Archive for the 'retrospective' Category

J2, a visual retrospective

Monday, July 16th, 2007

Warning: major spoilers ahead.

I am quite unhappy with Koinosuke’s behaviour, and, by extension, character. That he went AWOL from his quest and got married, I can understand. Not ideal, but… Heck, if his own master deserted in the same way, who am I to judge him? But pulling his daughter into this mess was absolutely inexcusable.

Finally, the bogeyman of the Global Warming put to good use. Not sure if this sequence came out funnier than the creators intended, but all the same.

The evil Frieza is very cool (well, until she turned to nasty tricks). In words of Rob Balder, “My whole life will be a success if I ever get to be half as evil as you, my Lady!”

Now I know where creators of Gurren-Lagann were getting their ideas. Caption: Kamina, is that you?!

Rarely seen style of Japanese living.

Wholly wrong chemistry. Don’t forget that Francoise is married…

Monkeys turning human were great. I liked those moments.

Francoise again.

LOL Disney animals!

Young Koynosuke and Bon.

Bon without glasses.

I think it’s quite sad when you tell a joke and nobody laughs, because it hits home too much.

Just a cool image of Frieza.

What can you say. I’m a sucker for mature women.

Astute viewers probably foresaw this from the start, but still… I saw the idea implemented in DBZ and nonetheless I thought it kind of cool. Also, they didn’t dwell on it too much, unlike DBZ.

I’d like to know just how Frieza is going to adapt to the normal life now that the overriding reason for her existence is gone. Unlike our favourite clan of retards, Odagos Sr. and Jr., she’s not a wandering ghost, so she cannot just shivel up and die, although I suspect she’d love to walk into the sky. Failing that, she might want to blend into the foster family. The final frame showed her optimistically, but with the source so full of gags you can’t believe anything. I think someone could do J3 for 6 episodes just on this material…

Nodame, a Visual Retrospective

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Nodame is a tough object for this excercise, because it produced a record number of screencaps: 646 (for a comparison, in Gurren-Lagann I only thought the frame remarkable enough to capture 240 times). With wittling so ruthless there’s a real danger to lose the essence of the anime. It’s going to be a very biased gallery: Nodame as I saw it.

Nodame is full of lulz and it was quite hard for me to let go of them, to trim the gallery down to just one. Trust me, this moment was hilarious. And the sequence before it, too.

Sometimes Nodame makes a different sort of face. I am amazed that she still looks like herself though. J.C.Staff has some good animators.

Mine’s contribution to the world of the classical music, rock style. It was awesome. Also, which Orchestra was the best: S or R*? I am totally for S.

Strength of Nodame is in characters, so I took quite a number of close-ups. This is Saiko, who made enough of an impression on me that I violated the house rules of the blog.

When Saiko and Nodame met in the bathroom, it was like watching a movie, not a lulzy series. Saiko was a fool to fail her chance, but came out stronger for it. It’s quite admirable.

Next close-up: Kuroki. What can you tell about his character from one frame? Quite a lot, actually. He’s a silent type.

Unlike Kuroki, Kyora’s close-up is not representative… But it was just too funny to see her making faces. BTW, another strongwoman.

Although they had virtually no import on the story, these club women tickled my fancy like nothing else (especially the second from the right).

In passing, Milch is great in his own way. A complex character.

But enough with close-ups. Here’s the Orchestra S playing Gershwin… with Nodame!

Nomikai is a savage ritual, I swear.


Finally, the special, Azumanga-level food. Since Miki Sakuma has progressed to director-level positions, it must be someone else. But still, the similarity is obvious.

Midori Days, a visual retrospective

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Unlike the one for J2, this entry is going to spoil minimally, but still. Caveat emptor.

Midori no Hibi was the last series from my happy anime days, and perhaps this is why it feels more special than it should. But even now I think it’s generally underappreciated, like Dai-Guard.

I already expended three great entries for beginning, middle, and end. But there’s plenty more.

One of my biggest bones with characters is that Seiji treats Midori poorly. He rejects her heart-shaped carrots, scolds her for sneezing, etc. I really want to think that I would raise above such petulance and meanniness in his place. We know that he cares for her, which is great and all, but this kind of behaviour does not bode well for their future. It’s 20 years of marriage experience speaking here.

This is a “flashforth”. Note the cat, a recurring gag, wearing the same glasses. I have a feeling that animators had fun working on this.

Shiori is supposed to play a role similar to Futaba in Shingu. Sadly, I think she’s not quite there. For one thing, she’s not as innocent in her advances. Also, the gag nature of the series undercuts her character by making her waste her screen time on the gags. And finally, she’s at the center of weirdest pedagogical case I’ve seen in a while (unfortunately, too spoilerish to discuss — I’m talking about the end of ep.06).

The series’ true otaku is not as annoying as he could be. Not unexpectedly, he drives the visit to Comiket and thus a whole episode of filler. I found the fillers in Midori rather bearable. Most or all of them are made to include some elements about Midori or Seiji, plugged into the continuity (I call them fillers because they are easy to cut), and generally are fun. It’s somewhat like Kamichu (where certain people liked ep.08; and I liked ep.12).

In some ways, Midori has a sensible world. For example, Seiji questions the fact that Midori is so skilled at housework despite coming from a typical anime rich family with a mansion.

In other ways, not so much. Little Midori never eats (if I remember right), but she certainly drinks. Does anyone else wonder what happens to the material she consumes? It probably is unfair to ask. She is a magical creature. But for some reason I find it easier to accept that she can rotate a full circle upon her attachment than problems with her body design. I would not say that my suspension of disbelief was unduly taxed overall, but there are some small yet intractable problems.

Animation in Midori is generally acceptable, and some parts are just done very well. I especially like designs of secondary girl characters like Iwasaki and friends of Ayase. But at Studio Pierrot they just cannot seem to keep it up for 13 episodes without a lapse. Azumanga, where are you?

Almost looks like a fishbowl shot, doesn’t it? I’m not telling what (or whom) they are seeing though.

The love umbrella.

This much fetish power made me reel, I have to admit. Not sure if the name signifies anything or not.

Iwasaki, it’s impossible not to love you (unless one is extremely unobservant, evidently).

This is the scene from ep.11 where Midori is trying to hold Seiji to his word. More importantly though, we can see Seiji’s pencil case. The weird part for me is, in my school students generally stopped carrying them by the 7th grade (or earlier). But I guess not in Japan. I began paying attention to it back when Azumanga included every girl’s pencil case into DVD extras as some important design element (mind, the infamous eye cheatsheets were not included). Is there a meaning here I fail to grasp?

I don’t know if I could take living in Japan, where people are happy to eat a roasted hamburger patty… I know that Seiji’s finances are rather shaky, but this is just bad.

And finally, Ayase. I like her. I think one of the points of having her around is to let Midori to remark on their similarities. Aroduc also remarked at #animeblogger that “every time having Ayase on screen was painful”, and in ep.07 I noted “OK, Aroduc was right, this is painful.” Perhaps part of the pain for me was to realize that her idiotic theatrics only hurt herself. Also, it was impossible to guess if she liked her own visions of grandeur more than reality and/or Seiji (fortunately, the question was resolved in the grand finale).

Manabi Straight, a visual retrospective

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

I finally rewatched Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight, years down the road. A small concern appeared recently that Manabi‘s magic was not there anymore, but it turned out to be unfounded.

“POWERFUL x HAPPY”, “JUST AN SCHOOL GIRLS WITH HAPPY DAYS COME UP SMILING IN EVERYDAY LIFE”: damn straight. MASSUGU, GO!

Verily, Ufotable staff knew what they were making.

Group shot.

The Ufotable’s trademark ED claymotion. Very nice.

There are no fairies.

A few people asked me “why the tomboy [as a titan]”? The reason is purely technical: Mucchi is in the foreground, so I was able to erase around her with a paint tool… OTZ.

Large parts of the animation were amazing. I was a bit critical of it on the occasion of the special but overall it’s excellent after all.

Manabi is about to rock out.

The mother of all flashbacks.

The Principal is a somewhat strange figure; in an anime where everyone shines so brightly, she is painfully weak and ordinary. So, what is the message here? Why, Ufotable, why?

Shocking, I know.

The end? No, the new beginning.

R(Shingu) := 5

Friday, August 21st, 2009

I look down on people “twittering” or “liveblogging” their anime runs because it is virtually guaranteed to be a weak substitute for humor (Jason, I’m looking at you). In fact I never saw a dump with anything interesting, not even once. Yet, in an e-mail discussion yesterday Zyl in essense suggested such infodump as a valid blogging form, especially if it has screencaps (he opposed it to the art of capturing one screencap that expresses the essense of the whole show; it is often a difficult excercise and I think the only time I succeeded with it was To Heart).

Since I rewatched Shingu for the 5th time, this may be a good time to try The Zyl Style. Poor server! The chronological order is kept, spoilers are absent to minimal.

This is how far I reached into true tears before I decided that the required emotional investment was too great, ejected the disc and loaded Shingu v.1.

The obligatory intro: it’s the future, baby.

