Dirty Pair: Project Eden

I am a big fan of good art and animation. If a cartoon looks great I would be happy to watch it, regardless of its other qualities. I would also like to tell other people about how good it was, but that is when things become difficult. Talking about art is hard in general, even if you limit yourself to a particular genre or style. Talking about modern animation where every piece may consist of a wild mixture of dozens of different styles is harder still. Not to mention that animation isn’t only about art, it is also about movement, which makes everything even more complex.

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That is why when I see an anime that showcases one particular aspect of animation I feel an urge to share it with others, which is the reason I am writing this post. Project Eden is a comedy, a movie about two girls with bad enough reputation to be called Dirty Pair. Same as in other Dirty Pair movies, they are solving a crime case, blowing up stuff in the process. But more importantly, Project Eden is about an art style. But, what is an art style? I’d say it is a combination of the color palette the anime uses, common details of the character designs, the drawing and animation techniques and the choices of what to show on the screen. It seems arbitrary, but hopefully it will make sense in a moment.

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Project Eden loves black, blue, red and hot pink. In my experience blue and black are a common combination in older anime, Yoshiaki Kawajiri used these colors a lot in his films. Adding red and hot pink makes this movie extra flashy, gives it more contrast, but also makes it feel less serious.

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The characters are equipped with some awesome 80s hair, but are otherwise simple. This is compensated by the animation, where the characters slightly go off model, move pretty freely, have enough different facial expressions not to be boring. Project Eden doesn’t win any prizes for the characters’ looks, but I think they go pretty well with anime’s visuals.

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Judging by how it looks and its age, the anime is hand drawn and cell animated. I think this type of animation technique lends itself well to darker and more contrasting color palettes. My guess is that cells were making the colors darker and were taking away some of the contrast, producing the nice look shows like Project Eden or Cyber City Oedo or many others of the sort have. Also the character designs used in this anime work well because the faces are always slightly morphing and changing; I don’t think it would look as good with more static computer-aided animation. This is why I mention animation techniques as a part of an art style, cause shows like Project Eden look the way they do thanks to the animation methods that were used back then when these shows were made. It also makes these anime unique – because of the change in animation techniques it is unlikely that anything that shares Project Eden’s style will be produced again.

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Now finally, what about the choices what to show on the screen? Project Eden shows us explosions, lots of technical facilities, all kinds of electrical discharges, dark blue monsters, space, spacecrafts and space stations. In short, lots of space enthusiasm sci-fi settings. This allows the anime to display its colors in all their glory. If your anime takes place in bright lit rooms or in the daylight there is no way to make Project Eden’s color palette work. Furthermore, the colors, the hand drawn animation, the sci-fi theme, they all go together, they create the atmosphere of the movies of this period. The bright explosions contrasted with dark blue background remind me of Macross: Do You Remember Love movie, the constant mindless destruction- of Tank Police OVA and maybe a few other OVAs from that time.

I don’t know if I should talk about the anime itself at this point. Maybe I’ll leave the plot be and let you see it for yourself. I guess the promo posters for Project Eden may look kinda iffy, the two lead characters being dressed like prostitutes and all, but oh well. Their costumes are completely stupid and don’t suit their personalities at all, obviously they were designed to attract attention to the anime. But there isn’t much more then that, just a stupid choice for the character’s uniform.

Oh, and before you go, watch the opening for this movie it is worth the look. It kinda illustrates all I wanted to say in this post. See you next time!

P.S. If you wanna read me talking about other anime with beautiful animation, you can check out my posts about Madoka MagicaThe RescuersThe Old Man and the Sea and Colorful. Or, take a look at Shaurya’s posts about MushishiGarden of Words and this post about Tokyo Ghoul. We don’t usually talk as much about the animation itself though.

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Lily C.A.T.

Once again I am going to talk about an old show. I know, I know, no one watches that except of me. Still, you have to bear with me :P

This time I am not going to make a review, but instead it will be a reaction post. And the difference is that I am going to spoil the whole thing. Let’s get started.

Lily C.A.T. captain

Lily C.A.T. was made back in 1987 by Hisayuki Toriumi. The show is a classic sci-fi story about a space ship going on a mission with the crew put to sleep. They will fly for 20 year to get to another planet and it will take them the same amount of time to get back. So they are more or less cut off from the civilization while on the mission. Not to mention that they will return to a new world, that where 40 years has passed and almost no one knows them anymore. I have seen books that discussed this same problem of a long-term space travel (I am talking about books by some Russian sci-fi writers, Strugatsky brothers in particular; by the way I am sure some of their books are translated into English), but this is one of those things that don’t get old. So I had some expectations for the movie from the very start.

