Author Topic: Sam Watches Anime  (Read 28114 times)

1SO

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Re: Sam Watches Anime
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2014, 09:58:11 AM »
After going different ways in the middle - something a work this dense supports - I find myself on the same ground as you with this final arc. So good to read your words, which only supports my belief that Paranoia Agent full deserves the label 'Masterwork.'

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Sam Watches Anime
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2014, 10:12:55 AM »
It's the best of Kon's work that I've seen. (Haven't seen Millennium Actress.)

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Sam Watches Anime
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2014, 10:35:28 AM »
Death Note Postmortem



Looking back on the series, I hold to what I said early in the series: Iím left without a character to root for. The characters range from psychopaths, cold intellectuals, over-the-top bags of emotions and blithering idiots. Still, Death Note is such a well-plotted show with a ton of crazy twists that itís easy to enjoy it without identifying with any character as most episodes end with you wanting more. It ultimately aligns us with the shinigami: distant, uninvested parties watching the show for the amusement it can provide us. For your own amusment, Iíll provide my rankings as well as a few standout elements.

25 Silence
5 Tactics
7 Overcast
32 Selection
36 1.28
37 New World
30 Justice
35 Malice
10 Doubt
31 Transfer
9 Encounter
2 Confrontation
4 Pursuit

1 Rebirth
24 Revival
29 Father
3 Dealings
23 Frenzy
18 Ally
11 Assault
8 Glare
19 Matsuda
17 Execution
21 Performance
34 Vigilance
6 Unraveling
33 Scorn

27 Abduction
22 Guidance
20 Makeshift
26 Renewal
15 Wager
28 Impatience
12 Love
16 Decisions
13 Confession
14 Friend




Best Scene: Potato Chips

Death Note loves to give us moments so intense and over the top that it becomes hilarious. The best combination of this is the scene where Kira comes up with an elaborate plan to use the Death Note while eating potato chips. Never has an activity so mundane been rendered so epically and been so deadly.



Worst Scene: Friendship

In the 20th episode (Makeshift), the show has L and Misa reconcile and decide to become friends. She gets excited, jumps around with Light and L, and seems super happy about everything. Not only is it a moment that is completely out of tone with the show, but also it doesnít feel true to these characters at all.



Most Likable Character: Aizawa

Of the Japanese police that work with L, Aizawa feels like the most shrewd character without ever falling into the pit of being clinically detached. He gets a couple of small moments of humanity, like when he sees his daughter in the park, and he also has a few funny scenes. Heís a sidenote for most of the series, but by the end he comes into his own and plays a key role in the final days of the investigation.



Least Likable Character: Misa

There are certainly morally worse characters in the show, but Misa feels a special role of being simultaneously annoying and morally reprehensible. She never has a particularly strong motivation and seems to start killing people more out of boredom than anything else. Her slavish devotion to Kira makes her do all sorts of terrible things in the name of ďlove.Ē Her bubbly nature is just a facade for a woman who will basically do the most awful thing because of her devotion to a man. Itís the worst kind of female character you could write in terms of both disempowerment and moral reprehensibility. At least Kira, as misguided as he is, is striving make society better. Misa just wants a boyfriend.

Melvil

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Re: Sam Watches Anime
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2014, 12:21:53 PM »
Pretty much agree with all of that!

Do you think you'll check out the live action movies? How do you feel about Gus Van Sant possibly being on board to direct an American version?

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Sam Watches Anime
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2014, 12:51:16 PM »
Are the movies roujin approved?  :D

I dunno, unless someone wants me to watch the films, I don't have a strong desire to see them. I just hadn't heard anyone say anything good about them.

GVS seems like a crazy choice for the film. I honestly could see it from the high-school angle, but I'm curious how he'd handle the supernatural elements. Color me intrigued for sure. Cautiously optimistic.

Melvil

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Re: Sam Watches Anime
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2014, 01:14:53 PM »
I seem to remember that the thing I liked most about the movies is how they found a much more satisfactory way to wrap the story up. Otherwise, I'm not sure there's much to recommend about them, they haven't really stuck with me like the show did.

Smiley

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Re: Sam Watches Anime
« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2014, 05:14:59 AM »
You make Paranoia Agent sound really interesting, it's one of those I never thought sounded like my thing before, but I might check it out.

I'm guessing that you've already seen Cowboy Bebop, because if not that should go on your lest for sure, especially if you're watching Samurai Champloo.

Also Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time if you're doing movies as well (and haven't seen them).

I've actually been trying to get into some anime I've missed lately too and have started watching Spice and Wolf. It's a pretty nice little story with lovely animation. It'a about a trader who agrees to take a harvest wolf goddess back to her homeland, and along the way they....well, mostly talk about trading economics it seems so far, but there's something about it that's just so darn nice to watch.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Sam Watches Anime
« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2014, 07:44:12 AM »
Yes, I've seen Bebop. This thread isn't for movies, but I'm definitely open to movie recommendations. I have seen Summer Wars but haven't checked out The Girl Who Leapt Through Time yet.

My next anime will be The Tatami Galaxy. Hoping to start it sometime this week.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Sam Watches Anime
« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2014, 10:41:56 AM »
The Tatami Galaxy



1 Tennis Circle Cupid

The Protagonist (Shintaro Asanuma) meets Higuchi (Keniki Fujiwara), the god of matchmaking, who tells him that either he or his best friend Ozu (Hiroyuki Yoshino) will be paired with Akashi (Maaya Sakamoto), an unusual girl that goes to their college. However, The Protagonist and Ozu have made a pact not only to be single, but to do their best to wreak havoc on the fools in college who are in a relationship. Both have become notorious for breaking up couples so thereís a delightful one of them is fated to be with Akashi.

