Tag Archives: anime

Review: Spriggan (1998) Anime | My Reviews 24 JAN 2013

ARCAM, a mysterious secret organization was originally set up to safeguard the enigmatic and powerful artefacts left behind by a technologically superior race that once ruled the Earth, before being destroyed by their own power. ARCAM’s private military force is enhanced by the inclusion of so-called Spriggan, humans with enhanced abilities like super speed and reflexes. One of these Spriggans is Japanese teenage delinquent Yu Ominae.

Following the latest discovery of what is believed to be Noah’s Ark deep in the Ararat Mountains of Turkey, Yu finds himself dragged into conflict as an unnamed group targets him through the manipulation of his friends. Now in Turkey, Yu must battle the forces of a USA who are desperate to seize the artefact for their own nefarious purposes, and who have sent along their own powerful (and slightly deranged) Machinists team.

But the genetically enhanced, psionic-enabled leader Colonel MacDougall has other, even more sinister plans for Noah’s Ark should he be able to claim it for himself…

Based on the manga of the same name, Studio 4°C unleashed Spriggan to Japanese audiences back in 1998. The movie was directed and story boarded by Hirotsugu Kawasaki, written by Kawasaki and Yasutaka Ito, and supervised by Katsuhiro Otomo. Hiroshi Takashige and Ryoji Minagawa had a hand in assisting the director through production.

In other words, some of the top 90’s action anime talent all had a hand in this one!

The story premise is an interesting one and certainly makes for a great set up for all the intense action that is to follow. Unfortunately the writing isn’t all that good though, as the story has a few holes and given its action-orientated nature, fails to emotionally tie you to any of the characters or for that matter the actual plot.

However, all that said, what Spriggan does do and does do well is pound you with unrelenting action that is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat for pretty much the entire 90 minute run time!

However, what really makes Spriggan stand out is its jaw-dropping detailed and smooth animation, its effortless choreography of the action sequences and its breathtaking visual style. This really is a pinnacle of 90’s anime animation techniques.

In the same vein, the voice actors all put in a great go as their respective characters, backed by a fast and tightly woven musical score.

In short, although Spriggan is not necessarily a story heavyweight that will ensure it is fondly remembered by all fans, it does however hugely satisfy all gun fight action fanatics and based on its quality of animation alone, it should definitely be regarded as a 90’s anime treasure!

Worth picking up if you want a nice adrenaline boost from the 90’s then.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spriggan_(manga)

Highschool of the Dead: Episode 12 Anime 18 OCT 2010

All Dead’s Attack

It is the start of Armageddon as China and the United States start tossing nuclear ballistic missiles at one another. Despite the joint US-Japanese air defences, one of China’s retaliatory missiles break through, resulting in a massive EMP burst that instantly fries all electronics and brings virtually all machinery in Japan to a standstill. Of course, this means the defences of the estate stronghold is now basically down, inviting a full scale invasion  by the zombies! (or “them” if you still want to be a purist)

So apart from the big decision the group still needs to make on whether or not to stay with Saya’s parent’s group, they now have to contend with a full frontal zombie attack – with no viable escape route in sight!

So the first anime season of the frustrating in terms of potential zombie horror survival Highschool of the Dead comes to an end, obviously leaving a huge opportunity for sequels thanks to the series’ short 12 episode length, but ending off with a satisfying enough mini conclusion in terms of the kids’ making some necessary big decisions and of course simply continuing with the fight just to stay alive.

It’s nice to see director Tetsuro Araki tear himself away from the mindless and pointless fan service he so mercilessly drenched what otherwise could have been a pretty awesome series with, and instead stick to what made the show so exciting in the first place – zombies, zombies, zombies and some exceedingly cool, over the top, mind blowing action!

True, there are all the usual and expected sentimental little bits to get through, but with those all out of the way, the series ends off with a proper and exciting bang, making for a worthwhile episode to watch.

As per usual, the animation is slick, full of the necessary detail and beautifully colored. In addition to the visuals, Kishida Kyodan and The Akeboshi Rockets’ opening track continues to be pretty damn brilliant while the tail gets wrapped up in the usual pleasing fashion by yet another random Maon Kurosaki song, a gimmick that has worked well for this particular series.

In conclusion, the conclusion for Highschool of the Dead delivered exactly what you would expect from a 12 episode long series (in other words not a real ending so to speak), does it in style, steps back ever so slightly from the unnecessary fan service that was dragging down the credibility of the show and leaves you wanting some more.

In other words, no real reason not to catch it if you haven’t yet! :)

Download Highschool of the Dead 12: Removed

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highschool_of_the_Dead

Marvel Anime: Iron Man: Episode 1 Anime | My Reviews 12 OCT 2010

Iron Man Arrives in Japan – So Marvel’s Iron Man has come to Japan at last, under the steering hand of comics maestro Warren Ellis and anime director Yuzo Sato, who bring to us a 12 episode long anime series from the combined efforts of Marvel Animation and the legendary Madhouse.

According to the press releases Madhouse has been given free reign with Marvel’s house of superheroes, meaning the potential for unchained re-imaginings with a Japanese slant is heavily on the cards, starting off with Marvel’s current film poster-child, Iron Man.

Marvel Anime: Iron Man episode 1 kicks the proceedings off and unlike the recent Iron Man: Armored Adventures which is more geared towards kids, Iron Man puts the familiar playboy billionaire genius Tony Stark right in front of us, making his way over to Japan in order to oversee the completion of his ambitious arc reactor project which seeks to bring free energy to the whole of Japan.

However, one thing no one could have expected is that Tony Stark is also in the process of stepping down from his role as Iron Man, instead handing over the reins to a new generation of pilots who will be piloting a new Iron Man model nicknamed the Dio.

