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Entry: Anime:Titles:El Hazard TV Series/The Wanderers

El Hazard: The Wanderers review

Crisp and clean. We're not talking Mononoke quality here, but the animation is more or less everything you could ask for as far as a TV anime is concerned.

It starts off slowly... In fact, it starts off really slowly, and it progresses in a really strange way. In episode 1, they get to El Hazard. For the next six episodes, they go absolutely nowhere with the story or with the characters. In fact, the only real thing you could possibly learn that in those first seven episodes (the first DVD) that wasn't told to you straight off is that Princess Rune has a white pet thingy and that Alielle likes girls.
Other than that, all the characters completely fit the stereotypes they were given in the very first episode, which makes the beginning of the series hard to watch.
Still, from there on it gets better. Although they certainly took their time doing it, they do finally get a bit more in-depth with the characters (although that might be more a side effect of having all the characters finally being together at once than anything else) as they start fitting into El Hazard better, and that's a good thing.

El Hazard isn't really that funny. There are bits and pieces here and there, and Jinnai's evil laugh somehow amuses me every time, but the problem is that the show usually doesn't bother really taking one joke and turning it into a big scene. The line is given, responded to, and then it's over. It doesn't turn into a running gag throughout the show and it doesn't create seven consecutive hilarious lines in a row like some shows can pull off.
Better than some series, though.

Not too shabby, but nothing stands out in particular. That's the problem: The music doesn't seem to really add anything to the show other than so that they could say "We have music." It's just sort of... there.

Out of the more well-known anime series out there, this one's pretty low on my "must-see" list, losing out to shows like Sailor Moon, Rurouni Kenshin, Oh My Goddess!, Outlaw Star, and Saber Marionette J, but that doesn't mean it's bad in any way. I just can't explain why it has as much of a fan following as it does (unless the OAV, which I haven't seen, is better).

Overall Rating: 5
Animation:9 Plot:7 Humor:7 Sound Track:6
Weight: 67
Date: 05/19/2009 01:18:43 am PST

Replies: 0

Entry: Anime:Titles:Blue Seed

Blue Seed review

(Remember, if this review is helpful or well-written, please give me a good rating (down below)! Thanks for your support! *^__^)

About as solid as you could expect. This isn't exactly Princess Mononoke or Kenshin, but it's still far, far better than most stuff you'll see.

If I could give this a 20, it would get a 20. Seriously.
In a lot of shows, unfortunately, I find that a series might have a pretty shabby plot, but the characters are interesting enough to make up for it (Sailor Moon, Battle Athletes, Ah My Goddess) or they have a good enough plot, but the characters are somewhat flat (Tokyo Vice).
By that standard, I guess I started to settle for less, because I give high scores in Plot for the characters or storyline alone, with only a few obvious exceptions like Kenshin.
Blue Seed, on the other hand, is a lot like Kenshin: Excellent characters AND an excellent plot.
What Blue Seed particularly excels at is mixing two styles. The first 14 episodes, or 2 DVDs, are basically character development and humor, and they're about as good as you could hope for. The remaining 12 episodes get to the main story and tie up all the loose ends, all while making you go "Awwww" with some serious moments between Momiji and Kusanagi. Heck, I even went "Awwww" at the other character pairings, but I probably shouldn't ruin them for you.
So, what's it all about?
Well, basically it's about a legendary monster race known as the Aragami appearing all over Japan and trying to destroy all humans. Through it all, the government has a special agency, the TAC, meant to solve the problem and keep it all from the public. They are a pretty interesting group, too, with some rather unique ways of destroying the Aragami. They have to, since Kome's "keep shooting" tactic almost never works. Instead, they use things like cellular manipulation to kill the giant monsters in whatever form they may take.
Still, it's never that simple to win a country-wide anime battle. It's said that one girl, the Kushinada of Japanese legends, is the key to destroying the Aragami. After the TAC loses her in a mysterious incident, though, they go to convince her twin sister, Momiji, to join them to help save Japan.
Unfortunately, her school is getting completely destroyed by an Aragami, and in fact, the TAC wouldn't have made it there in time, though, if not for the appearance of a strange man, Kusanagi, who seems to have some sort of relation to the Aragami and has powers greater than any of the giant beasts. At first, he intends to kill Momiji, which would mean the end of all the Aragami, but he can't bring himself to do it.
Still, Kusanagi's not exactly allied with the TAC, just showing up and leaving at will, but somehow always there on time to fight. He also seems to have some sort of connection to the first Kushinada, Kaede.
Back to the Kushinada legend, it was said that sacrificing a Kushinada virgin would be enough to stop the Aragami. The TAC, though, is convinced that they can win the battle without sacrificing Momiji. Momiji believes the same thing, and more importantly, believes in Kusanagi, who she starts to fall for...
However, toward the end, when the countdown to doomsday begins and the Aragami are appearing everywhere, it turns into a conflict between the Japanese government and the TAC, with the government just wanting to sacrifice Momiji already to save the country and the TAC still convinced they can win without resorting to that.
And on top of all this, there's also another main character who has Aragami powers, except that his are far greater than Kusanagi's, and his goals are evil...
And, I should probably stop there before I give away any major plot points.
Let's just say that from beginning to end, Blue Seed has a great story with twists and turns at every end.
In fact, by the last episode, it's not a conflict between good and evil, it's a conflict between good, evil, and another, different kind of evil. Any time a show can effectively pull off three forces that all oppose each other and yet only one of them seems definitely "wrong," it gets points in my book. The beliefs of each character involved are just very, very strong, and it's a very emotional ending.

