Monday, October 29, 2007

Around and around the Roundup goes...

Subject: Noir
There hasn't been a lot to write about lately.

Yeah, I watched the end of "El Cazador" with subtitles, but I'm not entirely sure I have anything new to say about it that I haven't already complained/ruminated/speculated about. I'll revisit the whole series one more time soon enough, and maybe gel it a little more then. For now I'm trying not to think about it too much. *sigh*

More enjoyable, and getting into the thick of things by jumpstarting the plot again, is "Dennou Coil". All of the sub groups are way behind, but a couple of episodes showed up a little while ago, and they were quite excellent. We start getting into the deeper mystery and the suspense surrounding it. And as usual, the animation and presentation are top-notch. Can't wait to see how this plays out to the end.

Jumping out of series and into movies for a minute, I also greatly enjoyed the animation in "Tekkon Kinkreet", a full-length feature recently out on disc. The character animation is generally excellent and engaging, and the designs and art direction are quirky and fully overloaded with minute detail. However, from early on, the camera effects and manic pacing really made it hard to focus on any of that detail, which I suppose was effective as a way of evoking a bewhildering bit of confusion at the beginning, but I mostly found it a waste and wished for some focus already! Still, it evened out pretty quickly and it was possible to latch on to the characters and the storyline once it settled into it's bizarre little groove.

There were some aspects of the characters and their interactions that were bordering on annoying at times, but overall I was digging the fresh and energetic feel and how much it was finally different from everything else I'd been watching lately. A lot to like about it, and I'm looking forward to picking it up, once the HD format wars finally settle down and I jump into that game.

Another movie that I thought had great characters and a richly-detailed setting was "Junkers Come Here" -- a movie that is the exact polar opposite of "Kinkreet", of course. It's a sedate, calm slice-of-life with natural (though sometimes extra-low-framerate) animation style and accurate depictions of the surroundings and props. It seems to be a sweet portrayal of a young girl with a talking dog -- a secret talking dog, and a rather amusing one at that. However, even though it seemed to have all these nice qualities, I wound up stopping it about a third of the way through.

Because I was bored.

To be fair, I'm not the target audience (except in my role as animation technique-junkie), and I've been a bit irritable and short of attention lately. So even if the show does go on to be more dramatic, or more fanciful, or more endearing, or whatever, I really didn't have the patience to find out. Ah well.

Speaking of "bored", I'd read through the various summaries I could find of the new fall season, and wound up downloading a few just in case there might have been a "hidden gem" in there:

I was hoping maybe "Dragonaught" might give me a touch of the liveliness that was in "Romeo x Juliet" -- Nope. Cliche pile of dull.

"Rental Magica" had a bit of a Bee Train connection in the staff, but nope. Definitely nope. Don't know what I was thinking even attempting it.

"Moyashimon" (aka "Tales of Agriculture") was rather zany in the OP & ED, and the premise of these little cartoony microrganisms flitting about has the potential of interesting little bits of whimisical character animation, but I really don't think I can sit through the rest of it just for that. I might try a couple of more just to see, but otherwise...

Three that I barely got 5 minutes into were "Minami-ke", which I was checking to see if it was the next "Windy Tales" (totally nope), and "Mokke", which I was hoping might have more of a "Mushishi" vibe (also nope). Ah well, didn't hurt to check. The third was "Blue Drop", supposedly an epic shoujou-ai sci-fi, and while it did open with one of the characters by the voice of Vanessa Rene (!), the next scene betrayed it's ponderous weight, weak wooden style, and lame stiff character animation all rolled together in one introductory sequence, and I bailed out.

Still on my "I'm curious" list is "Ghost Hound". The production value and the style's okay, though it's a little bit stiffer animation than I'd prefer. A couple of characters are annoying right off the bat. And there's an unavoidable "icky" edge to what I assume is going to be the horror/suspense/mystery angle of the story. So we've kind of got a cross between "Kino's Journey", "Texchnolize", and the typical "clueless schoolkid" show. And not enough of the "Kino's Journey" part, either beyond some superficial aspects of the character design. So, we'll see.


Anonymous said...

"Rental Magica" had a bit of a Bee Train connection in the staff

And the cast, apparently Shizuka Itou (Nadie) has a role in the series, how big I don't know. I haven't watched the show yet, definitely will now that I know she's in it. Loved her performance in Cazador so I'm interested in seeing what she's like in another series.

Fellini 8.5 said...

While I somehow managed to spot Vanessa in the one show, I'm pretty darned bad (or blissfully blessed) when it comes to discerning voices from the character, so I have no idea which one she was.

As with most shows, if it's not animated to my tastes, the seiyuu can't save it for me anyhow... *grin*