This will be a review, of sorts, of my first anime/manga figure that is not a trading figure (Ganshapon). This will also be my first Nendoroid figure review, naturally. Yoko Littner(or “Rittona”) from Gurren Lagann, which I covered here last post.
Shonen series are series aimed at boys, many of them are combat/adventure heavy, series such as Bleach and Naruto. The protagonists are usually teens, who overcome their enemies, and like in Poke’Mon‘s 5th episode (I have one heck of a memory, I know), the protagonist often loses, and then through sheer guts and determination (bloody-cussedness) trains or just comes back and wins.
In Naruto Shippuuden, there’s a bit of a ridiculous moment where Team Guy faces their clones, they get kicked, and then win just because they decide to be stronger than they were yesterday… rather than just switch who they’re fighting or try new techniques. It was a serious “WTF?!” moment to me.
In Gurren Lagann, there are actually three phases to the series. It begins with the Kamina and Simon’s home community underground, and then quickly goes on war. They wage a war on the beast-men and their mecha who keep them down (both underground and stopping them from reproducing). They fight and fight and fight, and after episode 8 there’s a slight change in the atmosphere, though the fights continue.
Then in the second half of the series, which many people like less, what was revealed in part at the end of the first half is explored. We find out that beings which can reproduce have something called “Spiral Energy”, and the reason Simon wins is because he wants to win strongly enough, and using his inherent spiral energy, well, he wins.
So the second half of the series is in the future, several years after the first half ends, with our characters leading either quiet lives or leading the new and freed humanity, political machinations, and then they go into space to fight the “Anti-Spirals”. Right now it becomes much more about how the “Will to win” translates into “Winning”. And this to me makes Gurren Lagann not only a series, but commentary on the shonen genre; the “I win because I want it more than you” is given context and reasoning inside the series, and while many think it is flimsy, it is better than it happening without context. In a way, this is a context to all those series.
I loved the series, and would give it 4.5 stars out of 5. I was really surprised at some point, the one where the series switches tone in its first half. I was like, “No way!”, and it was emotional and good.
First “Things I Like” post, a bit late, but it’s going up. And in case it’s not obvious, all such posts may have some spoilers.
I’ve watched the anime of Tenjou Tenge a couple years back, and am actually a bit surprised seeing it’s from 2004 and some comments, since I remember the art as being generally sub-par to what I consider the modern standard. Enough that I’m going to grab some episodes and re-watch them to see what’s up.
Anyway. I began watching the anime, saw cool cool fights, cool characters, and all was well and good. We then got to a flashback sequence, which lasts 6 episodes. I was all up for it in the beginning, but at some point I was going, “Hey, this is a limited run series, what’s up?”
We then get 3.5 more episodes in the present time, before we get another flashback sequence, from episodes 19 to 23, out of 24 episodes. At this point, I remember going, “What the fuck? When will I watch the series?” but after a couple of episodes I dawned of me, but it’s something that’s disturbing if you don’t realize it, and disturbing that (when?) you don’t know it going in:
The background story is the real story. What happens now is cool, but what happened before is cooler. You care more about that by the end, it’s amazing, it’s awesome, and it’s sort of like a bait-and-switch. After I realized that, I stopped waiting for the flashback sequence to end, because I’ve realized that was the main story.
Then the anime ends on a cliffhanger. Not surprising, considering it’s an adaptation of a still-running manga, and I now found out there’s been an OVA which I’ll have to track down. So the anime ends on a cliffhanger, after you finally know what happened in the past to set it all up, but not what’s going to happen. In a sense, the anime ends before the present day story can really start (ok, it did start, and made some progress, but now we were getting to the exciting stuff!), so it leaves you open-mouthed when that happens. You do get a full story though through the flashbacks, and a desire to know what happens next, perhaps it’ll be worth it to get the manga?
UPDATE: Viewing it again to check the art quality. Ok, I watched it before on extremely low quality, which made the drawings look ugly, both style and technique. I now compared it to high quality, and there I still hate the artistic style, how most characters/faces are drawn, but it’s very well-made on the technical level.
Hm, an 8 on a story within a story, but only 6.5 overall?
I’ll begin cross-posting posts, see the “About” page, when it goes up after this.
