Tag Archives: Madhouse Production

Review: Metropolis (2001) Anime | My Reviews 17 JAN 2014

metropolis anime 1Metropolis: A future society, where humans and robots co-exist. A giant city-state, atop of which rests what could be termed a symbol of the advanced civilisation, the newly completed skyscraper Ziggurat, where an opening ceremony is underway…

During the middle of a florid speech by Duke Red, the prime mover and shaker of Metropolis, a disruptive party crasher is shot and killed by a young security guard. But after it turns out the gatecrasher was just a robot, the young guard goes nonchalantly on his way. Two of the bystanders at the scene watch with great interest. They are Private Detective Shunsaku Ban and his travelling companion, his young brilliant nephew, Kenichi, both of whom have just arrived in Metropolis on the trail of a case.

Their investigation leads them to a laboratory, where a fire breaks out after they break in. Escaping by the skin of his teeth, Kenichi has a fateful encounter with a girl, Tima, who is actually the robotic double of Duke Red’s deceased daughter. Tima has no idea that she is a robot, nor is she aware of the fact that she was secretly imbued with enough power to control the world.

In the midst of the madness surrouning them, the human Kenichi and the robot Tima open their hearts to each other, even as they’re stalked by a persistent killer.

Rock, the young leader of the vigilante Marduk party and adopted child of Duke Red, has no plans to allow Tima to become Duke Red’s successor. He instead plots to remove her as an obstacle. But Tima is eventually abducted and imprisoned by her ‘father’, Duke Red, who reveals her robotic origin to her and his plan to place her on the seat of world power. Though she doesn’t know it yet, the fate of Metropolis and all human-robot relations lies in Tima’s hands.

Metropolis is one of those awe-inspiring large-scale movies. Using classic Tezuka animation and writing style, Metropolis manages to instill a feeling that you are watching a classic in the making. The storyline is well plotted, building slowly until it erupts with a huge crescendo. The dark and gloomy locations and animation lends to the dark and brooding tale that unfolds, adding mystery and spice to the plot. The characters are well rounded and grounded in their world, making it easy to draw the viewer into the story.

As mentioned, the animation employs the classic Tezuka style, which means its cartoonish look may detract some viewers. Indeed, this style, although famous in its own right, is hardly ever associated with anime nowadays, especially to the younger generation of anime watchers. The backgrounds are lavish and the amount of cleverness and detail put into the design of the characters, robots and objects that interact with one another is a wonder to behold.

A film of this scale would be lost without a great soundtrack to match the story, and the sound of Metropolis does not disappoint. Employing the grand sound of the orchestra, the music and melody changes and flows to help boost the film to new and even greater heights.

But all this praise aside, I find myself hard-pressed to give this film a good rating. Perhaps I’m a jaded anime-watcher, but something about this film didn’t deliver all that it should. It is a highly polished production and a good story, but there is something lacking. At least that’s what I felt. Perhaps it was the pace at which the story would speed up and then slow down, I just don’t know. But it is this something I fear that will mean that this movie will not become the classic it was so meant to be.

metropolis anime 2

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

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolis_(2001_film)

Review: Trigun (1998) Anime | My Reviews 21 NOV 2013

trigun animeVash the Stampede. The Humanoid Typhoon. The man with a $$60 billion dollar bounty on his head. Just his name strikes fear in the hearts of innocents. Any town he sets foot in suffers untold catastrophe. But with that sort of money on his head, all sorts of lowlifes are out to get him.

The problem is, the sandy wastelands littered with small towns makes information interchange difficult. So no one is really a hundred percent sure just what Vash the Stampede looks like. Some say he is a blonde-haired giant. Others say he has short legs. Rumours have it that he wears a red coat, has earrings in his ears and carries a big gun. But no one knows for sure.

Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson are from the Bernadelli Insurance Group. They’ve been appointed as disaster investigators, charged with keeping an eye on Vash 24 hours a day. But first, they have to find out just who is the real Vash. And that is not going to be such a simple matter.

Just what makes this legendary gunman tick? What is he after? And why does he act like such a bumbling idiot most of the time!?!

Trigun is a superbly written space/cowboy comedy drama, much in the vein of Cowboy Bebop. The writing of the legendary gunman who seems more like an idiot to the untrained eye is brilliantly done and the series can’t help but grab you. The plot shifts seamlessly from the comedic to the dramatic, as an epic story of pain and disaster unfolds.

The main characters, namely Vash, Meryl, Milly and Wolfwood are well-rounded and well-designed. You can’t help but feel for these characters as the series progresses.

The animation is top notch, blending realistic scenes with super-deformed events perfectly. The humour is especially well portrayed, particularly in terms of character expressions.

The music soundtrack and voice acting are of high quality. The only annoying bit that I can think of is the end track. At least they could have changed it halfway during the series, couldn’t they?

Overall, Trigun is one of my favourite series. It is always capable of pulling a lot of laughs, but it packs in the drama as well, and before you know it, you have wasted away the day watching the entire series. A very enjoyable watch, the western feel to the show makes for a nice change of scenery. Many people compare Trigun to Cowboy Bebop, but I must be honest in that I place Trigun above it. Trigun tells a heartfelt story about a man who struggles to uphold his principles in a world where he shouldn’t be able to. And that is something I believe everyone should strive for.

Enjoy the show. (And watch out for that wide-eyed cat. It just never seems to go away)

trigun anime series

(Historical Note: This review was written way back in December 2003. Pleasingly, my writing has improved greatly since then.)

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