Damn. I finally had a chance to start watching the 2006 anime Red Garden. Fantastic. A Japanese series set in an American city — New York City. A black mystery surrounding a high-school girl’s death. A surprising yet touching use of tragic song. With an intense style conjuring the look and feel of BOTH Ergo Proxy (5 of 5 stars) and NANA (5 of 5 stars). I’ve only caught the first few episodes so far, but with a total of 22 installments, this has every potential to earn my 5 of 5 stars!
In 2006, I watched 58 anime series in 8 eight months, or 7+ series per month! Sadly, in 2007, I’m off to a pathetically slow start: Just 11 anime series in 4+ months. The reason for this: Amazing live-action series like the new Battlestar Galactica – Season 3, new Smallville – Season 6 and rewatching the older Star Trek Voyager – Season 4 (1997) which introduces “Seven of Nine” (Jeri Ryan) for the first time. And now, my best bud Vanessa convinced me to start watching her Alias (2001; Jennifer Garner) in exchange for her watching my Dark Angel (2000; Jessica Alba), lol.
So now, in an attempt to catch up with my anime, it’s time to give my long-delayed reviews of the 11 series I’ve seen so far this year, ranging from the super-cute 1992 series Sailor Moon to the ultra-violent 2006 series Black Lagoon – The Second Barrage … I hope you enjoy the ride!
Rozen Maiden | Image from Google Search
My speed review: “WOW! Still a miniature yet captivating package!”
Ah, my first anime review of 2007!… Late last night, finished the 12-episode Rozen Maiden – Traumend, continuing from where the first season left off… Once again, it introduces the junior high school boy Jun-kun, and his come-to-life mystical dolls, the red-adorned Shinku, pink-bowed Hina Ichigo, and twin red-and-green-eyed sisters Suiseiseki and Souseiseki… While the episodes are smilingly sprinkled with new and endearing slice-of-home-life slapstick antics, the deeper drama is taken to a new level when a new doll appears, a defeated nemesis returns, and the “Alice Game” pursuit-of-perfection begins… with both tragic and hopeful consequences… Once again, this title deserves my maximum “half season” rating… 4 of 5 stars!
my speed review: “DOUBLE WOW! Unexpectedly engaging and heartbreaking!”
yesterday, finished my LAST anime of the year “naruto” season 1 (of 9 so far!)… okay, now prior to starting this series, i’ve heard the mocking rants against it, and at first glance, i chuckled with the jokes… after all, naruto looked like just another loud-and-crazy teenaged boy on his quest to be the number one ninja, attracting anime fanboys and fangirls who seemed to be just as loud and crazy… but without having seen it, i figured why not, i’d see what everyone got so worked up about… and wow, was i surprised!!!… i admit, the first 5-10 minutes of each episode seems to be a repetitive rehash of the previous episode, but overlooking that, the eye-grabbing series is amazingly action-packed, cleverly choreographed, and unexpectedly tearful… revolving around the still loud-and-crazy yet complex Naruto, the quieter dark-haired ninja-genius Sasuke, and the book-smart pink-haired Sakura, these three rookie ninjas must learn to work as a team, endure unpredictably bloody missions, confront tragic deaths, and strive to advance to the next challenging level of their ongoing training, without tripping over each other… this is another comedic-yet-dramatic tale of friendship and personal dreams that’s worth checking out… 5 of 5 stars!
Azumanga Daioh | Image from Google Search
my speed review: “WOW! Crazy, cute, funny, but most of all, lovable!”
a couple of days ago, finally finished “azumanga daioh“!… a light-hearted yet heart-warming stroll with a half dozen girls as they follow their bumpy winding three-year path called yes, “high school”!… (the japanese school system is organized with three-year middle schools and three-year high schools)… from the 10-year-old pig-tailed genius Chiyo-chan to the slow-witted Osaka to the loud-mouthed Tomo-chan to the quiet star-athlete Sakaki-san, these central and wild array of supporting characters and animals are a laughing treat to watch as they talk about breast size, creepy teachers, summer vacations, looming exams, and the crazily logic-defyingly random schoolgirl thoughts that fly through their heads… while there was no level of tragedy to highlight the depth of their friendships, the series leaves one with a wide smile and a bright hope for their ongoing stroll through life… 4 of 5 stars!
Eureka Seven | Image from Google Search
my speed review: “DOUBLE WOW! Amazing epic action and complex emotion!”
lol, merry christmas again!… late last night, very early morning, finally finished the 50-episode epic drama “eureka seven“… for those who have already seen the classic “neon genesis evangelion” or melodic “rahxephon” giant-mecha series, the comparisons with “eureka seven” are many, but it also quite clearly stands on its own… boasting a hipper, trendier, flashier and more rebellious-youth-type identity, the enormous story paints both bright sunlit splashes and dark blood-streaked shadows… the more-than-a-dozen unique supporting characters create a wonderfully complex tapestry of pasts, pains, hopes, and dreams, while the young central protagonists Renton and Eureka figure out a way to find each other, find themselves, and find a common future… the animation is slick and sharp, the airboarding battles scenes are mesmerizing, the loss of memorable characters is tearfully tragic, and the soul-moving music climbs from sombre depths to dance-beating heights to awe-inspiring horizons… what started as a seemingly uncertain 3 or 4 stars developed into a resounding 5 of 5 stars!!! simply fantastic!
