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Tag Archives: production ig

First Impressions 3: noitaminA ver.

Even though I have kept up with it semi-religiously for only a little more than one year (I started back in 2009, when Trapeze aired), I think I can say that FujiTV’s noitaminA time-slot has been the highlight of every passing anime season for me. It was only confirmed for me a year ago when Tatami Galaxy and House of Five Leaves (which was also the last manglobe show I ever bothered to watch) were shown, in what was, personally, the best season for the time-slot in recent times, a true example of what I believe the slot was originally all about–a chance to show more artistically tuned series combined with items and ideas normally not present in other, more..well, plain anime airing at the same time. And perhaps a little less importantly, it was the season in which Masaaki Yuasa had produced a TV anime for a wider audience (an audience, which I should say, is his type of audience) than his last 2 TV efforts–after all, there’s no beating the exposure of a movie.

Anyway, with that said, now we finally come to the main event, the main attraction, the feature presentation. The noitaminA slot this year has been going considerably strong, but not as strong as I’d hoped. Overall, it’s been a hit-or-miss kind of affair, ranging from the horribly received winter season to last season’s fairly respectable showing. Not the type of results people would have expected. Still, noitaminA the time-slot commands some kind of respect and expectation, at least to me personally, since they have made consistent strides to put out quality entertainment every season they possibly can. At least in my experience, I have not been failed spectacularly by the shows aired in that slot, as of yet. And some of the TV anime I liked a lot have aired there as well. Of course, they can do wrong, but they don’t do it often. And that’s what’s important.

 

 

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Break, Break

delicious maaya sakamoto is delicious

Usagi Drop

Blogging Penguindrum these days feels so superfluous, as there’s so many other people talking about it, inspecting every nook and cranny of it, poring through every possible bits and pieces of meaning lurking under every other image, dissecting the characters from their motivations to their personalities so thoroughly that at times I think they could do a bang-up job of writing for the show themselves. It feels like hauling a bucketful of water to an overflowing well. But regardless of all that, the show does seem like it’s just going to get better and better as it goes, if ep 5 was any indication. It was so cool, high-strung and was filled with tense and light moments that don’t miss a beat right until the thrilling climax. Ikuhara did storyboard for #5, while some guy with a strange name directed it. Yoshihiko Umakoshi returns to lead the animators and is joined by an als0-returning Sushio (who I bet did the part where Ringo dashes to steal the hat away from Himari).

 

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Young Animator Training Project #3

So it turns out that PA Works’ new spring anime Hanasaku Iroha has been generating a lot of buzz in the anime fan sphere lately (at least in those places I visit regularly). I wasn’t too hyped about it when I first heard about it, since I wasn’t really sure which direction it was going to take, but after sitting down to watch the first episode, I was pleased with what I saw. Episode 1, at least, had tight presentation, brisk pacing, plus smooth and steady character introductions and interactions. It was a nice start. Though, I’m going to have to wait until the series is at least three episodes in for me to really sink my teeth into it. What the first episode did tell me, however, was that it was wrong for me to think of Masahiro Andou as purely an action guy. His work here was impressive.

All right, moving on…

 

mamiko noto has a nice voice

 

Young Animator Training Project #3 – Tansu Warashi (Kazuchika Kise, Production I.G)

As opposed to the other two preceding episodes of the YATP, this one doesn’t have a lot of things going for it. I expected good things from this alongside Kizuna because of the name value of the staff, but I found myself a bit deflated after watching it. Not that the episode itself was bad; it’s just that it just I came away with the feeling that it was just too slimmed down to be a part of the YATP. Ojisan ran in a similar vein as Tansu, but the former just had a lot more things, well, going on. You saw deliberate and controlled character acting in Ojisan, whereas in Tansu there just wasn’t enough of a sense of vitality to carry it through to the end. I just wanted a bit more life in this ep, considering that it is a part of an animation initiative.

 

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Working Through Pain

Talking about the terrible disaster that struck Japan only a week ago is something I’d rather not do. It just depresses me, and I don’t feel right just commenting about it. Leave it to the pros, I say (only the reliable ones, that is). I just hope that the victims keep safe and stay hopeful. The world is behind them right now, and I believe they can bounce back from it.

Anyway, the third episode of Gundam Unicorn came out some time ago, and once again it proved to be worth the long wait. The original UC universe of the franchise has made its transition to the world of HD in a big way. I’m not one to think that the OVA is good merely because of the universe it’s part of, but I guess it is kind of ironic that it is the return to the original UC time-line which takes the spotlight in the Gundam revisits in recent years. Episode 3 of Unicorn stays true to the style of the previous two episodes: a smooth, streamlined flow of information balanced with enough bits of glorious HD mecha action to keep robot buffs happy. The latest episode, however, has a few climactic and emotional moments that strongly cap off the first half of the OVA series. Kazuhiro Furuhashi (Le Chevalier D’eon, Real Drive, Kenshin) is no stranger to franchise projects, but his work on Unicorn is impressive. I assume this must be his first foray into Sunrise’s signature franchise, and I’m impressed at how he’s handled the proceedings so far. The next episode should come later this year, promising more excitement. The OVA series itself will end in 2012, and I expect the rest of the episodes to be worth the long wait, as well. I think I can now understand how the people who kept up with Giant Robo many moons ago must have felt.

 

i wonder what's going on with vagabond now

 

Miyamoto Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai (Mizuho Nishikubo, Production I.G)

I’ve only heard of this film two years ago when I was lazily browsing through the internet, and I remember being impressed by what I saw. The trailer did a good job at misleading people into thinking that it was going to be yet another action-packed animated period film like Bones’ 2007 film Stranger , and I admit being one of those guys. However, those thoughts were soon quashed when the familiar name Mamoru Oshii flashed through the screen. Now I dreaded the end result of the film. I feared it was going to be yet another droning, needlessly philosophical and meandering piece of animation–his recent mode of operation. Since the 1995 Ghost in the Shell film, he’s gone increasingly more brooding, capping off with 2004’s sequel Innocence. It was a technically superb film (as expected), but I felt it was bogged down with deliberately obtuse dialogue and emotionally distant presentation. But, that’s only speaking of his work as a director. He’s still an incredibly capable writer, as seen in 2000’s Jin-Roh. That facet of his talents as a creator should prove to be a consolation for some, for in this 2009 IG feature,  Mamoru Oshii is again credited as the writer (aside from being the original creator).

 

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Pardon My French

As I was looking through the list of anime last year for my recap post a few days back, I noticed there were a number of titles that flew under the radar throughout the duration of the year. There were a few TV anime, and also a few OVAs/specials/movies. Some of those titles sounded like throwaway animated fluff (like video game/card game adaptations) but the rest actually seemed interesting.The movies were of particular interest. Obviously the means of obtaining these are different from that of normal TV anime and I felt then that it was regrettable not to be able to watch these movies due to over-reliance on fansubbers and such. Fortunately some of them eventually got released–though I wasn’t really that overjoyed after watching.

I have pretty high expectations of the other yet-unreleased films (Space Show, Redline, Colorful, Mai Mai) and I hope they deliver when they finally get out on the DVD/BD market. Mai Mai Miracle was shown on theaters way back in 2009, but I still don’t see any decent release yet, which is a travesty.


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