Saturday, November 06, 2004

The second Meine Liebe review (this time mine)

Subject: Noir
Yes, the very moment the raw was finished downloading, I had to watch it.

I've picked up a little tiny bit of Japanese dialogue. I can catch a couple of words here and there.

I don't have the slightest idea what the f* this show was about.

Okay, sure, I could figure out that there's a rivalry between the purple-haired guy and that other guy, and that there's a short femme kid who likes flowers, and any girl has maybe 15 seconds of screen time before she's dead. There's one teacher with big glasses, and the school admin is hairier than I am.

Beyond that, my first impressions:

It looks like it's a lot "cheaper" than Madlax. In that the animation quality is a little stilted. The camera isn't moving all over the place, the "celwork" (which is now all done digitally) is sparse and over-econimized, and overall it's kind of static. It's a little dissappointing because I was working on a theory that even with a low budget, Mashimo would be all over the cinematography aspect of one of his series. That's not to say that the camera angles and shot compositions aren't quality, but they don't quite go as far as his previous work.

It looks "cheaper". Period.

Still, the characterization is very good, the art is very good, and it conveys a good sense of drama visually. A lot is communicated despite the shortcuts taken, and despite the fact that I can't understand a f*ing word they're saying. So I still hold out hope that I'll find this watchable through all 13 episodes.

But like I said in the various forums I've posted about this, I reserve the right to make fun of those foofy outfits. And now that I've seen more, the propensity for the male leads to wear mascara. Whassup wit dat? (heh)

EDIT: Okay, I re-scanned a bit through the episode, and it would appear that I wasn't quite right about the camera being too static; there's a lot of movement, and some of it is subtle but pretty good. There were a few parts though where they're using some weak compositing techniques for the "multiplanar" moves (different layers moving at different speeds to give the appearance of depth) which aren't done nearly as well as those in Madlax. Plus the mouth animations are a bit weak in spots. Thus my assessment of it seeming kind of "cheap".

Well, Shi-Fa is going to give it a go with subbing this one, and I'm going to help out for as long as they can stand me. Stay tuned for further reviews, as I'll essentially get to see it translated before most anyone else. Hee hee!


Anonymous said...

The thing is, Madlax (along with Avenger, and to a far lesser extent, .hack//SIGN) doesn't have very complicated character designs. The level of facial detail in Meine Liebe is much, much higher... which I find nice, if only because I'm sick of Bee Train's signature flat-looking eyes. Not since Noir has a Bee Train anime been this aesthetically pleasing--at least for me, heh. So long as the swordfights continue to be impressively stylish and well-animated, I won't complain about the rest. ^_~

Fellini 8.5 said...

Funny, for me, the eyes have always been the best part of Mashimo's characters (I can't apply that to "Bee Train" globally, because "Arc the Lad" doesn't really make the cut for me). Even though they may be a bit minimalistic, there's something about them, a sort of "spark", that brings the characters to life for me. And he really relies on them for the delivery of the story.

Of course, I hadn't watched a lot of anime before, and am only just trying to catch up these past few months. So my "benchmark" for characters are Mashimo's, and I judge everything else through that frame of reference whether I want to or not. Heh.

I'll be giving this episode another couple of viewings as I time the dialogue, so I'm sure my opinion of this show will evolve. Plus I'm sure being a little more, uh, sober, well, that should help too!