Tag Archives: studio pierrot

Review: Get Backers (2002) Anime | My Reviews 14 MAR 2014

getbackers anime 1Mido Ban. The man possessing the Evil Eye. Amano Ginji. The Thunder Emperor. These two men make up the retrieval specialist group known as the Get Backers. You lose something, they will get it back. And their success rate is nearly always 100%.

Unfortunately their luck with money isn’t quite that good. Forever penniless, these two unlikely partners have to try and make do with what they have while they wait for their next request.

Mido Ban is from Europe and possesses what is known as the Evil Eye. The ability to make people see dreams that he controls. He can do this three times a day, but never twice on the same victim. He also has an incredible grip known as his snake bite. Capable of exerting over 200kg of pressure, nothing can free itself from his grip. He is known as a battle genius and is as cold-hearted as a snake.

Amano Ginji on the other hand is a loveable person, with a naive air about him. Friendly to all, Ginji looks like he couldn’t hurt a fly. But he hides a dark past that still haunts his soul. Inside the mysterious city slum known as the Infinity Castle, he ruled the undercity as the Thunder Emperor, leader of the strongest gang there, the Volts. But this person, capable of generating huge volts of electricity throughout his body, escaped that life, and is now making a new start with his best friend, Ban.

Together with all the other characters they meet along their jobs, Ban and Ginji are living their lives as they see fit. They are the consumate professionals. They are the Get Backers!

Get Backers. Mido Ban and Amano Ginji. Two of the most unlikely partners in the most unlikely sort of job. Retrieval Specialists. Get Backers is an entertaining romp about people with super abilities, usually ending up battling each other.

The stories aren’t bad and the missions are always entertaining. There are some pretty good storylines, backed up with a number of witty once off episodes. Overall, the characterisation of this serious is pretty good, and it is pretty much the interesting characters that make the show what it is.

While watching it, you can’t help but be reminded of a super hero comic book. Everyone has these awesome abilities. The series tries to mix action, drama and comedy, and succeeds pretty well. Though the comedy does at times feel a little forced.

The musical score and voice acting is spot on, making for a very enjoyable watch. The animation is of high quality, with a lot of detail going into the characters.

At times, the series did feel a little boring, but as you get further into the series you begin to enjoy it quite a lot. Humorous, action-packed and dramatic, this show keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing as to what is real and what isn’t. It isn’t a bad show and you will probably enjoy it if you like a little light-hearted action.

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(Historical Note: This was written back in February 2004. Thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

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

Review: Great Teacher Onizuka (2000) Anime | My Reviews 07 MAR 2014

great teacher onizuka anime 1Meet Onizuka Eikichi, former leader of the notorious Onibaku Motorcycle Gang from Shonan. 2nd Dan Black-belt in Karate, Eikichi is as strong as he is vicious. Known as Evil Eikichi, the dauntless Onizuka was known for fighting and decimating his opponents. He obeyed no rules except those he made himself.

Six years ago, Onizuka and his fellow gang member, Danma Ryuji, gave up that life and moved to Tokyo. Ryuji attended professional school and now manages a motorcycle shop. Onizuka is studying to be a teacher – albeit so that he can get closer to all the pretty schoolgirls in short skirts. His path has been opened to him. He will strive to be the greatest teacher ever.

His chance finally arrives when he is accepted at the prestigious private school, Holy Forest Academy. He’s been assigned the school’s most problematic class to deal with, but that shouldn’t faze him too much. Using his unique approach to life and applying it to teaching, Onizuka strives to make school a fun place for all of his students. And as many lessons as he has to teach, he has to learn as well.

No matter the problem, no matter the wall, Onizuka will break it down – and allow people to begin helping themselves. Truly he is: GTO.

Great Teacher Onizuka was one of the biggest hits on Japanese television. It follows the exploits of a gangster-turned teacher Onizuka Eikichi and the lessons he learns and teaches to his students. Although Onizuka is the most unconventional teacher around, he is also the teacher with the biggest heart. He’s naivety and belief in the goodness of the people around him is refreshing, and he willingness to face certain death in order to save his students is inspiring. Plus his general perverted nature is just fun to watch.

GTO introduces an interesting and complex group of characters, and follows the story of how Onizuka is accepted as a teacher at the Holy Forest Academy and subsequently assigned to the school’s most problematic class. They specialise in terrorising and driving out teachers. It would appear that something in the past occurred to break down their teacher-student relationship. And it is up to Onizuka to try and solve this as well as chase away each problem child’s personal demons.

The stories are wonderfully and powerfully scripted, each story arc flooring one with a wonderful moral. But it is the journey to uncovering this moral that makes GTO such a pleasure to watch.

The animation for GTO is quite brilliant. The style is crisp and clean, and is able to switch to the totally ridiculous faces and expressions at any time. For prime examples of this, watch any scene involving Onizuka and vice-principal Uchiyamada.

The musical score for Onizuka is brilliant. There are two great opening and three closing titles for the series. But the real winner is the uplifting music played when any problem finally gets resolved. Guaranteed to leave a lump in your throat everytime.

Overall, GTO is one of my favourite titles of all times. Hilariously funny, it manages to balance its extreme humour with extreme seriousness. GTO is a must see for all true Otakus. Grab your motorcycle and join the legend.

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(Historical Note: This was written back in November 2003. Thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

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

Review: Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow (2004) Anime | My Reviews 18 APR 2012

Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura join up with Kakashi as they’re tasked with protecting and escorting the huge movie star Yuki Fujikaze (known for her Princess Gale movie series), back to the Land of Snow, where the final action sequence for her latest movie is to be filmed.

There is just one small problem though – the actress doesn’t want to act any more, doesn’t want to return to the Land of Snow, and is completely emotionless, making her completely unapproachable outside of her acting.

Oh, and then there is the small matter of a band of ruthless Snow Ninja who appear to have a history with Kakashi and will seemingly stop at nothing to reclaim the mysterious pendant handing around Yuki’s neck!

The difficulty with writing a movie based on a long running show which is still by airing is that you have to write something that feels as familiar as the television show but in no way changes or impacts the characters or their interactions with one another so as not to spoil the actual cash cow. This of course leads to what is commonly known as filler material, and as you might expect, all of the Naruto movies up to date have felt like filler material.

Nevertheless, this first movie, Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, from director Tensai Okamura and Studio Pierrot, turns out to actually be quite an enjoyable watch, though to get the most out of it you will need to already be familiar with the world of Naruto, as no time is wasted on backstory or character development of course. What you are however left with is a great dramatic tale with plenty of heartache, tempered with fantastic action sequences plus physical humor, the hallmark of any Naruto story.

With an already strong musical soundtrack to work with courtesy of the television series, the film elevates the aural experience to the next level, mixing in a satisfying combination of old and new sounds, complementing a great voice acting performance by both the original Japanese cast as well as the American team behind the English dub.

In terms of animation, this is a feature film and thus the attention to detail, fluidity and quality of animation is apparent, with some beautiful locations and detail, matched by great character animation and choreography, which really comes alive during the big battle sequences.

In summary, I actually really enjoyed this Naruto film. It hits all the right spots with its writing (i.e. it is a Naruto story and delivers what a fan would expect from it), choice of soundtrack, visuals, and action sequences, making for a really enjoyable shounen movie that should appeal to just about any anime watcher who enjoys the action ninja genre.

An enjoyable movie worth watching then, particularly if you are already a Naruto convert. And even if you aren’t, this is a decent stepping stone into the universe anyway.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naruto_the_Movie:_Ninja_Clash_in_the_Land_of_Snow