I've never seen a show that can make panties jokes a running gag for 26 episodes and pull it off successfully, but the way Blue Seed did it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen!
In a nutshell, trying not to ruin anything: Momiji, who for some reason continues to wear a skirt all the time even though she gets embarrassed because of it in probably every episode of the first 14 and about half of the last 12, has a different animal on her panties every day and all the other characters make fun of her for it... This leads to some situations involving Yaegashi being obsessed with Momiji's panties and writing computer programs about it in his spare time, and in one episode, most of the TAC wants to write a "special message" for someone on Momiji's panties, thinking it's the best way to communicate - and yes, they're serious.
But don't get me wrong! Momiji and her panties aren't the only funny thing in the show. Sakura, as the "raised in America" character, provides at least a few laughs every time she shows up on screen, with her interactions with all the other characters. Kome, with her tough image and her constant picking on Yaegashi, is another fun character to watch. Kunikida, the leader of the TAC, makes up terrible puns pretty often and then laughs at his own jokes while everyone else leaves the room.
It's amazing that Blue Seed can pull off its lighthearted side and its serious side so well, but it does. Don't be scared away if you want something completely serious, but also don't be scared away if you want something funny, because there's one more thing I should mention:
The Omake Theaters. These little segments, 13 in all, are sort of like animation "shorts" putting the characters in completely ridiculous and out-out-character situations. Well, except for two of them that aren't really supposed to be funny. And it's true that the "Grandma Go Go" one nearly made me go blind. Still, I really enjoyed the "Godzilla ripoff" Omake Theater and the more perverted ones, and I'd have to place this little extra right up there with Tylor's music videos or Kenshin's outtakes as an extra that's really special.

I have to knock off a point because I can't remember most of the music even after just watching the show yesterday, but what I do remember is that it was all really good stuff!
Probably the reason that it's unmemorable is because it never has truly "defined" moments to it. Whereas anime music usually has some definite impact to it, with heavy, sudden notes, Blue Seed's music is mostly fast or light stuff. That doesn't make it any worse, though.
And as for languages:
The Japanese cast is good as always, which you have to expect from Megumi Hayashibara.
The English cast is pretty good, for the most part, but most of the unimportant characters have noticably bad voices. And, I really don't like the fact that virtually every voice actor pronounces "Susano-oh" differently. And the mispronunciation of "Kaede" as "Katie." And "Matsudaira" as "Matsudaara."
The Spanish cast is actually very well-done. All the voices seem to fit, and I actually found myself listening to this instead of the Japanese audio, although that may have just been due to the fact that I don't have any other anime that's dubbed into Spanish, so it was something unique. The only thing that irked me here was the "Fuhimiya," which is how it would be pronounced if it was a Spanish word. But hey, at least Momiji's surname isn't said that often anyway.