Lily C.A.T

You will see the significance of this screen cap in a moment ^.^

I am not going to recap the plot in details. In short, something went wrong and the ship got infected by some terrible bacteria that was killing people and creating some weird sort of monsters out of them. Also they learned that there is a criminal on the ship, so they had this issue to deal with as well.

And don’t worry. They failed in every aspect and all died. Well, the two people survived for the time being, but not for too long I guess. Spoiler! I told you I am going to give away the plot :P Anyway, here why I decided to give away the plot.

Lily C.A.T

That is a bacteria?… I guess?… O.o

You see, while the premise of the show was really good, I can’t say that they made a wonderful job developing on it. The show still was really good, with impressive atmosphere. But it wasn’t outstanding. Yet there was something interesting there. Here it is.

First, the villain was a cyborg cat that was made by the company that hired the crew. It was send to kill them so the company can save the money on the salary. Yeah. That isn’t something can you see coming.

Lily C.A.T

Again, you will see what this picture means in a few seconds ^^’

The second thing was the way characters reacted on the horrible things that were happening around them. Here is an example. Imagine you are one of six or something survivors on a ship filled with deadly bacteria. And you see a hole in the wall made by this bacteria. What would be your reaction? Well, the character who saw this said “That is awesome” and proceeded to put his head close to it. We never saw him again.

A few minutes after, the last four survivors are standing in a corridor. One of them explodes, eaten by the bacteria from the inside. A horrible creature comes out of him and runs away through a vent shaft. A few seconds after one of the guys starts to talk about how interesting it is that this bacteria can use human flesh, yet it leaves the clothes. I don’t think I would be quite as calm in such a situation O.o

Lily C.A.T

So this guy just saw what you saw on the picture above. How shocked is he? Not that much -. –

And the last bit is just brilliant. So the last two survivors (a guy and a girl) left the spaceship that was blown up shortly after. They are descending on a planet that is in an archaic period of its evolution (no big creatures, only insects and plants, as I understand). So they are doomed to spend their lives on this planet, not to mention that they are probably going to die of starvation. Oh, and there is this gigantic monster that is clinging to their ship that being burned up in the atmosphere. And here is the scene. The guy sits in his chair in front of all the shuttle controls and he got this thoughtful look at his face. And the girl asks him “is anything the matter?”. Well, YES! Everyone dead, the spaceship is blown and you are descending to your grave! Besides that, nothing much.

So, personally I like this movie a lot. The animation was awesome and the character designs were very lovely. Orchestral music is always welcome too. And unlike many other old anime this one is safe for kids, there isn’t even that much violence, only a little horror.

But anyway, sorry for spoiling the plot. But I had to let it out. See you next time (^_^)/

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Wicked City

There are many different types of anime that are not easy to write about. Very good ones you can’t really criticize,  plot-empty ones, there is nothing to discuss, and so on. Wicked City is one of those hard ones too. At least for me,  because I try to keep this blog kid-friendly. And to write something about Wicked City without making it +18 content – not so easy.

You would say – so Sindar, you watched some porn and now you are making a scene, saying how hard it is to write about it in a kid-friendly way? Just don’t write about it then! Yeah, I agree, but here is a problem. Wicked City is not exactly a porn. It is, in fact, one of the most prominent movies in anime history.

Wicked City Taki Renzaburo and Makie

Taki Renzaburo and Makie, the protagonists

Let’s try and get into the review. Wicked City (Youjuu Toshi in romaji) is a movie directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri about modern Tokyo, which is decided to be a meeting place between two delegations. One of humans, the other one of monsters. Monsters live among us, and so far there was some sort of peace between them and humans. But the time of peace is almost over, and now it depends on this meeting, whether or not the piece will last.

Wicked City Makie and Giuseppe Mayart

Makie and Giuseppe Mayart

Phew, managed to write a couple of lines without mentioning anything weird. In the actual show, before you hear all that you see a spider woman doing… I’ll leave it at that. If you are sensitive or young, that scene alone can give you nightmares, I bet.