But of course, for a man as flamboyant as Tony, fitting into the more culturally reserved Japan is going to prove tough enough on its own, never mind the fact that despite his desire to step down, a sinister organisation known only as the Zodiac is about to rear its very ugly head!

Episode 1 is a solid start to what should be an entertaining anime series, even if it clocks in at the short 12 episode mark. We have already been given a good plot line to follow up on, been introduced to some sinister new enemies for the armoured hero and more importantly, been introduced to all the necessary supporting characters who no doubt will keep us entertained as the differences between the West and East are further highlighted as the show progresses.

In terms of the animation, once you get over Tony Stark’s rather foppish hairstyle and face lines, you’ll realize that this is one slick animation presentation. Fluid, great detail and some fantastic action sequences make for a very good looking, and enjoyable anime experience. The CG is particularly well handles and integrated into the 2D animation and as a whole, Iron Man, simply put, looks damn good.

Similarly, the soundtrack together with both the opening and closing music tracks are all a hit, in addition to which, it must be mentioned that Keiji Fujiwara provides a rather fitting voice to our playboy Mr. Stark.

In other words, a good start for what looks to be a decent anime series well worth checking out, particularly if you are as big a Marvel fanboy like I am! :)

Download Iron Man 1: Removed

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Anime

First Impressions: Kamen no Maid Guy Anime | My Reviews 08 JUN 2009

Kamen no Maid GuyKamen no Maid Guy is a 12 episode long anime series produced in 2008, based on Maruboro Akai’s comedy manga series of the same name. The story revolves around kendo-loving, samurai philosophy-spouting Naeka Fujiwara and her brother Kosuke, heirs to the great Fujiwara fortune. However, Fujiwara family members in line to inherit have traditionally all been knocked off by some unknown assailant and as such Zenjuro Fujiwara, Naeka’s wealthy and doting grandfather, has enlisted the aid of two fearsome combatants as maids for Naeka and Kosuke, in order to guard against any attempts on their lives as Naeka rapidly approaches her 18th birthday.

But while reserved Fubuki, the beautiful but deadly housemaid, easily manages to blend in with normal society, the towering muscular features of Kogarashi, the beast-like titular ‘maid guy’ doesn’t quite fit in so well. After all, this is the man who is said to be absolutely invulnerable, possesses 37 senses (including x-ray vision and USB connectivity) and has a complete lack of grasp on the concept of personal space or tact – essentially a man that can in no way be described as… well, normal.

Needless to say with loyal, but abnormal bodyguard maids like these hanging about 24/7, life around the Fujiwara household is going to be anything but dull!

So far after the first couple of episodes of this completely insane, off-the-wall and extremely comedic ecchi-tainted show, I have to admit to absolutely loving the silliness of it all. Yes, there is a lot of bouncing boobs, panty flashes, and bra dropping to be had, but on top of this easy to hit slapstick comedy there are some genuinely funny moments and scenarios that have been dreamt up along the way. The comically-designed characters in particular are a blast to take in and the varied use of some fun but smooth animation transitions work well with the quickened pace of the story-telling.

Square-jawed Kogarashi is one of the best characters of this motley cast by far, easily stealing the show in very much a killer Johnny Bravo kind of way. The man means well but his methods are just a little… questionable.

Top all of this off with a very fun musical score and some excellent voice acting and you’re left with a fairly silly, vapid slapstick comedy with lots of ecchi undertones but strong enough in the laughs department to leave you with a silly grin on your face and some big guffaws along the way.

In other words, tons of fun if you feel like catching something stupid for a change! :)

Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamen_no_Maid_Guy

Review: Zipang (2004) Anime | My Reviews 01 JUN 2007

Mirai, an improved Kongou-class Aegis guided missile destroyer, is one of the newest and most advanced ships in the entire Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF). Her crew, also one of the newest, is lead by Capt. Umezu Saburo and Executive Officer Kadomatsu Yosuke. While running scheduled training exercises one day, Mirai encounters a fierce storm that throws their navigation systems into temporary disarray. After a few minutes of recovery, the crew is shocked to discover that they’ve been transported back in time to June 4, 1942 — The Battle of Midway, during World War II. Letting history take its course for this battle, they manage to avoid the conflict firsthand and make a vow to remain annonymous, changing history as little as possible. However, when the crew comes across the dying Lt. Commander Kusaka Takumi, XO. Kadomatsu’s instincts to save lives takes over, changing the course of history more than he could’ve imagined.

ZipangZipang is one of those anime series that grabs your attention firmly by the throat and refuses to let go, even for a second. Set in World War II, you would expect a non-stop action-packed thrill-fest, but instead Zipang produces a solid, character-driven story with just enough twists and drama to keep you on the edge of you seat at the end of every show. The storyline that weaves its way throughout the series is that of this crew, displaced in time, trying to do as little as possible to change time itself, in the middle of a war zone where their very superiority makes them an essential target for all parties involved.

The movie pays close attention to wartime details and you get the feeling that everything right down to the nuts and bolts on the ships are the result of an intensive research study. That said, the animation is absolutely gorgeous, with the ships, aircraft and vehicles reproduced with an extremely sharp level of detail. The use of unobtrusive CG also adds to the whole experience, making Zipang very easy on the eye indeed.

The sound effects and musical backdrop of sublime, blending in with the visuals so seamlessly and powerfully that they provide the perfect backdrop for the unfolding action. The voice actors as well are more than competent and there is really almost nothing a person can complain about.

And while I say that this is more of a military drama than a slugfest, make no mistake there is still plenty of action scenes for those more interested in action over substance. Extremely realistic dogfights and naval battles abound, with even some land conflict thrown in for good measure too.

In any event, Zipang is a strongly written anime that any one with even the slightest interest in World War II history or the military in general – will thoroughly enjoy.