So, this month’s “Blog every day” theme is to post about things you like. I’m going to do something different, and every couple of days, for as long as I feel like it, post about something I like. Many, especially initially, will be opinions on anime I’ve watched. There’ll be movies, books, games, serieses, you know it goes, right? I will try not to go into in-depth reviews/discussions, but I might. I am unlikely to cover what the series is about, cause that’ll be provided by a link to IMDB/Wikipedia/Amazon, etc. and rather share my observations and thoughts. Some posts might just be two lines, who knows? And I’m doing better, thanks for asking! Note, cross-posting from elsewhere, but it will allow me to at least link people here.
Words like “Atmosphere” are usually reserved more for our other senses: Movies, theatre, music. Yet, look at Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, where if you come reading the book solely for the story, you may very well leave satisfied, but you will also have to come equipped with considerable patience, whereas those who come for the atmosphere will be sated throughout the whole lengthy book (1,024 pages).
Whether the book gives the atmosphere prevalent in the period it occurs (early 19th century) I do not know, but it is saturated with atmosphere. The language and spelling used also calls back to that used in England a couple hundred years ago, as reading Hume‘s “A Treatise of Human Nature” would shew you.
Furthermore, the book makes extensive use of footnotes, by the author of the text (whoever that is), in which we both learn (fictional) historical details, mainly of magic, and old fables from the world Clarke had crafted. These footnotes sometimes go on for several pages, but the content they add is both charming and gives off the sense that this is a semi-academic write-up on the topic, which considering Mr Norrell’s nature, is not entirely misplaced.
I’ve recently re-read the book, which indeed was somewhat of an undertaking, and surprisingly, it wasn’t as slow as I have remembered, but it was still somewhat slow. Considering the length of the book, if you look at a certain percentage of a book as exposition, then this book’s may be longer than most people would accept. You see, while what is happening in the beginning of the book is definitely interesting, it is also quite slow.
The first section begins with a quote from later in the book, regarding Mr Norrell, who is the main character in the first section, which goes, “He hardly ever spoke of magic, and when he did it was like a history lesson and no one could bear to listen to him.” Now, to be frank, Mr Norrell is an unsympathetic little git whom none of you would like. He is tedious and petty, but at least in that section much of the emphasis is placed upon the social circles of London at the time.
Once we reach Jonathan Strange, the story picks up considerably, being more interesting, being more action-packed, with conflicts between people and nations, and magical mischief taking place. Though the book does sag again slightly for a while towards the end, but it contains depths upon which to feast yourself, and the pace may be intentionally slow.
Now, if you read for the story, which you look at as what “happens” in the book, then it may take a while for it to get going, but if you are willing to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere, the panorama laid out before you, then you’re in for a treat, at least, if you like that sort of atmosphere. It’s a seven-course meal, and stamina is necessary. The story is not bad, but it’s not the book’s strongest suit, which is the feel it invokes.
Now, for a slight comparison, look at movies, which we often go to not for the message they carry, or the story they tell (which is what I accused Watchmen of lacking), but for the emotional response they raise within us. Sometimes they do it with cheap tricks we can see, and sometimes we are affected nevertheless. Eastwood’s Gran Torino is an example for a movie that I liked, regardless of any message it may tried to pass. It hit you, and that was enough. That it was well crafted was a bonus.
Scores? Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell wins 5 barometers, and 3-3.5 on the story front, and Gran Torino lays out 4 punches to the gut.
This will have spoilers. Be ready.
I’ll begin by saying that this is not me talking about my hopes for the movie, I watched the movie. The widely to be released version, dunno about the “Director’s Cut” version.
The short versions is: Unimpressed. Some people who left the screening (we were all comic book readers) said it was “Shit”, and some said they had a lot of fun, but the number of nay-sayers was rather large; I usually notice that people say it’s good or don’t form an opinion after watching a much awaited film, and the negativity mostly comes after 2-3 days, when they think about it, and realize what they’ve seen. I may be off base here, but there it is.
I assume most of you have read the comic book, but for those of you who haven’t, my description of the movie will be lacking, but I will pre-empt those who talk about “Reviewing the movie, and not the comic book” that I actually think it did better as an adaptation than as a movie in its own right.
Many of the points will seem small on their own, but they add up to the movie having neither a real soul nor its own cohesive identity. Aside from the thoughts on the aesthetics, which are small and petty.