Now, for this meeting to be held well, there need to be some protection. And this protection is provided by two people. One human, the male protagonist (name Taki Renzaburo), and one monster, the female lead character (name Makie). And their struggle to keep the situation under the control (with no success) is what the movie is about.

Wicked City

That is how enemies tend to look before they die.

Basically, they get constantly attacked, save each other, and develop some feelings for each other that transcends their differences. Sounds nice, right? Would have been nicer if while they develop the relations the female lead would not have been raped a few times.

I guess the amount of violence, abuse and sexual content played a big role in this show becoming so famous. And it is not so much that the show is too violent, or too pornographic. It is the unique mixture of depressing colors, dark subject, excessive amount of mature content and repulsive scenes of all sorts, all that gives Wicked City its impact. You can enjoy this show, but that is the sort of enjoyment that you get exploring catacombs, where the awfulness of the scenery is expected. And remember when this anime was made. In those days it was quite normal to include violence, gore and sexual material in anime. Look at some other pieces from that time (Wicked City was made in 1987), like MD Geist, Akira, Demon City Shinjuku. So don’t think that Wicked City is something weird, that came from no where.

Wicked City

You won’t believe how hard it is to find any important scene from the anime that would not have anything inappropriate. So, I’m putting random ones ^^

The music and the animation are nothing outstanding. Yet the art style is quite different from what you normally see. I am not a big fan of that art style, but that is a personal taste. The character designs are interesting in a sense that they look kinda Western. I think they were trying to make this anime more serious and more appealing to the adult audience this way.

Wicked City

Sometimes the enemies do look good in this show

Do I recommend you to watch it? I don’t know. If you are younger than 20, I guess not. If you are older than that, I expect that you can make your own decision by now. I gave you some idea about what you are signing for. Hope you won’t get mad at me if you do watch it. See you next time (^_^)/

My other post on Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s movies: Biohunter.

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Fist of the North Star, the movie

Today I wanna tell you about one of the greatest anime that was ever made. Animation quality drops and simple plot can not ruin the awesomeness of this creation. When you for the first time hear Kenshiro say his famous “yayayayayayayayayaya” and see him do a hundred punches per second, at that moment you know you’ve got to love this show. And when you see that every punch he performs hit a “pressure point” and that makes opponent’s head explode, well, you know that you were not mistaken. Let me tell you about anime in its glory, Fist of the North Star.

Fist of the North Star Kenshiro

Kenshiro, the protagonist

Fist of the North Star is a pretty big franchise. There is a hundred episodes long TV show, one old movie from 1986, a series of newer movies, an OVA and who knows how much more stuff. They all share the same characters (more or less), but the TV show tells the main story, the old movie is a short summary for the main plot points and the newer movies illustrate some particular story arcs. And so here I am going to talk about the 1986 movie.

I think this movie is the best way to start watching Fist of the North Star. It is not as long as the TV show and yet it has some interesting plot that develops in a good pace. And it offers all the awesomeness you want to see in a show like this.

Fist of the North Star Kenshiro

Kenshiro with a beard

The show tells a story of Kenshiro, a practitioner of Hokuto Shinken, a martial art that uses bare-hand fighting techniques. They learn about pressure points on human body, which, when touched, can cause great damage. Kenshiro lives in a post nuclear war world, destroyed and ruined, with no water, no food. It is all just deserts and bands of punks trying to robe anyone they can find. There are some good people left in that world, and Kenshiro uses his strength to protect them. He is not very successful at protecting, but well, that is not the selling point of the show.

The selling point, at least for me, was how funny it is. And it is really funny. People who were making this show wanted to show Kenshiro’s strength, and they went way over board with that. The examples of that are countless. Like there is a scene at the begging of the movie where Kenshiro walks near a skyscraper and he punches it, I guess just to show how angry he is. And the skyscrapers falls. On him.

That by itself is pretty funny and stupid, but that is not it. Kenshiro proceeds to walk through the skyscraper, as if nothing happened. I don’t think a normal person would be able to walk through a sheet of paper without some struggle. Here Kenshiro just go through concrete walls.

Fist of the North Star a ship in a building

That is beside the point, but what do you think about this shot? Pretty realistic, huh? And pretty awesome, if you ask me ^_^

Fist of the North Star, a ship in a desert

Same ship, new place.

