Friday, April 18, 2008


Subject: Noir
Just as I was about figuring to turn in last night, I saw that the raw for episode 2 of Kaiba was available, and that it was downloading pretty fast. "Why not?" I thought. "I've only got 100 things to do for work first thing in the morning, what's a little indulgence?"

That's really the only thing that kept me from posting about it right away; it was getting too late. That, and... this show is quite a brainful.

This episode relies a little more on expositionary dialouge than the first, though the strong and surreal visuals tell stories unto themselves. But most striking about this episode is that, if you had any notions that this was a "kid's show", those are totally undermined. Holy cow!

I mean, it's not like it got all tentacles-and-hentai or anything; aside from some occasional bummery and overdeveloped mammary-ery, it was the actions and expressions that were more adult-oriented than anything gratuitious. Maybe the dialogue, but who knows? Still, wow. It leads to a bit of mental dissonance to try and put together the cutesy style with the subject matter, even though it hints at it in episode 1.

And it makes it hilarious that way.

And a little baffling at first. The visuals lead you to realize that our little hole-in-the-chest amnesiac is actually in another body -- his own body having been taken over for, um, a little action. A blurb of exposition before the OP describes how it happens in this world, but it's a little odd and out of character at first to see him apparently eager for duty, as it were.

There's a progression of weird and fantasical things that happen, and I'm sure even with translations, some of it will retain an amount of surreal bafflement. But there are sequences, subtle and otherwise, that are absolutely a joy to watch. Keep your eyes on one scene where the outspoken girl that our alternate-bodied hero ("Warp", he's been called, apparently) has met is at one of the ship's portals, toying with these little golden organic thingies (they're explained in the dialogue) clinging to the outside of the glass -- when they slip off and whoosh away, her hand hesitates and retracts with such a fluid, subtle but overpoweringly expressive gesture. It makes the animator in me all tingly to see how much attention was paid to such a simple little scene. *grin*

Ben over on AniPages is predictably all over this show:

I've just watched the first episode of Masaaki Yuasa's new series, and I'm still coming off from the blissful high of a new dose of Yuasa's unstoppable, mad genius. I had little doubt that I would be in for something quite unexpected, perfectly warped, strangely beautiful, and very imaginative, and this first episode doesn't disappoint on any of those counts. It renews my faith in animation, and in anime in particular, at a time when I was finding myself growing impatient with the form.

Emphasis mine on that last bit, because that rings true to my heart as well. Part of why I'm sure I've been so irritable and unable to find the muse to post is that there just hasn't been anything interesting left to watch. Denno Coil was the last to do it for me.

I'm looking forward to seeing some translations finally. But I don't think I'm going to hold my breath for any eventual domestic licensing of this one -- it's totally out there to the point it would have to attract the attention of some other patron who'd bring it over for the love of it -- there's probably nothing marketable or even remotely accessable about this one. But wow, is it good!

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