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valondar

  • Europe
  • Joined Sep 5, 2008
  • 29 / M

G-9

on Feb 3, 2009

Story
G-9's beginning is great - weird, arty, and immediately engaging. Memory loss, mystic origins, a slow-pace and a naked woman in an abandoned city - this promised an exceptional experience. Unfortunately, the rest of the short didn't quite deliver on that promise. First there's an extended and somewhat dull fight sequence followed by aimless milling with quasi-expository dialogue until the credits roll. The explanations wind up tying together a vaguely incoherent mess of sci-fi ideas that sort of fit, raising the issues of memory and identity but doing so... read more

6/10 story
6/10 animation
6/10 sound
5/10 characters
6/10 overall

Lensman

on Dec 6, 2008

Story
It's easy to see why fans of the classic series of novels - which essentially founded the genre of space opera - dislike this film. It takes the concept of the Lens, which sort of makes sense in the novels, arbitrarily breaks the rules as to how it works (and confesses to doing so); gives an offhand reference to the power being drawn from the 'Arisians' that is never really explained; and just uses it as a handy plot convenience for some 1980s lightshow that wraps everything up. The plot of this space epic is fairly episodic and fitfully interesting - our heroes fight Boskones, escape, arrive... read more

5/10 story
7/10 animation
5/10 sound
4/10 characters
5/10 overall

Space Runaway Ideon

on Dec 1, 2010

Story
Our protagonist Yuuki Cosmo is gazing out at a sunset framed by the Ideon and the Solo Ship, those seemingly invincible relics of the deceased Sixth Civilization. He wonders idly why people who created such incredible technology no longer exist. It's a little moment and one that caps off an episode of random robots punching each other, but it's questions like this which drive what basically works in this series. Even by the standards of mecha anime, the Ideon is a formidable robot. It is huge and has a seemingly limitless energy and capacity for destruction... but what makes the mecha cool as... read more

6/10 story
5/10 animation
5/10 sound
6/10 characters
6/10 overall

They Were Eleven

on Jan 21, 2009

Story
It's a time-honoured dramatic device to the point it's become clichéd: trap some strangers alone and see what happens. If they have reason to distrust someone - but they're not sure who - all the better. That they're students with their futures on the line is also good. Naturally, there's also some plot twists - and since it's set in space, some standard sci-fi complications. They Were Eleven takes all these ideas and executes them superbly: this simple fact is what makes it worth watching. It could succumb to mediocrity or melodrama like so many of... read more

8/10 story
6.5/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
7.8/10 overall

Mononoke

on May 6, 2009

Story
Episodes three through five, the Umibozu arc, may be one of the greatest things I have ever seen in anime. Alright, allow me to back up here: Mononoke is divided into a series of standalone arcs; each of these arcs involve the Medicine Seller solving the psychological problems and unearthing the dark, unpleasant secrets of the characters he comes across - which is to say he fights monsters with a magic sword. Nominally a horror title, Mononoke really is more a phantasmagorical mindfuck - it's mystical, supernatural, and just downright weird. Expect to be perplexed but never... read more

8.4/10 story
8.6/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
8.4/10 overall

Zipang

on Mar 12, 2009

Story
What if you were transported to a less than savoury period in history? Should you leave things just the way they were and try to get home or should you try to change things for the better? Not the most original idea - but further, what if you can't get back? If that's the case you're going to make an impact no matter what you do, and even then what if the 'right way' to change history is debateable at best? In a nutshell that's the idea behind Zipang. Well that and reams of fanservice. I of course refer the depictions of warships so lovingly exact that a military otaku would cream himself. For... read more

7.8/10 story
6.5/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
7.7/10 overall

Detroit Metal City

on Dec 10, 2008

Story
Never has so much promise come to so little. Alright, there probably are bigger misfires, but permit me my hyperbole. There's a really funny idea here - the sweet young Soichi Neghisi loves innocuous Swedish pop but, for the sake of getting a job in the music business, becomes Krauser II, the lead singer in a shockingly controversial death metal group known as Detroit Metal City, 'the DMC'. Sound funny? Sure. Would it sound funny if I said it again? Maybe a few more times? Because that's what watching this series is like. Even as short as it is, Detroit Metal City really has very little idea... read more

3.5/10 story
8/10 animation
5/10 sound
4/10 characters
4/10 overall

Hoshi no Orpheus

on Nov 26, 2008

Story
This is an animated adaptation of Ovid's Metamorphoses. It was three years in the making, without any dialogue, and intended to be a hit abroad as well as Japan. The film aimed to be nothing less than a second Fantasia. If you're wondering why you've never heard of this movie, it's because it isn't, politely speaking, any good. When initially screened, audiences complained that the story was hard to follow. Is that male they keep seeing one character or several? Is it one story or an anthology? Is there a plot at all? The film takes five different stories from Ovid, and though they attempt... read more

4/10 story
6.5/10 animation
5/10 sound
4/10 characters
4/10 overall

Akagi

on Feb 25, 2009

Story
In the dank, crime-ridden underbelly of postwar Japan there are all manner of sleazy hoods, desperate losers and brutal powerbrokers. Rising triumphant among them all is a man who becomes the birth of a legend, an amoral being who abuses his profound understanding of the human mind by manipulating his foes to their own destruction. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of mahjong. With mind games every bit as gripping as Death Note and an excessively sordid depiction of the yakuza, Akagi is sure to appeal to more than just gambling fans. However, a familiarity with mahjong is expected... read more