Combine Japanese mythology (the Kushinada, Orochi, and Susano-oh story) with superhero comics (Kusanagi) with Godzilla (Aragami) with X-Files (the TAC concept) with typical anime (the TAC members), throw science and magic in a battle against each other, add some genuinely funny humor, great characters, and an emotional ending, and you've got Blue Seed, one of the best series I've ever seen.
I watched 7 episodes the first day... The next day, I watched the other 19.
And I should also mention that is the least expensive series I've ever seen! You can order the DVD box set for $60 at most and down to $40 depending on where you look (I recommend Best Buy).
There is, to put it bluntly, no reason you should miss out on this series, at all.
Highly recommended.

A list of my other 29 anime reviews:
Right here
All of the series I've reviewed are listed at the bottom of the Saint Tail review.

Overall Rating: 10
Animation:9 Plot:10 Humor:10 Sound Track:9
Weight: 46
Date: 09/01/2002 04:12:56 pm PST

Replies: 0

Entry: Anime:Titles:Saint Tail

Saint Tail partial review...

(Remember, if this review is helpful or well-written, please give me a good rating (down below)! Thanks for your support! *^__^)

To begin with, I haven't seen this entire series because they haven't released it all yet. I'll just cover what I know for now.

I liked the animation for this show and felt it really contributed to the overall feel: Cute. Whenever I can tell within one episode exactly what to expect from the rest of the series just by watching the show in action, I'll give it a good grade.
Granted, we're not talking "Battle Athletes Victory" and "Rurouni Kenshin" level here. In fact, it's not even that high-quality at all. But what it lacks in quality, it makes up for with style, and I liked it.

Before I get to the storyline itself, let me cover the feel of the show: Ever seen Cardcaptor Sakura? If you didn't like that show, and if super-sweet isn't your style, then turn back now.
With that said, on to the plot: This is more or less a magical girl show without magic.
The main character, Meimi, transforms into Saint Tail, but she doesn't actually have powers. Instead, she uses magician tricks that I guess she picked up from her dad, since he's a magician. Luckily, tricks are all she needs because this show isn't about fighting evil creatures, it's about trying to do the right thing.
Meimi's best friend Seira, you see, is a nun in training. Apparently, she gets a lot of troubled people coming in to confess to her and when she hears something that it seems like Saint Tail can fix, she tells Meimi about it. The extent of what Saint Tail can fix, by the way, is anything that involves sneaking in and stealing something at night.
Just to give an example (and I'm just making this up; it doesn't happen in the episodes I've seen), a guy might have a ring that he has to give to his bride-to-be. Unfortunately, he loses that ring on the way home, but doesn't have money to buy another one. He later tells Seira about it, feeling bad.
After that, a little girl comes in to confess something to Seira: Her mother actually stole the ring from the guy. The girl knows it's wrong, but doesn't know what she should do...
Which would lead to Seira telling Saint Tail, getting Saint Tail to go sneak into the little girl's house and steal the ring back from the girl's mother, and then sneak into the guy's house and put the ring on a table somewhere, returning it to its rightful owner.
Things like that are pretty much how things go from episode to episode, except that they're usually a lot more creative than my example.
Naturally, that would get boring after a while, so we start off with Meimi's "enemy," a detective's son named Asuka Jr. Saint Tail's continuous thievery has made her wanted by detectives everywhere, but she keeps eluding Asuka's father.
Asuka Jr. thinks that if he can catch Saint Tail, it'll make him sort of a hero among the other detectives. He tries and tries to catch her throughout the series, and Meimi plays with him a little by always leaving little hints on where he might find Saint Tail that night. In case you haven't guessed, she has a thing for him and she likes dodging him every time and frustrating him in her little game.
There was another girl, Rina Takamiya, who was introduced at one point, making a neat little love triangle. She had a crush on Asuka Jr. too, but she quickly found that all he cared about was catching Saint Tail. She decided to try and catch Saint Tail too in order to impress him...
But unfortunately, that ended after only a few episodes, which brings me to a vital point:
There is practically no ongoing storyline to this show in the 22 episodes that have been released here. If you like ongoing storylines, look for another anime to watch.
For the rest of us, I found this show to be really sweet and cute while actually bringing up a lot of important questions: Can stealing really make something right? Can telling others something that you heard in confession really be a good move?
The funny thing is that the show itself doesn't talk too much about those big questions (at least, not in what's been released here), but they're still an interesting little quirk to the story.
I do hope they address those issues at some point or other and that there'll be some big 12-episode plot at the end, but I've enjoyed what I've seen and if you like cute, you should like this.

