Sunday, November 14, 2004

Compare and Contrast

Subject: Noir
I watched those two discs like I said. I'll start with "Now and Then, Here and There" briefly (because it doesn't quite fit into the theme I'll be writing about today): I liked it. The characters' attitudes and the odd situation gave me something to latch on to and want to know more about what happens next. The artwork is otherwise rather simple and there doesn't seem to be a lot of "scale" to it, but I can see it growing on me. I'll continue renting it, and see if Maromi's review from the previous thread holds true for me as well. Stay tuned.

But on to today's theme.

My regular readers may remember that I panned "Kaze no Yojimbo" for being a bit cheaply animated, with not much compelling to keep my interest. The cheapness in fact detracted from it enough to make me not bother continuing with it. "Twelve Kingdoms" is another cheapie. And the DVD looks pretty bad (my setup really amplifies crappy video). It's plot seems a tad formulaic, and the animation isn't anything special.

But the characters were kind of interesting. The mythological elements had me curious. The storytelling had its moments.

Mind you, it's no masterpiece, but there's enough there to overcome my initial reaction to the overall quality. Which "Kaze no Yojimbo" couldn't pull off. So I'll keep this in my rental queue as well. I may wind up finding that it gets tedious later, or it may open up a bit. Don't know. But it's worth finding out.

Now there are two other shows in the current-season's fansubs that would otherwise share the same laundry list of drawbacks, but I'm finding I actually like one but not the other. With "Mai HiME", I said "I really wanted to find it funny, but frankly it's a juvenile quagmire from which no redeeming qualities can escape." You know, all the teen-girl fanservice and panties and nosebleeds and boob jokes and shojou-ai teasing. I dropped that after that stupid underwear episode.

But I just happened upon another one: "Kannazuki no Miko". Again, high schoolers with lots of fanservice and giant robot fights and weird mystical powers. And really overt shojou-ai fanservice at that. Which, of course, I like, but that's besides the point. With this one, again, the characters had something to latch on to. There's not anything particularly groundbreaking or unique about them, and a couple of them border on annoying at times, but there's enough there to make me interested in what they're going to do next.

And maybe, just a little bit, I recognize Chikanake's facial expressions. That sort of "noble martyr" thing. The internal struggle against jealousy. Painfully existing in the "Just Friends" zone. If it were a male character like that, I'd probably be put off by it and chalk it up as another damn wimpy ineffectual anime teenage boy. But in this case it's a girl, and it seems to resonate a lot more with me. I'm way more sympathetic. And I identify with her a lot more closely. Odd.

Again, I may wind up bored with this one after a while. But it seems to have enough to it to keep me following it.

Well, that's enough of that.

BTW, keep your eyes on that ShiFa tracker... I think something's brewing...


Anonymous said...

'Kannaduki no Miko' isn't bad. That and 'Bleach' were the only shows that really hold my attention this season. Oh, and 'Meine Liebe', of course.

When I saw the first episode of 'Kannaduki no Miko', I was shocked. I had visions of late-night brainstorming sessions amongst the writers. Mecha, 'Maria-sama ga Miteru' style schoolgirls, lesbian fanservice, roses, magic, bishounen... Somehow, though- the show holds together pretty well despite the weight of its absurdity.

It gets pretty self-aware as well, at times. "You're like a character from a shounen manga." is my favourite line from the series so far.

Still, it isn't art. It has very little worth in itself, so far at least. It doesn't seem to have anything to say that hasn't been said a dozen times before in anime and said better. It's fun though.

But then... well... I like Utena, and I was medium-impressed by Juuni Kokki (my review: ) so it's not as if I can guarantee that it's worth watching.


Fellini 8.5 said...

..."holds together pretty well despite the weight of its absurdity" -- I like that. Sounds like a good summary.

Of course, for me, it helps that although I've been sampling like crazy these past few months, I haven't actually seen lots and lots of similar programs to be totally put off by it. Though lord knows I'm really picky.

Anyway, it's a nice break to have a show that's fun and I don't really have to think about. It's much better than normal TV in that respect.