like a greyhound. Her name is Sophita, and fighting gets her hot.

After four episodes, I can easily say Casshern SINS is the best title on my list of animes I am watching. Among its repertoire: crisp designs, flowing and consistent animation, despite the blighted setting there are a few artful visuals, emotive music, psychologically interesting characters, and a smattering of intellectual themes concerning topics from existentialism to robotic love. All of this is weaved together with strong directing. I picked up Casshern SINS expecting an action show that is heavy on the style and light on the substance. I am pleased to see that this show has both in abundance.

Published in: on October 29, 2008 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kamen no Maid Guy after episode 12 – Final Thoughts

I'll take...the 2nd one from the right. I have a thing for girls wearing glasses. Hey, where's Maid Guy's profile?
Jogging up and down school stairs while staring at Naeka's boobs, it's an accident waiting to happen. An adversary worthy of Kogarashi.

The last episode was rather obligatory. There was ten episodes of slice of life narratives with hardly any background intrigue or developments on the fundamental plot. Then the last episode spontaneously decides directly address that by introducing new characters who threatens Naeka’s life. What made the ending particularly unsatisfying was that the premise story is still unfinished: Naeka still has a hundred and twenty-four days before she receives her inheritance.
Yes, Kogarashi is a Gary Stu, but he is a Gary Stu of epic proportions. He is a man’s man. He is a man’s man’s man. He is a man’s man’s man’s…you get the point. The most amusing moments are when Kogarashi displays a ridiculous to the point of hilarity Maid Guy power. The distinguishing ingredient in the show is Kogarashi, but unfortunately Kamen no Maid Guy was more about Naeka’s large breasts than about Maid Guy himself. The comedy here is hit and miss, and the peppy music that plays at some jokes is overbearing and actually impedes its intent to induce laughter. Kogarashi is an archetypal example of an awesome character stuck in a crappy show.

Published in: on October 27, 2008 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Max Payne (film)

With Hitman, BloodRayne, Doom, and various movies directed by the infamous Uwe Boll, game to film adaptations have had a terrible track record. The Max Payne series are some of my favorite computer games of all time, so when I heard it would be brought to the big screen, I was eager but hesitant. I was hoping, however slim the chances may be, that Max Payne would be the exception amongst the game to film adaptations. Alas, after watching the movie, my inner suspicions were correct: the film did not fully capture the essence of the games.
In the games, you had Max running and gunning. In the movie he spent most of the time walking and talking. The first three quarters of the movie were conversations after conversations, with bits of violence sprinkled in between. I could count the number of instances where the film used bullet time in one hand. It just isn’t Max Payne without the liberal use of bullet time and a high body count that is signature in the games. Also, the film missed the big irony in the game: Max Payne popping painkillers to mollify his wounds. The movie does recreate the mood, environment, and the general (if altered) plot. Just like in the games, the weather is harsh as there is constant rain and snow. The dark and cold ambiance compliments the film noir story, and Walberg acts a believable Max Payne. The rare bullet time moments are, indeed, as stylish as they were in the games.
Video games are typically ten to fifty hour interactive experiences where one is a player, and movies are one to two hour passive experiences where one is a viewer. One has to wonder if game to film endeavours are intrinsically cursed due this involvement difference between the two mediums of entertainment.

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 8:37 pm  Comments (1)  

Chocolate Underground after episode 13 – Final Thoughts

Just looking at this gives me heartburn. This is where people are brainwashed to dislike chocolate.
'You're all under arrest!  For...studying?' Frankie really needed to be punched in the face.

After reading the synopsis and/or watched the first episode, one may get the impression this was a parody of Nineteen Eighty-Four or a similar story, or it was a satire about oppressive and controlling governments. Chocolate Underground could have been parody if it was funny, but it was not. Chocolate Underground could have been a satire had it been keen, but it was not. There are things did not quite make sense in the show, such as government solders thinking that school kids blocking their way are actually a barrier to them. Or why there are robots that can identify chocolate with great accuracy, and yet their programming does not allow them to avoid large buildings. It only highlights that this show was too fluffy and lacking in sophistication to have been able to deal with serious Orwellian themes in a comedic or insightful way.
It is not that I was bothered by the short episodes, but why was not the show released as movie? Each episode averaged around five minutes and had all the episodes been strung together, it would have made for an hour and five minute movie.
Chocolate Underground was an experience that was lacking in nutrition and delivered in bite sized pieces, kind of like chocolate itself.

Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shikabane Hime: Aka after episode 01 – First Impressions

Stealing food during grace?  That's pretty low, especially for a priest. Ugh...more vampires.
This shot would've been cooler if the animation was more detailed. This monster was just a mess of crude and ugly shading...

I was sorely mislead by the pictures at the website of Shikabane Hime: Aka. The animation designs were much coarser than I thought they would be. In an action focused monster-of-the-week show such as Shikabane Hime: Aka, the animation details becomes a major factor in its ability to entertain, because well drawn and imaginative main characters and monsters palliate the often repetitive nature of such shows. The anime had neither in the first episode. The lack of sophistication and polish of Makina’s animation design fails to bring out her beauty. This is disappointing, as a female lead that is easy on the eyes goes a long way towards enticing male viewers (such as Rin in Mnemosyne). The monster in the first episode was an ever so common vampire, whose rendering was so crude that his skin was shaded with shifting thick black and grey lines. However, there are hints of substantial character background and development, which could somewhat offset the show’s lackluster animation.

Published in: on October 11, 2008 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment