Nendoroid Review: Yoko Littner/Rittona

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.

Yokos box

Yoko's box

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Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann; Definitive Shonen

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann animeSpoilers ahead.

Gurren Lagann, which is actually called “Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann”, is an embodiment of the shonen genre, in anime form.

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.

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Tenjho Tenge Review

Tenjou Tenge animeFirst “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?”

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Things I Like

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.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell; Reading for Something Other than Story?

Supposedly, we read novels for the stories they contain. We read for the fiction, we read for the characters, we read for what happens, and we hope it will not only move us, but will interest us.

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.

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Watchmen Review

Watchmen Movie PosterThis 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.

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