Friday, June 09, 2006


Subject: Noir
Okay, not really "WTF"... In fact, almost the opposite.

That said, I actually got caught up in "Gankutsuo" disc 4 a little more than previous discs, though I was still kept at a bit of a distance by the thinness of the storyline. The moments were pretty good. The art direction is something I always thought was pretty good, though it tended to emphasize the backgrounds so much that the foreground got lost -- that has been improving of late.

Still, I guess my biggest dissappointment with the show is the fact that, because there are so many good things going on with it, I think it's totally blowing it's potential. More often than not, the animation is rather lifeless and wooden. There are a couple of shots that aren't, but on the whole, shortcuts aside, the animation just doesn't come across as genuine life and movement. Flashy, gaudy moving manga, for the most part. But it's inconsistent; every now and then, one of the animators gets it right. The ones who don't, well, they distract me a little too much.

Story-wise, there are a number of well-written moments. But on the whole, it's still rather predictable, or at the very best, cliche. Tonight I turned off my cynicism a little, so I got into it a little more. But as it was happening, I could only just contain my desire to roll my eyes now and then.

But let me reiterate what I like about it: It's very unique, with a well-studied grasp of experimental techniques from a non-Japanese background. There's a lot of effort put into the details and the art direction that make it quite lush and rich. And even thought the story framework is rather long-in-the-tooth, it carries itself forward without being entirely vapid or obtuse.

It's just the spoiled potential that gets on my nerves and makes me get a little negative about it. A unique, creative story; consistant animation; a better balance between artsy shenanigans and real look 'n feel -- those things would have made this series unstoppable to me.

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