Shingu does not have “Parential Abandonment” trope (even it looks like it at first). Go Tatsuo Sato!

Hajime slays the party with his fake naivite.

Yawning Nayuta is a big clue, one of many thrown around, but when I watched for the first time, I ignored all this stuff. Why think? It’s anime, right?


The two caps above do not quite work in a gif since the color changes. Blasted celluloid film technology. Check out how all three characters move.

“Okujou ni!”

Fourth from the left is the stereotypical English teacher, which may be fine for an anime as old as Shingu, but it’s about time they used a big black dude for it.

The note for this was “03 Harumi is not moe, just awesome”. I didn’t mean to blog this and used the m-word.

Oh, god.

A one-shot character. So good. BTW, animated.

Harumi again. For those who’s seen it, I find the logic of the scene confusing. What is the problem here?

Nayuta and Romi Pak’s voicework. At first pass, her diatribes irritated me a bit, but later I warmed up to them.

It’s not a pantheon-class facial distortion, but it’s good, not overdone.

OK, this one is not so good, not like most of them. Off-model a bit, I think.

I think I blogged this before, but one kg of meat for what, seven people? Japan is tough, even in the future.

Caption.

Oh hell yes. Hell, yes.

Nayuta-no-miko-san.

The glass, can you see it?

Odd coloring here.


The food (two shots).

I really turned around on just about everything about Shingu, except Setsuna. Something about her demeanor irritates me immensely even now.

Well, some of it is not so bad, but still.

Gesturing.

I think Isozaki is kinda cold. Pretty, yes, but remote.

OK, now Momoe can make me a henchman any time. It’s unclear to me just what she knew and when. For example, was she aware for Setsuna’s identity (through Asougi)?

LOL.

I bypassed capping this part before, so for completeness.

Futaba is withering, almost like Chiyo-chan who learned that Okinawa trip is cancelled.

Ditto. BTW, voiced by Rie Kugimiya, and says things like “wara-wara” (in jest).

LOL.

A throwaway shot on a moldy topic, but still good.

Shingu features a few awesome talk scenes. If I’m not mistaken the role of Judo club captain is played by Makoto Higo.

“Tabeta yo ne?”


LOL, right?



Hajime identifies it as “oden-pan”. Later they talk about kelp and fish cake being in it.

Can never have too much Harumi. BTW, she’s the only character (with a great degree of precision) who changes her attire.

Weird musical instrument.

As the action heated up, capping stopped. Still, one tense moment. The object in front is Shun’s head (duh).

All in all, 44 honest pictures, and heavy on the mystery food-like product. Steven’s commenters did not mention “oden”, and settled on “chikuwa”.

K-ON, the visual retrospective

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

This spoilers contained herein are hopefuly inoffensive.

The big empty room was one of the first scenes and embodied the promise of the anime.


These two profile shots of Ritsu and Mio demonstrate the general art style (off and on backgrounds). Both the kinship and departure from Lucky Star can be seen pretty well, for a static picture anyway.

Here’s a pretty picture with reflex-less hair and backgrounds. Don’t recall if this is an animated scene. Again, a lot of carry-over from Lucky Star.

The scene of the lead retard Yui trying to tell the truth is about what the early story of K-ON was overall. It’s not bad, set up in motion quickly, and mildly humorous, but a bit bland.

Tsumugi Kotobuki is the queen of K-ON and my personal favourite in the same way Miyuki was in terms of the earlier KyotoAni show. Both of them have too little screen time, although Tsumugi makes a curious character progress in the Special (unlike Manabi, it was set later than the main story in the continuity). Welcome, of course. BTW, although she is overflowing a cup above, it rather is an exception, inserted for the special moment. She’s not generally clumsy (unlike Miyuki!), because Yui takes on that role.

Here is Tsumugi again, sharing a short “moment” with the general fan favourite, Mio. KyotoAni saw fit to pepper K-ON with moments.


Another version of the moment is a choice or a doubt. It’s not directed in a heavy-handed way, fortunately.

Now what really was surprisingly common is the lump-popping violence. I honestly didn’t expect so much of it.

This is apparently what passes for SD mode in K-ON. It is mercifuly rare and appropriately used. Thanks god this anime is not produced by SHAFT.

Nodoka (on the left) has an amazing voice, which is so mature that it should’ve felt as too old, but it hasn’t. And it befits her character extremely well. If only she had a fraction more of the screen time, Tsumugi’s throne would become insecure indeed.

Here we have Nodoka’s opposite, Sawa-chan-sensei, teaching little brats a lesson or two. She is an explicitly spelled Christmas cake despite the gentle act she’s putting up with such fidelity.

