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That's basically how it could be summed up. It's pandering wrapped up in a 'dark and edgy' cover to avoid people instantly labelling it as said pandering.
Sailor Moon Crystal is going to be big because i'll finally have a current anime I am actively invested in (as in, I'm eagerly anticipating the release of each new episode.) I do have to say, I have a few qualms with the art style (mostly the long limbs), but I'm hoping for the best, and I can deal with a slightly iffy anatomy if the story is well-done and the rest of the animation is good. Also 2014 has been an excellent year for magical girls since Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon are both getting shiny new releases and I AM SO EXCITED. Especially with Sailor Moon's new dub. I hope it's great (though I'll stick with the Japanese, I always wanted an English dub that didn't suck because I always dreamed of showing one of my childhood favorites to future nieces/daughters.) And it would be awesome if Toonami aired Sailor Moon's new dub! And of course Free!, I forgot about that...July is going to be good.
Of course we should talk on tumblr! I am always up for geeking out. Also, your brother is a good sibling, be proud of him. Utena exposure is always a good thing.
Oh man...Elfen Lied. Well, on the positive side, the animation was pretty decent and the opening song was beautiful (I liked it so much I downloaded it to my iPod.) I mean, it did end up getting spammed a lot during the series, since it seemed like that was the ONLY song they ever played, but hey, I can't blame them for it when the song was so good. Honestly it's like the song flew in from another, better series.
Onto everything else. For starters, from the fans of the series I've met, I feel like it's one of those series everyone likes because a) it's really violent and people think that's 'mature' or b) they find it really emotional and moving. Which is interesting, because Elfen Lied, IMO, had little maturity in its storytelling or themes, and I didn't find it emotionally engaging either (honestly, I didn't even feel like it wanted me to even feel bad for these characters, aside from a few scenes with Lucy or that one girl at the end.) The biggest flaw, to me, was the characters. HOLY GOD. The characters were so bland. Even my 'favorites' (I use the term loosely), Nana and Kurama, were soooooo underused and underdeveloped (I just found them more interesting and in Nana's case more sympathetic than the rest of the cast.) Lucy, in particular, I was severely disappointed in. Her popularity led me to believe she would be really interesting, but she has that standard 'tragic backstory please forgive her for doing terrible, terrible things', which I don't buy into, and aside from that her only personality was Nyu, who annoyed the hell out of me. Added to that, her switching between personalities was never even EXPLAINED, it just happened whenever the plot needed it. The whole characterization was just lazy.
And then, maybe the manga goes further, but there was barely a plot and next to no worldbuilding. What are the Diclonius anyways? How did they develop? They hint at this but never bother to inform the audience. And WHY IN THE WORLD are they being locked up in a government research facility when it's KNOWN that they are brutal killers? I know it was shown that the one guy (I forgot everyone's names, the old man who seemed to control everyone else) and his son were male Diclonius (who were convienently not trapped, stripped naked, and brutalized in disturbingly sexual manners, who would've guessed) and they wanted to build a new race, but really? Why would all these other people go along with it? Added to that, the Diclonius girls would even kill them, so why would they even risk it? It was just poorly explained. Also, the juxtaposition of cutesy harem fanservice and ultra-mega-extreme violence was annoying. The violence didn't extremely bother me because it's used as a shock tactic, like slasher horror films, and honestly I found it cheap. Like I said before, though, the earlier episodes did have a kind of 'so-bad-it's-good' feel to them, because I was reasonably entertained by all the nonsense. And then it tried to get 'serious' and add 'depth' and blah.
Haha, sorry about the wall of text, and I think I kind of just repeated things you already mentioned in the review, but that's my thoughts on Elfen Lied. I have no idea why it's considered 'classic'.
Congratulations! It's such a relief to finish end-of-the-year testing. I'll definitely be looking forward to your reviews! I just finished Elfen Lied and went to re-read your review now having seen it and I agree wholeheartedly with literally everything you said (I rated it slightly higher for myself only because it did provide me a sort of so-bad-its-good entertainment value at first.) I'm really interested in a Kill la Kill review as I haven't gotten back to watching it yet. And you should do the Ghibli couples, that would be great! Ghibli movies have adorable couples in them.
I'm sure it won't be too bad for Nagisa, and I swear Rei/Nagisa better be canon in season 2 or I am rioting. They are too cute together. Have you seen the new boy that is being added to the cast? He was big on tumblr once he was announced but I don't know much about him. Gou and swim captain deserve a date, they are pretty adorable together. I really can't wait for the summer season (mostly for Free's second season as well as the Sailor Moon reboot, I am still reeling from all the glorious Sailor Moon-related news over the past few weeks.)
I've heard the dub is a lot better in the movie, maybe they got better directors and scriptwriters? I still won't bother to watch the dub (maybe out of curiosity I might try the movie's dub one day), because I like the sub and I typically don't like to switch once I've found the audio I prefer.
My finals were over a week ago so I'm pretty much done until September, but I'm hopefully getting a job this summer so I won't just be laying around the house doing nothing (i.e. watching anime and playing video games.) Good luck on yours, though! I might be watching Kill La Kill with my boyfriend, since he's a few hours away since school ended we've been watching stuff while skyping each other and we're almost done with FMA, which was my choice. I did tell him though that if the fanservice got too distracting for me I was going to drop it again and he could continue on his own (and he could pick something different for us to watch.) Once you finish it though I would like to read a review if you plan to write one!
The FMA video games make no sense. NONE. I can't even understand what's going on in some of them. And the FIGHTING GAME. It's like the developers didn't know whether to go serious (Roy, Riza, and Izumi have legitimate attacks) or completely weird (HUGHES AND WINRY'S ATTACKS.) Every time I see that gif set of Roy in that Hawaiian shirt I just begin laughing hysterically all over again. I don't even need context anymore, no explanation can accurately justify that to me anymore.
I am totally watching Free season 2, and I heard they are introducing one of Rin's childhood friends? Competition for Rin/Haru and Rin/Makoto! I personally am with you and would rather see more Rei/Nagisa and Gou/swim captain (whose name escapes me.) Plus more Free = more 50% Off! I just wish they would update more frequently.
The car scenes are just...wow. AKIO CAR. It's amazing how much they got past the censors despite this airing at a time reserved for children in Japan (I'm not kidding, if the normally-reliable TV Tropes can be trusted.) I call the 'suggest everything to avoid censors but make everything worse' the DCAU approach, which has so much suggested violence and sex humor that it's almost ridiculous.
The dub had terrible direction, too. I wonder if you saw that post about how no one in charge of the dub got that Juri was a closeted lesbian until Crispin Freeman literally had to explain it to them. How could you miss that? Ya, translation is always tricky in dubs. It's kind of why I get annoyed when people see that a dub line and the subtitle don't match up exactly, they kind of can't. Lots of stuff goes into that which isn't necessary in creating subtitles.
I don't really find it demeaning, it's just that I think fans get a bit overzealous with defending it. Look, there's nothing wrong with liking an anime filled with fanservice, particularly one that has way more going for it than just the fanservice. I just think that the defense of it turned into 'IT ACTUALLY HAS A SERIOUS PURPOSE' and the whole dragging feminism in thing which it really didn't need to. Anyways I rethought the dropping of it because I saw a few cute screencaps and I decided I'll probably get back to it.
Ok please tell me you have seen the FMA video games on Tumblr. Oh dear god I think they are my new favorite things, not a single one looks like a real video game but yet here they are.