Saturday, November 18, 2006

Chibi flashbacks and alternate universes

Subject: Noir
I got a chance to catch up with "Fantastic Children" disc 4, of all things. Or, better titled, "all the flashbacks that explain most everything".

We get into the actual backstory of the Princess Tina, and what was going on on her home planet, with the scientists who became the "Children", and it's a rather neat story. Nothing particularly unique or insightful, but otherwise chock-full of the good-ol' melodramatic standards that are time-honored traditions in most all storytelling. That is to say, there's actually storytelling going on, and it's quite acceptable.

It's a departure from where the series was going, in some ways, but it still fits in quite well. I didn't quite expect it to delve as far as it did into the past, but while they're there, it's interesting enough to want to keep following along. We get into the usual "doormat triangle" aspects (the "I can deal with being 'just friends', really" angle) and other things that would otherwise make me cringe, yet frame it in a sort of epic fantasy realm that makes it watchable even for an old cynic like me. And it's a little tiny bit difficult to place the "flashback" characters in the original story, but I think the subtleties in their expressions are allowing me to map them accordingly. If I were able to retain their names at all, I'd chart them out, but I can't, so I won't bother.

Moving on, I was going to hold back on commenting on "Tsubasa Chronicles" until I had a chance to watch the last episode for the season. These last few episodes of this last arc were mostly directed by someone other than Mashimo, but overall, they have been rather interesting. One thing's for sure, this "Chaos" guy is a total dick. It was pretty obvious that he was planting fake memories via fake feathers into Sakura, and doing Sarkura wrong like that is defintely an anger-provoking act.

That said, there have been way too many "standing around" or "just staring" moments in this arc. Grrr. And the cut songs. Oy. Let's just stand around while Yuki Kajihura's vocalist goes on about some psuedo-romantic notion some more. *sigh* Still, it's nice to see Sakura own up and tell Chaos off in ep 25... calls him a coward to his face. There's not quite as much adoration of the Sakura character like there is in the first series, but you still can't help but root for her and Syaoran more than anything. I'm looking forward to wrapping up the season, and I'm also looking forward to whenever season 3 gets underway. It's grown on me that much.

I finished up "Spider Riders", at least up to ep 26. It's supposedly cancelled in Japan, it's dissappeared in the US, but it's still going in Canada. Quite a shame that there won't be more Japanese episodes, because those were really getting quite interesting, despite my inability to truly understand the narrative. The whole mystery around Aqune is probably the core of it all. She's all the more mysterious when I have to rely on the visuals to tell me what's going on; I suppose I'll subject myself to that awful Canadian dub a little more just so I can catch more of that storyline.

Otherwise, there's still moments that are quite subtley funny, especially with the classic comic-relief character embodied by Grasshop. Damn, I mean, he even has kids! The Japanese voice for him is hilarious, and the scenarios, while simple, really play up his character. I find myself looking foward very much to the (hopefully quickly arriving) region 1 DVDs. And I hope the Japanese lapse is actually just a hiatus and not an actual cancellation. I'll have to ask around to see.

It's a pity that the show didn't attract much attention from the usual anime fanbase, because it's really quite clever; far moreso than most of the usual boy's fighting genre. But it's been written-off from the beginning as a "Canadian" show without even trying to find out the facts behind it's production. Oh well, I guess everybody can't be Bee Train fans like me. *sigh*

Finally, more "*sigh*"... I'm still watching "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" for some reason... It's a tad addictive, though I'm afraid I can't say it's for any highbrow reasons that a snob like me could admit to. Like I said before, it's this year's "Kannaduki" without the shojou-ai. There are strange little twists and a sci-fi aspect to it that makes me keep coming back for more. And the characters are interesting, albiet nearly stereotypical. Nearly. It's the slight differences that are probably playing the most in keeping me watching.

I'm getting a little worn-out by it though. It's getting hard to imagine that there's anywhere else that it can go that will be interesting enough. But I guess that since I'm up to episode 10, and I've only found up through 14, that we must be getting close to the end. So I guess I'll finish it off one way or another.

Oh, post-"finally", "Red Garden" still wasn't all that brutal this go'round either, but we're getting a little tiny bit closer to what happened to our conflicted and anguished (undead-teenage-fashion-model™) gals. And we were almost about to break out into another song, though it didn't quite pan out that way this time. At any rate, it's still different enough for me to keep with it, even though the animation is kind of extra-limited, and the ED is getting lamer and lamer every time I see it.

No comments: