Sunday, May 28, 2006

Imagine my surprise!

Subject: Noir
...when I finally downloaded episodes "28" through "30" of "Tsubasa Chronicle", then fired up "28" (that's season 2, episode 2 for pendantic fellows like me), then as I fast-forwarded through the OP (which I really don't care about), I saw... incorrectly translated by DB&L-E... Koichi Mashimo's name as director!!

Whoo hoo! *grin*

It seems that he's switching off with Hiroshi Morioka and doing every-other episode. At least for the time being.

So, of course, my biases instantly kicked in and I watched the episode with rapt attention. Go figure.

I know, it's kind of lame of me to trash the first episode, then be all enthused about the next one just because Mashimo put his name on it. And I suppose I really need to decide if I actually saw a difference or not... Hmmm.

Well, the first bunch of scenes were riddled with flashbacks... Ah, that's Mashimo-esque, alright! (hee hee!) And the camera was definitely moving all over the place. And I think everyone had a much better "spark" to them. But I'm probably projecting that myself. Go figure.

Anyway, it's been forever since I watched ep "27", so everyone should really take my analysis with a grain of salt. (duh!) I'll probably watch the next couple tommorow and will attempt to be a little more balanced about my observations. (Yeah, right!)

I also watched episode 22 of "Noein", which I guess is the second-to-last one. Boy-howdy, did they kick up the melodrama in this one. All sorts of tragic forebearing of the lives of Haruka's friends in a "future of misery" scenario made for the primary plotline (though it jumped around between a few different ones), and it was definitely geared for maximum tear-jerking... or eye-rolling if one found it a tad too transparent. At any rate, it was still a nifty bit of storytelling, and the characters still were lively and interesting like they've been all along.

And speaking of "melodrama", last night I finished up a couple of nights of watching discs 2 and 3 of the "Read or Die" series. By disc 3, the melodrama setting was kicked up to "11" on the dial; most likely to set you up for the plot twist. Though in a lot of ways, it felt more like "making this sh* up as they went along", but still, it was fun enough to put that feeling aside.

I really like the characterizations in this one; everything seems almost cliche, yet there's a few touches that totally change your expectations. One example is that, at the beginning of disc 3, they all wind up at a hot springs... and of course, that usually means gratuitous bathing scenes. Which it had, sure, but it wound up surprisingly to be more of a blood bath than the typical campy titillation.

Again, though, there was a definite manipulative attempt to tear-jerk throughout. Some of it seemed to contradict some of the other backstory told in previous episodes. But like I said, it was still fun and the characters were interesting, so it's all forgiven.

Finally, I saw that ".hack//Roots" actually did have an episode this week (#8), so I downloaded it quickly and watched that at lunchtime. It would seem that the "key to the Key of the Twighlight" has been discovered, and now the series is going to focus on getting to that. Seems simple, if mildly treacherous (traps being set and all that), but overall it's a neat episode. The characters are still interesting, and the soundtrack really works pretty well -- well, despite the occasional flashbacks to "Avenger" that it evokes. Heh.

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