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Been neglecting anime lately in favor of games, but I've still been watching a few... OK I lie, I've been watching a lot. >_>
A disappointment after the awesome first season, both content- and animation-wise. The animation change was due to the anime changing companies, which led to changes in the way hair and faces were drawn (though they managed to preserve the characteristic chestnut mouth shape). It was sort of jarring at first but I eventually got used to it. However, there was still the fact that although Okawari preserved the Minami-ke charm, it lost quite a bit of Minami-ke humor and I found myself going through entire episodes while hardly cracking a smile. Maybe it was also partly due to the fact that Okawari tackled more sober plotlines rather than the idiocy of the first season. On the upside, the voices were still good and the characters were their hilarious selves, and I was glad to see pretty much all of them returning with this season.
The animation and directing was pretty awesome, but the story was slightly confusing. Still, I enjoyed it quite a lot and ended up watching all 9 episodes at once despite the fact that I should have gone to bed instead. Voice acting was very good, with natural English that fitted the characters well. Overall I liked it even with its intentional vagueness and ambiguity.
This was another of those animes that people used to rave about and that I thought that I should watch but ended up never getting around to until now. I can now see why people liked it so much. The animation is really nice, with simple coloring in the closeups and very detailed animation in the space scenes, and of course the voices and songs are pretty amazing as well - I've almost never downloaded so many songs from an anime before. The character development was also fun to watch, because in the end they all grew up in their own ways. I used to despise Ranka's 'oh Alto come save me' syndrome but she was tolerable by the end, and Sheryl was a bit of a bitch in the beginning too but I soon grew to really like her. However, probably the one major flaw of the series was the ending, which felt rushed to me. They never explained what exactly the Vajra were, and suddenly after 20+ eps of fighting against each other the humans suddenly became all buddy-buddy with them and it was all flowers and rainbows at the end. Aside from that Macross Frontier was an enjoyable watch, one worth marathoning if you have the time. (And not to mention it provided me with my first new het OTP in a long while, i.e. Alto/Sheryl. I even read some fanfiction about them. That just goes to show how dedicated I am.)
Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen:
Just a quick OVA that I downloaded to watch in between longer series. I think I only ended up watching half of the OVA (2 episodes) and gleaned the plot of the rest from a friend, but I don't feel the urge to watch more. Very nice animation, with a dark, sombre palette; good music that suited the atmosphere; decent voice acting (I guess Kenshin hasn't hit puberty yet); excellent sword fights that showed just how awesome Kenshin was; and finally, some great directing that really helped move the story along. Unfortunately I didn't really care about the characters so that was the downfall for me, but judging by the OVA's rank on AP, it seems many others disagree. Definitely worth a watch if only to appreciate the quality of the story, relationships and animation.
Fuyu no Semi:
Another OVA that I watched to tick it off my massive want to watch list (which is constantly growing). I remember first seeing a bit of Haru wo Daiteita back when I was just getting into yaoi, but it was so explicit to my innocent self that I quickly stopped watching. Fuyu no Semi, or Winter Cicada, features the same characters from HwD - in fact I think that it's actually supposed to be a drama that the HwD characters acted in, which got made into a separate OVA. I really enjoyed this one, although as with a lot of yaoi these days I found the romance slightly amusing, but at least it was believable. The animation was really good, and they used a historical backplot to fuel the blossoming romance between the two leads. Voice acting and sound was pretty good, nothing that I can really comment on though. The best part, however, would probably have to be the tearjerking ending. I'll admit it, I shed a few tears.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind:
Despite having watched so much anime, I'll admit that I haven't watched a lot of the classics. I though I should probably catch up on some Ghibli films, and Nausicaa was a good place as any to start. Now, after watching it, I'm not surprised people rave about it so much. The story is really good although it was executed in a rather slow manner, and despite all the action scenes the whole movie had a fairly peaceful atmosphere to it. Nausicaa is your typical perfect princess but was still likeable nevertheless, especially with the way she empathizes with the insects and really gets the viewer to empathize with them too. I was surprised to find that the English dub had a few big names in the cast, namely Uma Thurman and Shia Labeouf, and what little I heard of the dub was a little flat (it lacked the highs and lows of the Japanese voices) but not too bad overall. The animation was charming as with all Ghibli films, and still holds up quite well despite being over 25 years old. Definitely a movie worth a watch.
It's been a long time since I gave an anime a 5/5, so I was very pleased when I got through about half of the series and decided that was what it deserved. I loved the episodic nature which is well explained by Ginko's travelling and his tendency to attract Mushi, thus preventing him from staying in one place too long. The stories were also almost always fairly deep and meaningful, and didn't always end happily. Art was very good, with a muted palette that contributed greatly to the atmosphere. The sound, too, always made me feel relaxed when watching. Verdict: Everyone should watch this at least once.
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