Thursday, April 27, 2006

Anime and Summer Classes

Of course, most of this post would be about anime.

Anyway, summer classes have already started, and I'm at the least having a piqued interest in Math while having a desperate malaise for Filipino. Because I go to school and I study (an infinitesimal bit) I don't have much time for anime.

When I say 'not much time,' it still means a lot of time dedicated to anime, just not as much as I want to. After the depressing eighth episode of Ergo Proxy I have searched for other anime that may be in different genres but are as interesting or unique as Ergo Proxy once was.

I recently found these anime:

Ouran High School Host Club - I'll try my best to be coherent and cogent in describing my love for this anime (t3h pwnzZ! t3h ro00x00rzz! ZOMGZWTFBBQ!!!) ... sorry, I leaked. Anyway, this is an ingenious mix of comedy and romance like never before. It parodies other serious romance anime, but also has a significant romance story itself. Personally, after just being ten minutes into the first episode, I was laughing out loud at about late afternoon that my dorm mates have perhaps thought of me as depraved/insane/*insert derogatory remark here.*

The general plot is this: Fujioka Haruhi is a special girl for entering Ouran Academy because she is the only among the whole student population who qualified for the school not by being rich but by being intelligent and diligent. Because she lost her mother at an early age she doesn't really mind wearing men's clothes. Her sense of gender is indefinite because of this: she doesn't care if she gets treated like a girl or a guy.

Wearing perhaps her dad's old clothes, she tries seeking for a quiet room to study. (Even the library is noisy.) She stumbles across a music room where she senses silence inside. She then finds six handsome men who call themselves the Host Club. Because she was vexed by their presence and teasing, she accidentally broke an $80,000 vase for their auction.

And here, the story begins... trust me, it may not look good written, but it looks good watched.

Ayakashi ~ Final Arc - I've watched Ayakashi from the first episode, and got mildly interested to keep on watching it. As the series progressed, I got more and more interested, because although I am a guy, I'm just a sap for well-made romance stories (an example of which is Shingetsutan Tsukihime), and that was what the second arc of this series had: a well-made romance story.

I was expecting my excitement for the series to regress, however, the final arc made me love the whole series. Novel animation, a more novel story, and a wonderfully cool protagonist with a wonderfully cool voice, it made me love the mediocre OP because of its exact and almost perfect animation. My jaw dropped throughout the episode, and I was clapping like a five-year old schoolkid awarded with 'good stars.'

Black Lagoon - is an anime that may not perhaps par with the depth and scalpel-like incisiveness of the final arc of Ayakashi or the humor of Ouran, but makes up for it more than enough with its fast-paced action, almost negligible 'fanservice,' and a good start for a story (or a remnant of it). As I'm a guy, and I like people shooting at one another, this is a fresh anime that ranks well with me.

(And how COULD you resist a big-chested, magnificent gun-wielding fighter with a bad-ass tattoo who smiles whenever she kills people?)

I also watch Ah! My Goddess ~ Sorezore no Tsubasa, but I'm sure not a lot of you would like a love story between shy people. I myself have been a fan since its inception, and I wouldn't stop being one unless the story becomes unsatisfactory for me, which it hasn't been.

I watch Hiatari Ryoukou, an old-school anime with great characters and a great plot, but because it's old, has really bad drawings and animation. I still watch it whenever MJN subs a new episode, but I don't mind if I can't. (Besides, what CAN I do?)

I watched the first episode of Gallery Fake, but I now know why no one finished subbing the show.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Meditatio VIII - Shining Sign

It has been a long time since I've posted. I could explain the reason of the hiatus, but I'd rather not seeing that all over the Internet blogs on vacations have been published. I'd like to be unique: I'll be talking about shows I've been watching or have planned to watch. Right now, however, I'd like to chat about Ergo Proxy.

After Rozen Maiden ~ Traumend there have been only little anime worth watching. One of those few is Ergo Proxy. As you may have known, I am a fanboy of that series. In its later episodes, however, the quality of the story has been fluctuating, and it has been fluctuating a lot.

Cliches have been introduced; deep below the complexities of the etymological archetypes of the characters and a thrilling plot lie some hard to swallow banalities. Among these banalities is the lack of any deeper meaning to the story. These may appear later, but the plot has been weaker than the established Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

For now, it has become a mystery anime; however, I personally like the subtleties and nuances in the series that make the seemingly nondescript backgrounds and seemingly non-living objects proffer important hints and clues to the characters in the anime, and to some extent their motivations as well.

But right now, to be honest, I am not watching Ergo Proxy for the sake of its incisive story. I am watching it because I am expecting a robotic/android Lir to appear in the next episode. I also am expecting, with all my fanboy heart, that beneath all this pastiche of events and relationships among people, Lir and Vincent will get to love one another.

(I've got terribly sappy over the years of watching anime. )

Anyway, I hope it will be a modification of the beautiful Tsukihime plot: maybe now, it will be a love story with science fiction elements. The beautiful first episode of this series, once full of tension, danger, and conflict, has cooled to the point of mediocrity. The intensity is no longer as strong as the first episode, but I still expect a good anime to be pulled off despite the glaring cliches.

One of these cliches seems to be a Pokemon-like (credits for the thought go to wao) invocation of the proxies as is made seemingly and glaringly obvious in its eighth episode.

It's somewhat like Vincent or Lir crying out: 'Proxyball! I choose you, Monad! (or Ergo)'

It somehow downgrades the value of watching the anime, but don't get me wrong: this anime stands as among the best (so far) in the class of 2006. I just hope they can continue with coherence and cogency towards the end (which I hope would have something to do with Lir and Vincent ending up together.)

(Yeah, I know I'm boring in that I don't have screencaps. But I didn't aim for ostentation, however: I aimed to fuel a discussion.)

Any thoughts?