Sort of hard for me to grade... It's not really that Saint Tail's funny so much as it is FUN. It's amusing... But in a cute, endearing way, not in a really comedic way.
I guess all I can say is: You shouldn't expect many witty remarks, but there ARE some funny situations throughout the series. Besides, it's a fun show and it's got a sort of "feel-good family entertainment" tone to it. It's amusing in its charm.

Nothing really memorable here, but the background music is good enough to work and the opening and closing songs are pretty good.

I think I've said just about everything I have to say about this series... It's cute, light-hearted, simple, sweet, and charming. As long as you don't go in expecting anything more than that, you won't be disappointed.

All reviews by me:
Ah My Goddess! OAV, Battle Athletes, Blue Seed, Dragonball Z, Dragonball Z: Dead Zone, Dragonball Z: The Tree of Might, Dragonball Z: The World's Strongest, Earthian, El Hazard: The Wanderers, Green Legend Ran, Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Irresponsible Captain Tylor OAVs, Legend of the Last Labyrinth, Mononoke no Hime, Outlaw Star, Pokemon, Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back, Rurouni Kenshin, Sailor Moon R movie, Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon S: Hearts In Ice, Sailor Moon SuperS, Sailor Moon SuperS: Black Dream Hole, Saint Tail, Shinesman, Slayers, Slayers: The Motion Picture, Tenchi in Tokyo, Tenchi Muyo, Tenchi Universe

Overall Rating: 8
Animation:8 Plot:9 Humor:8 Sound Track:7
Weight: 43
Date: 08/21/2002 10:51:49 am PST

Replies: 0

Entry: Anime:Titles:Pokemon

Pokemon review

(Remember, if this review is helpful or well-written, please give me a good rating (down below)! Thanks for your support! *^__^)

And apologies to everyone for using "Pokemon" without the accented E, but for some reason it seems to keep turning into a different symbol when I actually post the review. o_O

A hard one to grade if for no other reason than that there's a difference between the Japanese and English versions. Still, with a show that's based on monster battling, the battles are pretty well-animated. Not standout, but solid enough.

The plot could be summed up in a few words, with something to the effect of "Go to gyms, beat the gym leaders in a battle, get badges, go to league with badges, compete for championship."
That's not, however, to say that there isn't an underlying message in this show. It tells a lot about life's lessons and such...
The problem is continuity. Those little lessons that the characters pick up at the end of every (or at least the majority of every) episode are rarely, if ever, referenced again, and it seems a wasted effort to promote the companionship between people and Pokemon in one new way every episode when that new way is never looked at again.
...Actually, wait, I take that back. By the time they got to Johto, I really thought I would be watching the show for a long time. The animation seemed better than before and the stories were much more revised than the first season... But that was the problem. The Johto season felt a lot like it was just a rehash of the first season with some new Pokemon introduced.
So the plot itself is generally either really repetitive or simply suffers from no continuity.
However, I do like Team Rocket. They practically carry the show and together, they're the single best example I can think of for showing that "bad guys" aren't necessarily all that bad. Usually, if anime is trying to show its villains as "not THAT evil," it just portrays them as misguided or deranged, but not so with Team Rocket. Jessie and James, or Musashi and Kojiro, are just trying to make a living like anyone else. The tragic thing is that even when they're not doing anything wrong, something ends up screwing up their plans to get rich the normal way.
The very, very best episodes Pokemon has to offer are focused on Team Rocket, from the Eevee brothers episode to the Drowzee hypnosis (not the Hypno one, the Drowzee) episode with Butch and Cassidy to even the Meowth/Nyasu's past episode. If the show kept up the storyline quality shown by those three episodes, this would be one heck of a show to watch... But when you're producing hundreds and hundreds of episodes, there ends up being a whole lot of filler. It's really a shame that the writers and animators probably just had to crank out episodes so fast to satisfy the demand that they ended up losing quality along the way.

It's there, but you would think that there would be a lot more humor in a kids' anime than there is here. Actually, the show is probably more serious than it is funny.
As for the jokes themselves, a lot of them fall flat... If only because it's a kids' anime and they're restricted as to what, exactly, they can say. It might be funnier in the Japanese version, though.