6.7/10 story
7.5/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
7/10 overall

Ghost in the Shell

on Jan 13, 2009

Story
It sometimes feels pretty lonely being a fan of Mamoru Oshii. He's squandered much of his goodwill on the fiasco Innocence (which I still liked but that's a whole 'nother story) and the rest of his cinematic canon is quite often dismissed, and not merely by action fans who dislike anything slow. He's accused of being pretentious for its own sake, following the forms of arthouse flicks merely at the surface without adding sufficient depth to create a good film. There's truth to both of these criticisms, particularly in his weaker works. Certainly Oshii is pretentious but heck... read more

8/10 story
8/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
6/10 characters
8/10 overall

Kanashimi no Belladonna

on Jan 10, 2009

Story
There are some anime so strange or screwed-up that somewhere along the line you wonder idly: what the hell am I watching? Way up there among the deranged, the sadistic, the disturbed, and that rather narrow field of animated erotic pictures that flourished in the flash of an instant in the nineteen-seventies, there is Kanashimi no Belladonna. I've seen quite a bit of weird anime - and a fair few of the stranger tripped out animated works from elsewhere in the world - but Belladonna is, well, unique. Never mind what where they smoking - did what they smoke even exist in an objective reality?... read more

5/10 story
8/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
5/10 characters
6.8/10 overall

Old Crocodile

on Jan 30, 2009

Story
Koji Yamamura's shorts are almost invariably masterstrokes, beautifully animated and darkly odd in a grainy, rather European sort of way. He's adapted or referenced some well known authors - but Old Crocodile, one of his most involving works, is based on an obscure French source and modelled on a certain kind of children's cartoon. Maybe you grew up watching those British cartoons with a crisp, knowledgeable chap narrating all the events. Alright, perhaps Americans and others have no idea what I'm talking about, but Old Crocodile seems to be modelled on those pleasant, simple parables about... read more

8/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Guren-Hen

on May 5, 2009

Story
How do you review a movie that's mostly stock footage? Guren-Hen is predominantly material ripped right from the TV series without so much as an airbrush, and while there are a couple of changes there's absolutely nothing major plotwise. If you expected a complete visual overhaul for the screen and full-blown remake with numerous plot tweaks like the new Evangelion films, well, that's not what Guren-Hen is. As such, it's a lot easier to compare it to something like Death Note: The Visualizing God; which is basically just the TV series with a slightly different beginning sequence and a... read more

6/10 story
7.5/10 animation
7/10 sound
7/10 characters
6.5/10 overall

Shigurui

on Apr 2, 2009

Story
In the Japanese New Wave, films such as Hara Kiri and Samurai Rebellion depicted bushido as a baseless sham and the feudal system as corrupt, cruel, decadent, and crushing people underfoot. They exposed all the supposed nobilities of the era for base lies covering even baser men. I sound terribly pretentious, don't I? Good - because so is Shigurui. This anime takes the same blatantly pessimistic view of feudal Japan and adds in the process excessive amounts of highly disturbing violence. Allow me to stress that: Highly disturbing. Shigurui is chock-full of savagely graphic acts right from the... read more

7.3/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
6/10 characters
7.5/10 overall

Dai Mahou Touge

on Dec 18, 2008

Story
It's difficult to talk about this anime at all without mentioning its far more successful sister program, Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan. That anime is a rather witless escapade, repeating the clichés of the ecchi sudden girlfriend genre without satirising them - its sole funny conceit merely being that the abusive side of this cliché is carried to its natural extreme. As geysers of blood are basically the only joke it has, Dokuro-chan is a classic example of diminishing returns. It is therefore astonishing that the less popular version does everything right that Dokuro-chan got... read more

8.5/10 story
6/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
8.5/10 characters
8.5/10 overall

Comedy

on Dec 14, 2008

Story
The only humour this short engenders is unintentional. Essentially a rather serious mood piece, Comedy depicts fighting during the early twentieth century Irish War for Independence as one between swordsmen and knights. This is about as ridiculous as depicting the Pacfic War as a confrontation between cowboys and samurai. As the entire piece otherwise feels quite medieval and the sole identifying factor is a throaway line at the end, this seems rather unnecessary. Also, the plot is slightly obtuse - to understand the title requires either familiarity with the source material or to make one or... read more

7/10 story
8.7/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
8/10 overall

Legend of the Galactic Heroes

on Dec 2, 2008

Story
I'm no stranger to space opera, so when I heard that Legend of the Galactic Heroes featured an epic war between a 'Galactic Empire' and a 'Free Planets Alliance', I went in expecting the kind of moral dualism found in Star Wars and Star Trek. Sure, the Alliance is revealed to be corrupt and the Empire is undergoing reforms, but even then I'd assumed it wouldn't go any farther than Babylon 5 - which attacked corrupt democracy by way of glorifying benevolent military dictatorship - or the smug condescension of Firefly. Yet further Galactic Heroes went. Every other time I was about to... read more

9.7/10 story
6.8/10 animation
8/10 sound
9.7/10 characters
9.7/10 overall