For some reason these bicycles bothered me even before the ridiculously ugly work done to retrofit Azusa into the OP. Was it hard to add her here? Why wasn’t it done? I raged every time after ep.8. By the way, they adjusted the ED for the Special to add Azusa her lettered frame, which is separate by timing from the four main ones. It’s like everything they did to fix it came out pear shaped. The story of K-ON’s ED is a hilarious screw-up and a window into the series production process. They really do make it up as they go along!

The practice question almost summarizes the Azusa’s story in K-ON. In a rational departure from the longer Lucky Star, the mid-series influx of characters was sharply curtailed. It was a correct decision.

I feel like saying something about the rather ham-fisted attempt to stroke conflict in ep.11. Surprisingly it wasn’t Azusa’s doing, and you know what? It would’ve been much better if it was.

BTW, notice the color of ties that indicates the school year. I did not pay attention to it, so I don’t know what the 3rd year has.

Lots of music fans complained about how quickly Yui learned to play guitar. What’s more, she continued to do the same when she provided a way stiffer challenge to Azusa than she was set up for. I wasn’t that bothered by it; for stickers they had pretty big time gaps, which can be debated. And then Ui threw a spanner into the works.

UPDATE: Sagematt points to Nodoka’s image song at Youtube.

Sunred, the visual retrospective

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

No entry in the storied Retrospective series is exactly like the other, and Sunred‘s is no different. But without futher ado, behold.





















I may have been possibly joking now, but I was gravely serious previously. I really do think this is important.

Everyone would obviously recognize the grand finale of the first season, but what about the sequel? I feel that it does not measure up to the original, even with all faults of the latter. The segment where Red steals Vamp’s bicycle was terrible, and reminded me vividly just why I dropped the Sunred initially.

I saved a few screencaps with promiment buildings as pointers for the future anime tourism. This one is a bit different, because it’s local. BTW, Google failed to find “Curry House Teri”.

An accidential map, with strange mistakes by ANBU. I can understand translating “here too” as “Kawasaki”, but “Kanagawa” translated as “Kawasaki” obviously is a thinko.

SoraKake, a visual retrospective

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Looking for the one-screenshot representative for the failure announcement, I laughed a few times, so Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo is getting a retrospective for the first 11 episodes as a public service and a consolation prize. I used up a few good screencaps in the opening bracket post, but there were a few more left, not to worry.

This is Itsuki. She is my favourite. I really like the way the age-old stereotype of “man from mountains” was played here (and I never liked FMP). Plus, she’s just cool. And maybe a coodere too… A man can hope, right?

This is Akiha. She is the main character. She’s not bad… Also, look at her go. BTW, the weird shape of character faces is on a first-class display here. Why does Manabi get a bad rap for design, but Sorakake gets a pass? Look, I’m not saying Sorakake was unwatcheable because of it, or anything like that, but clearly a few critics have double standards.

This is Nami. She offered a tantalizing promise for 10 episodes that came to nothing.

Itsuki and Akiha: two worthy foils and great partners (Itsuki is in her schoolgirl guise).

Itsuki fanservice. Least you think I’m biased toward her, she gets basically a gravure photoshoot in ep.10 (with Hako being a cameragirl… I did not see anything like that since Haruka Amami flashed her boobs at Imber — who also recorded it).

Oh, and an accidentially naked Itsuki for good measure. Of course everything interesting was cut around.

One thing I appreciated in particular was how the mecha got integrated into the background, in the Vandread/Stellvia style. And it was ridiculously cool, too — despite being in the background (e.g. the setup opposide of Gundam).

The “fuuuuu” moment cracks me up.

The Team Rocket was adorable. Adorable! BTW, I cannot understand the rules according to which the QT marks appear and disappear at faces. Akiha’s apparently come through when she suits up. But Itsuki wears them while in civvies on a couple of occasions.

Seeing Team Rocket’s backsides made me realize that GONZO and AIC just cannot draw butts… Strike Witches was supposed to be all about camel toe and butts, and yet neither GONZO nor AIC managed to draw it well. Without seeing an alternative, viewers may not even realize the depths of GONZO’s incompetence, but then Sunrize comes along and completely demolishes SW — in passing.

I would not say this Emily was better than in SW2, but this one was in space. Or, rather, inside a space colony… The city lights in the sky are seen across the cylinder.

Campanella retrospective

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

I am going to run free with spoilers here. But it’s not like anyone is going to watch Shikufuku no Campanella anyway, so no harm done, right?