That summary might sound like a lot for a first episode but it only covers maybe five minutes of the show. The Tatami Galaxy runs at a breakneck pace. The Protagonist narrates the story at an astounding speed and the scenes and images are succinct. While it might be overwhelming for some, this speedy style works in the showís favor as a comedy. That sped up pacing gives it the show a delightful slapstick tempo.

And while the humor is quite funny, it also becomes a device to expose a relatable and human story. The Protagonist arrives at college in the blissful hopes of finding ďrose-colored campus lifeĒ as well as his ďraven-haired maiden.Ē However, the reality becomes that he experience alienation and isolation. In response, he becomes rather jaded and cynical despite the pangs of romanticism buried underneath that cruel exterior.

Another notable feature is the animation style. Itís often flat, with a paper thin feel to it at some points. The opening title might be the best example of the flatness as the characters actual spin as if they are only 2-dimensional objects. The show also feels a bit loose with its style, more of a collage of drawing philosophies and ideas. What this does do is give the show the freedom to explore animation as a way to express feelings and ideas without restraining itself to a coherent style or the rules of reality. Itís not that these elements ever become jarringóin fact, they often complement each other wellóbut that they never feel the need to be consistent.



2 Film Circle Misogi

This episode fully reveals the structural framework for the show. The last episode alluded to it when The Protagonist reminisced that his life might not be so terrible if he chose to be involved in a different group. Before the credits roll, the entire episode rewinds. This episode begins with The Protagonist once again starting off college but this time he joins the film club.

This cyclical structure allows the show to explore that even joining a different social circle fails to fundamentally change The Protagonistís life. He still ends up being marginalized, he still befriends Ozu who he blames as the primary negative influence in his life and still feels affection for Akashi. Similar moments recur in this episode and The Protagonist comments on them as if he is experiencing them again, but without any specific awareness of the alternate life in the tennis club. I like that idea, but Iím curious if it can sustain a show.



3 Cycling Association Soleil

Three episodes in and Iím already extremely skeptical of the showís structure. The show is still delightfully funny and entertaining. This time The Protagonist chooses the Cycling Club even though he lacks any physical prowess, which leads to some great gags. There are a lot of great sequences in this episode with cool animation. The final act is perhaps the grandest moment of everything going wrong for The Protagonist.

However, hitting all the same notes a third time means that The Tatami Galaxy feels like itís already starting to stagnate. While it gives the show some thematic weight, conveying the idea that to a certain extent our choices are rather meaningless when placed against fate, it also means that there isnít any sense of growth. While I donít necessarily mean that the story or the characters should grow, what I mean is that this third episode doesnít feel like it gives the audience any deeper understanding of anything that they couldnít get from the second episode.

Maybe Iím being too much of a stickler about what the show should be, but Iím not sure that eight more episodes exactly like this will end up being worthwhile. Itís still entertaining and itís possible the show will grow, so I probably shouldnít worry about a problem that hasnít started happening. Maybe something more is going on that weíve yet to experience.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Sam Watches Anime
« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2014, 12:42:22 PM »


4 Disciple Wanted

Once again the Protagonist finds himself facing the endless possibilities of campus life before him. This time around, he does something different and decides to not chose any of the groups. Instead, he ends up in the discipleship of Higuchi, who now seems to be an ordinary, older student. Another fellow disciple of Higuchi is, of course, Ozu. The two disciples team up to wage the proxy war on another student that Higuchi is locked in deadly battle with.

On the one hand, it’s nice the show is finally diverging somewhat from the repetitious structure. On the other hand, this might be the weakest episode so far. It’s fun insofar as it mocks the pettiness and futility of fraternity wars. The war is fought through proxies to the point that no one remembers why the two groups are fighting. It’s also interesting that for the first time at the conclusion of this episode, the protagonist doesn’t accept the notion that his life would have been better if he had made a choice back in his freshman year, but the show ends up taking us back to an alternate timeline anyway.



5 Softball Circle

After the conclusion of the last episode, I was extremely disappointed that we were going back to the protagonist hopping to an alternate life in another club. However, his time in the softball club might be the most insightful episode so far. He quickly learns that the group is caught up in this false positivism and hooked on good living through natural foods. The protagonist only remains in the group because of the prospect of meeting the daughter of the CEO of the natural foods company that sponsors the group.

As the episode develops, it’s a fascinating critique at a sort of new-age school of thought about the power of positive thinking and rejuvenation through diet. The episode in particular attacks how the positivism is a thinly veiled mask for a lot of ugliness that people stuff inside and when it comes out there’s a hilarious meltdown as the illusion breaks. This is the strongest episode of the batch so far because it’s an elegant intersection of plot and theme.



6 English Conversation Circle

Faced with the plethora of choices, the protagonist decides that choosing one group will not do. Instead, he dedicates himself to three separate groups. Unlike his alternate campus lives where making contact with females proves near impossible, he is faced with the prospect of three different women. One is Hanuki (Yuki Kaida), a fellow member of the English conversation circle. The other is Keiko, a woman he corresponds with through letters. The third is his love-doll, Kaori.

It’s nice to now see the protagonist faced with a different problem: one of too many choices instead of one where he is not even able to make meaningful contact with the opposite sex. This also results in plenty of hilarity as the three relationships end up conflicting with each other. In one of the most brilliant moments of the show, there is the personification of the protagonist's sex drive, Johnny, a cowboy brimming with energy. The protagonist and Johnny have to have a heart to heart when faced with the prospect of sex, one that explores the tensions between dignity and drive.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 10:51:30 PM by Sam the Cinema Snob »