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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Lucky Number Nine

I’ve been in a sort of funk in the past week, so I’d been more than a little out of it in terms of the goings-on around the world of anime, and it’s also why I hadn’t been paying all that much attention to blogging anything. It happens every once in a while. I don’t go after anime news on my own anyway.

Well, I’ve just readjusted the wiring and returned to the swing of things recently, and I’ve almost caught up to the anime I was keeping up with for the past months (I almost wish I didn’t pick up all the anime that I did; catching up is so troublesome). Notably, I finally had the chance to sample the first episode of Bones‘ film series Towa no Quon, the posthumous work dedicated to director Umanosuke Iida (Tide-Line Blue) who passed away a year ago. It was supposed to be his latest original work, and it was continued by the studio after his unfortunate death. After watching the first film (out of 6), I’m sorry to say that I was markedly underwhelmed. The 47-minute film felt more like your ordinary 24-minute episode of an ordinary TV anime stretched to twice its length instead of a strong and effective, stand-alone film. Rather tedious fare, the film was. I’d expected something even a tad bit more engaging, not just a bland film acted out by flat characters amidst a typical sci-fi story. Granted it was the first movie out of 6, it’s not that bad of a job, but when asked to stand on its own as a singular film, it doesn’t really hold up well.

What did save the film for me, though, were the exciting action sequences, as expected of Bones (and the film staff). Since I didn’t know any better, I had expected the battle in the first few minutes of the film to establish the tone and direction of the rest of the anime, but unfortunately, whatever flashes of greatness those few minutes had gradually dissipated in the course of the piece. There were some nice action bits at the tail-end of the film, for sure, but they just weren’t able to measure up to the excellence of the opening battle. For that we have to thank, first of all, the master action animator Yutaka Nakamura, and the guys who’d helped him out in between, Masahiro Sato and Hironori Tanaka. Nakamura’s patented style of organically furious action animation was in full-force in his section, which is easily identifiable (he was the very first animator I became aware of when I began getting further into anime), and it was satisfying, as expected, as it was filled with wonderful choreography, kinetic speed, and beautiful drawings. In between his work came, supposedly, Masahiro Sato, who I guess animated the parts with the long-haired woman zipping across the background toward the boy, with all the zooming lines and fast action. Tanaka did the initial scene where the mutant boy was running away from the guys chasing him. The flattened backgrounds and brisk, exciting movement give him away. The three of them combined to create very thrilling action in the span of a few minutes.

It’s quite surprising for me not to have heard of Tanaka appearing in a lot of TV anime lately. He did some work on the second OP of Sacred Seven and the fourth Bleach film, but other than that I’ve seen nothing else. It could be that I’m just not watching enough anime, but it still seems weird to me, especially since just some months ago the guy had appeared in upwards of four TV anime in the same season…I wonder what’s going on.

 

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The Unexpected

one of the more interesting end cards so far, for obvious reasons

A little word of warning before I proceed: thisĀ  post is actually NOT about Mawaru Penguindrum, talking about either its latest episode or some other related subject worthy of lengthy discussion. I just chose this image after watching the seventh episode because it was just, well, interesting. Out of all the shojo manga artists whose drawings I’ve seen (that is to say, I haven’t seen all that many), Lily Hoshino’s art, in my view, has a littleĀ  unique something in it that separates it from the others, though basically her drawings aren’t that distanced from standard shoujo manga fare. And I’ve also liked seeing the end title illustrations she’d provided for every episode of Penguindrum, where they are rendered spontaneously and are nicely done, at that. As for the series itself, I’m still very much interested in how it is going, especially after seeing where the plot took its story in the latest stint. It’s also nice to see those musical sequences make a return here; they’d given the ep some fresh touches of levity here and there that kept the whole affair lively and rich throughout despite the strange developments. That said, I’ll probably resume blogging the series by episode 9 at the earliest (because of some tasty rumors I’ve heard about it), but much of that still remains to be seen. We’ll see how the next few weeks go.

 

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