Friday, August 17, 2007

Taco taco taco-night

Subject: Noir
I've been randomly revisiting a number of "El Cazador de la Bruja" episodes, while thematically cooking up tacos for dinner. Actually, I've done this twice -- last week and this evening -- but I haven't quite come up with what to post about it.

Obviously, early on, "El Cazador" has given me a little bit of anguish. It's really not the kind of thing I wanted to see as the much-anticipated "third installment" of a "pistol-packing-babes" trilogy. But as superficial as it seemed at first, there's some subtle-yet-simple things bubbling under the surface that is helping me enjoy it more than I was earlier.

Or, a few of the "stinker" episodes have lowered my expectations enough that I'm more than willing to accept whatever tidbits it's throwing at me. Whatever. It's all good.

I dialed back to a few of the earlier episodes to see if they seemed different to me now that I'm more accustomed to the style. And sure enough, I liked them well enough. I couldn't bring myself to try and rewatch that awful episode 12 (the gun otaku), but even the convent episode with the nuns and the trannies was watchable, otherwise.

There are a lot of little in-jokes spread throughout. Most of them rely on an ability to recognize the "Special Guest" voice talent. I don't have a lot of ability there, but thankfully other memebers of the 'Fan do. But they still haven't reported all of them... for instance, the recent scene in the fancy restaurant where we see the sculpture from "Meine Liebe" in the courtyard -- I would guess that the two guest male vocals are from that series. But I can't really tell, and I can't read the credits. In the "kokopelli" episode, Makoto mentions the guest as having something to do with David Niven, which is kind of baffling to me.

But beyond that, there are a lot of little gags scattered everywhere else. I'm probably only spotting some of the. But there are a number of wonderful little visual touches that, though I miss them the first time around, come through quite loud and clear when I give it a quick rewatch or two.

Example: in episode 13, the destroyed "biohazard" town, there are crosses everywhere, like an awful graveyard. And 'Fan member Nae pointed out a shot where they drive through a noose, like a trap. Most of the weaker episodes don't quite have this level of symbolism, but more and more, the Hand Of Mashimo is more evident, and I find that quite satisfactory when it is.

Not perfect, though. There are some timing and pacing issues that still miss the mark, even in the latest episode 20. But there's still a lot of subtle, and not-so-subtle, humor and symbolism to be found scattered about. In episode 19, we leave the tattered billboard of "Amigo Tacos" behind in the rearview mirror -- that joke has been beaten to death and now we're leaving it behind. Awesome (I liked the joke a lot, obviously, but I've been ready for it to be over for a while now). The continued presence of Liliro and Ricardo are suggesting a lower- and upper-bound of Ellis' and Nadie's adolescence. Jodie fingering her Inca Rose a bit too much...


I've made a number of random observations over on the 'Fan, and my attitude has pretty much levelled out regarding the quality... mainly because the quality has been noticably better. And I've said all along that I enjoy the Nadie-Ellis dialogue exchanges quite a lot. I'm also liking Ricardo more and more, though I'm still a bit confused as to whether or not his role is more than just the symbollic "upper boundary" I mentioned before.

As much as I'm enjoying it though, I can't help but feel the tiniest bit cheated. I wanted more like "Noir" and "MADLAX". I still want more like "Noir" and "MADLAX". I don't think I'm going to find anything else like those unless Mashimo and Kitayama decide to go for it again.

Or if I make one myself.... Hmmm....

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