And that is not the end, that is just the beginning. There are more practitioners of Hokuto Shinken besides Kenshiro. Some of them are even more overpowered. One of them is not even dismounting from a horse to fight. But well, you really need to see that for yourself to appreciate how good and funny it looks.

The animation here is not the strong point, but it isn’t too bad. As I mentioned, there are some quality drops, but they are rather interesting. On of them looks like they lost a few seconds of footage and recovered by using a recording made during a screening, or something like that. It still looks better than the animation in the TV series, but if you are used to nowadays standards you might not be amused by it. But if you like old style anime, here you go, hurry up and get this movie, it would be a great treat for you. Just as it was for me.

Fist of the North Star Raoh The Conqueror

Raoh The Conqueror, one of the bad guys. Or one of the good guys, it is had to tell.

The art style and character designs are a thing in itself. I mean, if you are a medical student, and you forgot how a particular muscle looks, glance at Kenshiro and you will see it. And you don’t need your glasses, every muscle on Kenshiro’s body is bigger than all of them on yours. Even is you are a heavyweight boxer, I don’t care, it still applies. In that sense the anime is a little similar to Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures, which was inspired by The Fist of the North Star.

The music isn’t too outstanding. I watched the movie some few months ago and I don’t remember any music from it, so yeah. The newer Fist of the North Star movies have some really good music though, hopefully I will get to write about them too.

Fist of the North Star

Take one more look at Raoh The Conqueror ^^

As good as the movie is, I am not sure it is safe for kids to watch. Tons of corpses, blood, extreme violence, lots of very graphic murder scenes. If you are not at least 14, don’t even come close (should I change this number to 16 or 18? I dunno..).

It is up to you to decide if you want to watch this anime. I’d say, give it a try. See you next time (^_^)/

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Battle Royal High School

You want to a show about school karate club? With a Dark Lord? And demons? And tentacle  monsters? And time-space police? With robot suits? And a demon hunter fighting with kendo practice sword? Well? Oh, what if I make it only one hour long and add fairies? I know you want it :P

Battle Royal High School Riki

Here is Riki, he is a main character? I donno.

This anime tells you whole bunch of interesting stories. Just as a start they show you how Riki fights the leader of the school karate club. He does it while wearing a leopard mask. And he have to fight, because to sign out of the club you have to beat all the club members. That is a good start. Soon after time stops and school tables turns into demons and Dark Lord manifests himself and possesses Riki’s body. That the kind of stuff this show does.

Battle Royal High School Dark Lord

Suddenly…

When watching this show I learned one thing. Well, besides the fact that reassembling someone’s body from pieces of flesh is the hardest thing to do, even in the demon real. I learned what Haruhi Suzumiya imagine high school to be like.

Battle Royal High School Time-travelling police force

Time-travelling police force

One other thing this show does great is messing up you perception of what is going on. And that is thanks to the unique art style. All the male lead characters looks kind of alike. To the point that I thought that each of them is a reincarnation of each other.

So, here is this show, that is not very popular among the young fans (only 1,033 member of MAL watched it). No surprise, the show was made in 1987, and it is not one the most famous anime of the era. But don’t let it stop you, check out this show. See you next time (^_^)/

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Akira

Akira is a very famous movie from 1988. Chances are that you have already seen it or read about it. On the other hand, I fell that new anime fans, such as myself, don’t watch anime from 80s quite as much as people used to, so it would be wrong to assume that everyone knows what Akira is.

So, what Akira is about. This movie tells us a story about a guy Shotaro Kaneda, who is a delinquent (just how many anime characters are delinquents?.. I kinda miss Light Yagami..). Kaneda has a friend, Tetsuo, who is weaker and has inferiority complex. Also he meets a girl named Kei, but she is not important, unfortunately.

Akira Shotaro Kaneda

Kaneda

*Spoilers start here*

During the movie, for some reasons that are so poorly explained that I don’t even want to repeat that stuff Tetsuo gains supernatural power. What power? I would say just power. Raw thing. He can move objects, almost can’t get hurt, can fly, can change the form of his body. And he starts chaos, trying to prove his power. Here I must say that it is not so simple in the movie, but again, all the actions of people are random and don’t have much explanation.

Akira Tetsuo Shima

Tetsuo

In the final act of the movie Kaneda tries to stop Tetsuo, but fails. But at this point Akira, another super being, awakens and saves the day.

