Saturday, January 14, 2006

"New to me" roundup

Subject: Noir
(I wanted to post my impressions of these last night while it was fresh in my mind, but I've been rather tired and going to bed early of late, so this'll be a tad short and dry...)

"L/R (Licensed by Royalty)" -- part of my "widening the net" strategy, I plucked this one off of one of the GreenCine lists. When I popped it in and got to the menu, the little ska ditty with blaring horns set me up in a positive mood. It told me it was going to be "fun". Sure enough, it was just that -- "fun". It's kind of a cross between "Miami Guns" and "Kaze No Yojimbo", oddly enough. The humor is rather muted and a tad witty, and totally eschews the dreaded "superdeformation" and most other cliches that run rampant in the former, and favored maintaining the latter's somewhat more "natural" character style. It also had the latter's "cheap" animation, but I think that the characters themselves were more interesting and had more spark, despite lacking any real complexity or nuance. The setting was rich in realistic detail (with plenty of appearances by various Jaguars coloured in British Racing Green), though it was set in a "faux-European" alternate universe.

Anyway, it made for a reasonable bit of light viewing, and while I don't expect it to really go anywhere, I think I'll stick with it for a bit.

"Gankutsuou" disc 2 -- GreenCine pretty much shipped this one out to me the day it was released, so I'm able to get an early crack at it. I kind of slammed disc one a bit hard when I saw it, and I can't say that it did much better with escaping the clutter this time either. Far more attention was paid to overloading the backgrounds and the design than there was to the characters' performances, or to the narrative itself. Most of the characters were animated as a series of rather cliche facial expressions -- this one is "happy", this one is "scared", this one is "greedy", etc., etc. All of which had the problem of distancing me from them rather than helping me get caught up in their world.

Occassionaly it breaks free of it, though. There were, in fact, a few "genuine moments", fleeting though they were, where I did get caught up in it a little. Eugenie's character caught me by surprise for a moment early on, for example, with an unspoken reaction that actually said quite a lot about her that had been masked earlier. So, I take those little sparks for what I can, and I think they may be enough to carry me through another disc. Otherwise, the story seems to just be an exercise in filling-in-the-details of what we've already figured out, and possibly waiting for the "clever twist" in case we're just getting set-up for one.

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