|07-28-2009, 11:47 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Oh! Edo Rocket
Oh! Edo Rocket
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This is my first time trying to review anything, and this site has essentially nothing about Oh! Edo Rocket anywhere, so I might as well start there.
The overall premise (Seikichi tries to build fireworks that can reach the moon! Also there are space monsters!) sounds childish and unworthy, and the first two episodes do nothing to alleviate these suspicions. Fortunately, these prove to be non-indicative of the quality of the rest of the series. The plot eventually evolves into a much more complex and compelling tale of impoverished townsfolk struggling against an oppressive and manipulative government and a sci-fi caliber skirmish between aliens. Topping all that off is a healthy dose of unconventional romance and comedy, which includes frequent demolitions of the fourth and fifth walls and plenty of anachronisms (apparently the internet and maid cafes were around longer than I suspected).
A few of the odder mini-arcs arenít set up properly, which makes their beginnings rather confusing (without being too spoiler-y: the cat episode). Everything falls into place by the end, but itíd be nice if they were structured properly. On top of that, these episodes, while providing excellent character development and humor, arenít entirely necessary to the over-arching plot. They feel like they were just added in to make the story more complicated, which is far from ideal.
Sometimes, the plot feels really stupid. Luckily, Oh! Edo Rocket climaxes early, finishing off one of the main story threads. This frees up the last handful of episodes to do what the series does best- showcase the cast interacting, and the ensuing comedy. The flashes of comedy present in earlier episodes are multiplied and condensed in the concluding segments, culminating in quite possible the most hilarious antics Iíve ever seen in an anime.
The backgrounds are done in a gorgeous Japanese brush art style, which I wish more anime would utilize. It really emphasizes the (pseudo) historical setting, and makes it more believable.
Each character has a distinctive, colorful, cartoonish design. Seikichi, however, boasts a truly unfortunate character design. He is supposed to be 18 or so, but he looked like a 12 year old! While it makes sense for minor characters to look ridiculous in order to make them more memorable, the main character shouldnít be saddled with that.
Akaiís kimono (and a couple other garments) did that thing where the pattern stays the same regardless of how the cloth is moved. This is one of my favorite techniques EVER, as I like to pretend that instead of an outfit, Akai is wearing a kimono-shaped wormhole to an alternate dimension comprised entirely of houndstooth.
Oh! Edo Rocket features a jazzy score, which manages to simultaneously fit perfectly with the mood of the anime and clash uncomfortably with the setting. The quality of the inserts songs is great, but the quantity lacked noticeably. The same songs keep popping up time and time again.
The OP and EDs are nothing special- forgettable super pop-y tunes complete with gratuitous English, but I did catch myself humming it once, so it does its job.
The voice acting is great. All the voices are distinct and match the characterís personality well. Most of the ďbig nameĒ seiyu were in the supporting cast, including Rie Kugimiya, Romi Paku, and Norio Wakamoto (I love his voice SO HARD).
This anime really shines with its characters, and I enjoyed the character-centric episodes a hell of a lot more than the plot-heavy ones.
Oh! Edo Rocket boasts a huge supporting cast, all with distinctive character designs and personalities. This really helps flesh out the world and fill it with energy. Unlike other series with lots of minor characters whose only real purpose is to just stand around and provide the occasional quip, this cast actively participates in the story, has ulterior motives, and manages to not be a bunch of one-sided caricatures. My only issue is that I could never manage to remember more than half of their names.
Everyone gets plenty of character development, which makes them feel real and extremely likeable. Even the antagonists ended up being likeableÖ somehow.
The non-action hero, Seikichi, stands apart from other main protagonists by never participating in any epic battles. He even manages to stay in the dark about the plot for a significant period of time. Even though he disappears into the background in a couple of episodes, allowing the other characters to shine, he remains firmly planted in main-character status.
Iím surprised that more people havenít watched this, as itís based off a play by Kazuki Nakashima (who also wrote the script from Gurren Lagann) and directed by Seiji Mizushima (of Fullmetal Alchemist fame). Iíd have thought more people would want to check out their latest works (and the abundance of FMA and TTGL references donít hurt).
A rudimentary understanding of the time period is recommended, as the anime (assuming its viewers are already well-versed in this subject) quickly glosses over a few history-based plot developments.
Oh! Edo Rocket is nothing extraordinary. Not everyone will like it, and it wonít become a ďclassicĒ or required viewing. But I really enjoyed watching it. I found it immensely entertaining, and enjoyable enough to ignore its obvious flaws.
"The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit." - William Somerset Maugham
Last edited by AirCommodore; 09-11-2009 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Added header.