Now this part is better than you might expect. Actually, I really enjoyed the music of the show and I enjoyed every single song in the Japanese and the English version.
And unlike some anime (Dragonball Z, El Hazard), the music here actually adds to the show. Although the pieces aren't exactly orchestrated, the tunes themselves are good enough to somehow carry emotion with them. I especially love the opening themes in every incarnation (the first Japanese opening, first English, Japanese Johto theme, English Johto theme, Spanish Johto theme, French Johto theme, first season French opening, first season Italian opening, fourth English opening... everything except the second English opening) and that march-type theme they play for practically every episode, usually at the beginning or end. Also good is the "Red/Blue gym battle" theme, but unless you played the games, you probably won't know which battle theme I'm referring to.

I don't hate this show as much as this review has probably made you think so far!
Actually, just the opposite. I like Pokemon and think it's a great show for watching whenever. It's hard to watch most episodes that I've already seen, but I can tune in to any episode I haven't seen at any time (and there are probably 30 of them) and watch it. Since there's no storyline continuity, after all, you can pick it up at any time.
The problem with Pokemon is that you really shouldn't buy it. Aside from the fact that you don't get the Japanese audio track on the DVDs, the problem with Pokemon is that you don't really want to bother watching the episodes in order because they don't usually need to be. It seems tedious to just watch the show straight out, whereas suddenly flipping over to it when you have nothing else to watch isn't a bad move.
Recommended whenever you need something to watch, but it's definitely not a top pick to start a huge video collection with... Sort of like Dragonball Z, except Pokemon's episodes are usually fairly self-contained, which is better if you're only watching one or two episodes.

A list of my other 29 anime reviews:
Right here
All of the series I've reviewed are listed at the bottom of the Saint Tail review.

Overall Rating: 8
Animation:9 Plot:5 Humor:6 Sound Track:10
Weight: 43
Date: 08/21/2002 10:44:35 am PST

Replies: 0

Entry: Anime:Titles:Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back (The Movie)

Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back review

(Remember, if this review is helpful or well-written, please give me a good rating (down below)! Thanks for your support! *^__^

(Apologies to Japanese language fans, but I'll be using the English names for the characters just in case a Pokémon name comes up. I don't know any of their Japanes names aside from the ones that weren't changed.)

Even the TV series was well-animated, but turn it into a movie and give it a bigger budget and you've got excellent high-class animation even outside the Pokémon battles.

Go fight Mewtwo to try and prove that strength isn't everything. That's about the extent of the plot, and it really isn't particularly any better than the TV series. Like the TV series, it has a happy little message at the end and gets it across very nicely, and I thought having a smaller Pokémon like Mew give its big speech to Mewtwo was a nice touch even if it did have to be translated by Meowth. Or Nyasu. At least, I think his Japanese name is Nyasu. Hence why I'm sticking to English names.
There was something else that I thought was a nice touch too, even if it was a bit corny, but it'd be a major spoiler and I don't want to ruin it.
Anyway, pretty well-done all around, and it really got across the point that Pokémon BATTLES are different from Pokémon FIGHTS. One is competition and one is just brutality, and it explained that pretty well.

As I think I've said in every anime movie review I've ever done, the problem with movies is that they use more time for story and less for things that made the TV series good. For example, comedy.
Jokes don't show up in the movie as often as they would in the show. It's only in the very beginning that there's any humor at all, except for Team Rocket appearances later on and even those aren't that funny compared to what you're used to from the TV series.

There are about three things that, to me, really stand out about Pokémon: The creativity for the monster designs, the little "messages of life" at the end of every episode or movie, and the music.
Just listening to the music of it has always been something I've enjoyed, and the movie is no exception. The thing is, the variety of music in Pokémon covers all the bases: Some is inspiring, a good deal is orchestrated, some of it is strong, a lot of it is uplifting, the majority of it is good at conveying emotion, almost all of it is memorable...
Man. I should've said some of this stuff in my review of the TV series. But overall, this movie has a very good soundtrack behind it.

What more needs to be said? Good animation, nice delivery on a plot regardless of its shallowness, and an excellent soundtrack. Even if you haven't seen anything Pokémon-related, you shouldn't have any problem enjoying this movie.
At the same time, don't overlook it just because it's about cute monsters - this movie has an undertone that's a bit darker than normal, and you just might enjoy it.

A list of my other 29 anime reviews:
Right here
All of the series I've reviewed are listed at the bottom of the Saint Tail review.

Overall Rating: 8
Animation:10 Plot:7 Humor:5 Sound Track:10
Weight: 43
Date: 08/21/2002 10:23:37 am PST

Replies: 0

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