But first, sorry for the lack of the screencaps. It hurts all the more since everything is so pretty. But capturing them off the official Youtube stream is hard work. Sure, in a way FUNi deserves praise for uploading it all and not, say, dealing with Hulu which posts pause alpha-transparency! But still I am going to blame the rights owners’ greed and stupidity rather than my own lack of enthusiasm.

In particular, I do not have a single screenie of Carina’s book magic. When I saw its later manifestations, I thought: “holy shit, SDB would’ve loved it” (he is known in animeblogging circles as a sucker for pretty magic — he is also not dumb enough to watch Campanella [1]). It looked ridiculously cool, but always embedded in action.

Chelsea leads the ending chibi dance, and I do not understand why. Minette should have been doing it. Miriam and Garnet are not included (logically, the non-residency failed them).

The schoolgirl lesbians: no trope left behind. But nicely drawn!

This is a bit different (I think they plainly admire Chelsie’s chest (CV: Asami Imai)).

Oops!


The non-chibified versions of Salza and Ritos.

Ooooh, sick burn!

DUKE PUNCH!

Just realized that I do not have a decent Nick (CV: Keiji Fujiwara [2]) and Garnet (CV: Akiko Hasegawa). This is unfortunate, because the two acted in the lulziest trope exploitation trick since Druaga‘s “I am going to get married after this” (also invoked in Campanella as “I am going to treat you after this”). At some point the squad is being chased up the stairs by monsters. Nick stops to delay them… The scene is set to repeat Jill’s dream in Druaga 00. But then Garnet joins him! *facepalm* Someone need to ship the two in a fanfic.

[1] Actually, he did watch it! Only reached a couple of episodes in though. And I take a great comfort in him not knowing what taste Ritos was (I did not know either).

[2] I was wrong about not knowing his work before. With a portfolio as fat as his, it was certain… And indeed I heard him as Shirogane(-sensei) of Stellvia. Quite good. “Nay, the history may end altogether!”

Infinite Stratos retrospective

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

With the passage of time, I still see IS as an anime of missing opportunities, but it acquired more of a warm and fuzzy feeling to it. Charlotte, yes, but hey… It is what it is and let’s make beautiful memories, as “they” say.

This is a slightly spoiling entry.

Here’s the warship in the harbor that prompted CKS’ post. I identified it as a destroyer, but on second thought it’s more of a frigate. It also sticks like a sore thumb on its background.

The menu in the school’s cafeteria is heavily biased towards carbohydrates. Fortunately, they are young and exercise a lot, and hopefully they select the Salmon with Mushrooms now and again.



The art of IS is of a “flat-shade” variety, which unsurprisingly goes well with their mecha designs. The detail varies in general, but does not fill out for the greatest zooms. It generally leaves a surprisingly positive impression. Note the elaborate hair styles.

However, adding a little blur does a lot to make the picture warmer. How’s that.

Another curious thing is how the school uniform varies on the main cast. Laura wears pants. Rin’s shoulders are open. Cecily wears a long skirt. I guess the mere variation of boots was deemed not enough, even though K-ON and GA:GADC managed to show personalities through uniforms without this outright break in the disbelief.

Laura also wears a real tie, although of the same colour. Interestingly, either there was no 3-year rotation in IS, or I missed it. There must be, it is too much of a staple. But Ichika’s class had no kouhai and did not have a chance to interact with sempai, not even in cafeteria.

Cartoon violence: the only instance, actually.

BTW, note how Houki executes the kick. If you try that, then it makes a certain sense, for someone who’s extremely flexible. But my muscle memory just does not allow for it. My arms automatically fold up for protection against a counter, and although I let the hips lead, the chest follows.

Tabane: much less annoying than expected according to her stereotype.

There was mecha: magic exo-suits.

And they have gone all Eva on us.

Finally, Charlotte, only because I think she deserves a picture of her own. The “wrong harem choice” setup pops up periodically in anime. Remember Siesta of the original ZnT? That was some blog-gnashing. Dual, too. I think it was done allright here.

N.B. Actually in ZnT, there was no way for Saito to make choices — only one-night stands — due to the terms of his magical contract with Louise. If anything went on with Siesta, it would’ve ended in tears. But IS allows for a complete freedom in theory. Big difference, and more the loss.

UPDATE: Hikago comments:

also for the menu, asians usually have a lot of carbs with each meal: bowls of rice with lunch, dinner, etc, so that’s probably just what the japanese find is the norm for meals

UPDATE 2013/01/18: Ana-sempai commented:

In the first (or maybe second) episode, there’s a scene in the cafeteria where another girl offers to tutor Ichika. She points out that she’s a senior and meaningfully tugs on her red ribbon.