Tsukuyomi Moon Phase | Image from Google Search
my speed review: “DOUBLE WOW! Both cat-eared cuteness and gothic drama!”
merry christmas!… last night, finished “tsukuyomi moon phase“… an amazingly fascinating tale revolving around a castle-bound blood-seeking girl name Hazuki and a young photographer named Kouhei… it was so intriguing to see how the cat-eared slapstick comedy intertwined with the enigmatically vampiric drama!… while the supporting characters are lovable, it is the unique interchange between the two central protagonists Hazuki and Kouhei, sometimes humorous, sometimes painful, and sometimes romantic, which sparks the story and sucks you into their world… but what sold me from the start, was the gothic atmosphere, the stylish visual composition (such as the hand-held-camera shake effect), and the dynamic range of music, all reminiscent of the eerie “Le Portrait de Petit Cossette”… plus a touch of that bonding comedy and smiling cuteness lacking in “Petit Cossette”… in a nutshell, 5 of 5 stars!
Saikano | Image from Google Search
yup, 55 in 2006!… from may-thru-december 2006, i’ve seen and rated 55 anime in 2006 so far (and may finish a couple more, lol)… after having seen others posting their “top tens” of the year, i figured why not?… for me, the most-important 5-star criteria is emotional power (can it move me to tears?), followed next by story complexity and character depth, then style, humor, music, uniqueness, and so on (not in any particular order)… also note that i only give a 4-star maximum to “half seasons”… SO, with that, here are my top 34 contenders for both “full seasons” (20-30+ episodes) and “half seasons” (10-15 episodes)… and across five self-defined categories (subject to change, lol)… impossible to choose winners!!!
Yukikaze | Image from Google Search
“Lonely lack of humor. But amazing aerial effects!”
once again, finished another series… above is my speed-review for “yukikaze“… a very solemn 5-episode story centered on Lt. Rei Fukai, the quiet pilot of the highly-advanced artificially-intelligent jet-fighter “yukikaze” (“snow wind” in japanese), set amidst an interplanetary war with an alien species… while the lonely central characters and noticeable lack of humor fails to give the drama that extra depth, the CGI dogfight sequences and aerial views are breathtaking… 3 of 5 stars.
Air Gear | Image from Google Search
“DOUBLE WOW! Addictive air battles! Skywardly inspiring!”
yup, as written in my Anime Viewing List, that’s my speed-review for “air gear“… just finished another teenage story of an unknown underdog who transforms, one battle after another, into a battered but determined champion… however, in this case, the story follows 15-year-old Ikki, not with martial arts or swords or giant mecha, but with high-tech Air Trecks (ATs), or highly-advanced air-borne versions of in-line skates… skillfully, the various metaphors of flying towards the sky and growing wings, with the powerful accompaniment of both street-style and orchestral music, creates an uniquely inspiring world… despite the wildly drawn scenes of humor (which would typically lower a series to 4 stars), there are several breathtaking flashbacks and moments of personal realizations which are deeply moving, sometimes almost to tears… and the ending… was simply… spectacular… 5 of 5 stars!
Kare Kano | Image from Google Search
ah, just finished another slice-of-life high-school dramedy… the profoundly insightful and timeless 1998-1999 series “kare kano” a.k.a. “his and her circumstances“… and widely regarded as one of the most-beloved love stories in anime history… revolving around a teenage girl named Yukino and teenage boy named Arima who both wear “model student” masks to hide their darker inner selves… but as a result of an accidental encounter, they realize in hesitation and shock that they can finally let go of their facades… while the second half of the series kind of lost momentum, the emotional depth and power of the first half more than makes up for it… as well as the fitting use of piano and stringed music… 5 of 5 stars!
Grenadier | Image from Google Search
just a little anime update… a couple days ago, friday, finished the 12-episode action-comedy “grenadier“… centered on a blond-haired full-figured sharp-shooting wanderer of the wild-western retro-futuristic japanese empire… not bad (3 of 5 stars), but a nice heart-warming conclusion… meanwhile, i’m keeping active with “air gear” (almost done, 20 of 25), “kare kano” (almost done, 23 of 26), and “naruto” (just started, up to 9)… also just started “nanaka 6/17” (2 of 12), a cute yet touching series about a bright but cold girl who loses her 17-year-old memories and reverts to her former bubbly 6-year-old self!… hence the title!… what will those anime/manga creators think of next? lol ^_^
Figure 17 ~ Tsubasa & Hikaru | Image from Google Search
on late-thursday, very-early-friday, finished the rarely-known yet unexpectedly powerful and heartfelt slice-of-life drama “figure 17” (5 stars), in which a shy 10-year-old girl moves from the city to the country with her widowed dad, grows accustomed to her new life and new school, and one night, something falls from the sky which thrusts her into a secret high-tech life of fighting and killing deadly creatures… all while living the country life of a 10-year-old schoolgirl, with both uplifting daydreams and tearful tragedies, as best as she can with her newly-created “twin sister”… in fact, this series affected me so much that my depression returned temporarily since that day… my chat with anna helped me to smile… on saturday, also finished the hilarious high-school-meets-yakuza comedy “gokusen” (4 stars)… in addition to these, i’ve been actively watching “air gear” (13 of 25 so far; 4 stars), “eureka seven” (36 of 50 so far; 5 stars), and “kare kano (his and her circumstances)” (20 of 26 so far; 5 stars)… TONS of emotions in these… or rather, perhaps my situation has made me more sensitive to feeling these emotions…
oh yeah, on friday, received my “lara croft in wet suit” figure (from my post 424)… NICE! ;)))
Saikano | Image from Google Search
damn, finished both “battlestar galactica” s1 dvd1 and “saikano” final dvd… wow, amazing end-of-the-world-type dramas!… both FIVE STARS! :)))