*Spoilers end here*

Now, what I think about this movie. First, the animation. It is great. For its time it should have looked like a miracle. Even now we don’t see such a rich and generous animation. Lots of people praise Attack on Titan for the quality of animation of dynamic scenes. But look at people when they speak. Simple and cheap, they just use a few frames in a cycle. But here, in Akira, they actually draw facial expressions for each syllable. Sure, there are reused frames here too, but the amount of unique frames is amazing. But note that I am not a professional animator, so I might very well be wrong when I am talking about the technical details.

Akira Kei

Kei

Then, the character designs. I am not a big fan of this style. By the way, am I the only one who sees resemblance between Akira Toriyama’ character Vegeta and Tetsuo? I dunno, I just had this idea.

Music, sound effects and dub. All of it is not impressive. But it is not bad either.

Writing, pacing and the idea of the anime. As I said before, the story doesn’t make sense if you try to think about motivations of individual characters. Things just happen, and characters do what is convenient for the plot. As for the ideas, there was a moment where they tried to deliver some sort of an ideological lecture through one of the characters. That was such a failure, I would have been ashamed to put in the show if I was the director. But the pace of the anime is good, you won’t get bored.

Akira Destruction of Tokyo

Destruction of Tokyo

Overall thoughts. Akira is a good anime. It is not deep or full or interesting ideas. No. It is interesting in the same sense as JJBA is interesting. Also, if you are really into Akira, I would recommend you to read the manga. Some characters, like Akira himself, were not shown to the fullest in this anime. It is only two hours long, what would you expect.

Also, look at the picture below. I don’t remember seeing it in the anime, so it must be from the manga. Don’t know what you think about it, but I see here written in big letters that Akira is a like a modern Rome emperor (but this time it is Tokyo instead of Rome) and that all what is happening is the start of a new empire. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Akira

Akira

If you have 2 hours of free time, watch this movie. See you next time (^_^)/

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Riding Bean

I just watched this crazy anime. It is only a little younger than me and the age shows. But still, I enjoyed it quite a bit, so let’s go into it. Oh, and before we go, I must warn you that this anime contents nudity and violence, so if you are young and sensitive, you may (or may not o.O) want to stay away from this OVA.

Riding Bean OVA Bean

The main character, Bean

First of all, I want to say that it seems that there used to be a rule that each anime has to contain at least one scene with a sexually harassment of a woman. All the anime from before 1990 that I watched have one, and mind you, I don’t try to pick spicy ones. In this anime the scene with naked hostage in the beginning was really out of place.

Now, let me give you some actual information about the series. It is an OVA, it is 46 minutes long and it is based on the manga with the same title. There is one spin-off for the series (named Gunsmith Cats), which I haven’t seen yet.

The make lead character of this anime kind of reminds be of Jack from Violence Jack OVAs. He too is, apparently immortal and ridiculously strong. Well, he is able to lift a car, bullets can’t penetrate his skin and he survived a grenade blast. But unlike Jack, Bean has emotions and he speaks quite a lot.

There are other characters as well:

Riding Bean OVA Semmerling

The blond girl is the female lead, a friend of Bean. The young girl is a kidnapped girl, the center of the plot.

The animation is more or less typical for the time (in a broad sense) and if you have seen a lot of old stuff, you won’t be surprised by the art style. There are quite a few animation mistakes here and there, but that is not a big deal.

Te English dub for Riding Bean is not going to win any award. Most of the characters sounds nice, though I would say that the director did not do as good job as he should have done. The volumes of the sound change sometime making strange effects and the actors convey emotions in a slightly weird manner. But all that did not bother me too much. The only really bad point of the dub is the acting for the main villainess. The role was written awfully and the voice actress did succeed in making the act believable.

Riding Bean OVA Percy

The yellow haired dude is Percy, the detective who tries to catch Bean. You may guess this success rate.

All in all, this anime is worth watching if you are interesting the old anime. It won’t bore you as it is really action packed. Though not many people watch this sort of anime now. On MAL there are only 2,600 people who watched Riding Bean. Aiura, a 5 minutes per episode anime that is started airing this season has already 8,500 people watched it and Attack on Titan has 60,900 people. Think about it. Attack on Titan is not even two month old and Riding Bean has been around for 24 years. Sure, most of the people how watched Riding Bean just don’t have MAL accounts. But still.

And this is it for Riding Bean. See you next time (^_^)/

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