Notes to Old Anime

Bon soir, mes chers lecteurs!  Since these posts tend to run a bit long, my introduction shall be brief–or rather, not an introduction at all.  It’s come to my attention that I have watched 381 anime as of this moment.  So, a Ten Movie Countdown to 400 is imminent–just like I had a Ten Movie Countdown to 300 back in February 2014.  This should be fun, and–like the last time–I intend my dear readers to have a say in which films I should watch.  If you have any suggestions for me, please peruse my Anime-Planet Profile, and comment below or send me an e-mail at medievalotaku@gmail.com.

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Completed
  1. The Rose of Versailles ★★★★1/2

After Captain Harlock, this stands as the best anime classic I’ve watched recently.  Viewing this show felt like reading The Three Musketeers or another Alexandre Dumas novel, except with more tragedy.  The sad occurrences in a Dumas novel tend to be offset by the universal hope in salvation, but not so much in The Rose of Versailles.  Actually, it does exist in The Rose of Versailles, but mostly for the pure of heart rather than all except the decidedly reprobate, i.e. Milady de Winter.

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If anything bothered me in this show, it was the swordplay.  The first half portrayed some realistic and exciting duels.  In the second half, the excitement departed with the realism.  Yes, I know that filmmakers love close-ups–especially while sword are crossed; but, when your opponent’s sword has snapped in half, you’re going to use your range to advantage–not cross your forte with the opponent’s stub!  But, if that, the heavy tragedy, and the pro-French Revolution perspective (I’m not fond of the French Revolutionaries) are the only things I can critique (Did I mention its great historical accuracy?), you know it’s a great series.

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Sachi, the maid, is pretty much the best character.

2.  Eden of Grisaia ★★★★1/2

This show boasted some great animation and never ceased to surprise me each episode.  There are several scenes which made me uncomfortable (It might be advisable to skip Milliella Stanford’s seduction scene.) or nonplussed (Just what is Yuuji supposed to do with his sister alone but no one else!!??); but, these scenes keep the viewer on their toes.  Add the action sequences towards the end, and it well deserves four and a half stars.  It’s even better than the first season, though this show is not for everyone.

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3.  Dream Dimension Hunter Fandora ★★★

This show creatively melded fantasy and sci-fi into a traditional plot of good vs. evil.  It is unusual to have God play an important role in an anime.  The characters are all likable, our heroine is somewhat dynamic, and the fights are rather enjoyable.  The dumbest part comes when PK, a fellow bounty hunter, attempts to instruct Fandora on ethics, saying something like, “One who wields the holy jewel should not stain it with blood!”  Then, he destroys all his credibility by doing the same things he tells Fandora not to do, telling Fandora to do the very same thing he told her not to do, and not having even the veneer of a gentleman.  This would not be so bad were it not for how seriously Fandora took his advice until the bitter end!  Ahh!  The useless angst!  Still, I can say that I’m happy to have watched this show, and it’s always fun to see the devil lose–the villain is essentially the foul fiend.

Thanks to Gaikoku Mainiakku for catching my eye with this picture!

Thanks to Gaikoku Mainiakku for catching my eye with this picture!

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4.  Hyouka ★★★

Strong start, interesting mysteries, but a dull finish.  In the same way as Bodacious Space Pirates, the lack of tension in the plot made it hard to keep up with.  The story moved at a snail’s pace.  The anime combined Eastern and Western ideas on mystery very well: it both delved deeply into the motivations of the criminals and presented convoluted mysteries for the audience to try to solve before Oreki revealed the answer.  I’m very happy that I watched it, but am unsure whether I shall watch it again.

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Not Yet Finished

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5.  Lupin III (1971 – 72)

Here’s a series which exudes cool.  We are treated to some exquisitely detailed animation, especially the firearms:

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And yes, Jigen's my favorite character.

And yes, Jigen’s my favorite character.

Why haven’t I given this anime a chance before?  It’s first episode is a bad introduction to the series.  Thankfully, it only gets better from there.  The show reminds one of James Bond, except that Lupin never gets the girl and that the katana is the ultimate weapon.  Hopefully, that brief description is all some of you need to decide to jump into this classic!

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6.  Legend of Galactic Heroes

Yes, if you were wondering, I am enjoying Lupin III more than LOGH.  Don’t get me wrong: LOGH is an undisputed masterpiece.  I know that it will earn a place among my top fifty anime once it’s finished unless the story goes terribly awry.  For all its deep characters, spellbinding galactic and political battles, beautiful animation, uniqueness, etc., it doesn’t strike me as the most entertaining thing I’ve ever watched.  Perhaps, paying attention to real world politics dampens my enthusiasm for LOGH’s political machinations?  The show at this point still merits five stars, and any self-respecting sci-fi enthusiast, warfare junkie, or otaku needs to watch this.

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7.  FMA: Brotherhood

At present, I’ve kind of stalled on episode 16 since the friend I’m watching it with and I have very difficult schedules to coordinate.  But, some of you might be interested in the fact that I am watching it.  Despite my favor leaning towards the original FMA, I’ll suspend judgment until I reach some new material.

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8. Gintama

My love for Gintama received scant attention on my blog, especially since I watch the show sporadically.  However, I’m on episode 132 and find the episodes about the haunted hot springs located deep in the mountains of Japan, in which a blizzard has trapped our heroes, is hilarious.

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9.  RE: Hamatora

I love the juxtaposition between the two seasons of Hamatora.  The first is concerned with someone who wishes everyone to have special powers; the second about someone  who wishes to take all of them away.  Extreme individualism vs. collectivism.  Anarchy vs. Communism.  The Anti-Christ vs. Stalin.  Contrasting the villains is quite fun, but all the the characters are as interesting as ever.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this season ends.

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10.  Venus vs. Virus

How many of my dear readers have heard about this series?  It’s perfect to watch around Halloween, as it’s chock full of demons and monsters and exudes a Gothic style.  Otherwise, I must confess that it’s not a strong show.  I personally identify with the heroines’ struggles, and monster-slaying happens to be one of my favorite anime genres.  I’m six episodes in and hope that the story gets stronger as we near the finale.  Oh, and the sub is far superior to the dub.

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The antics and commentary of Lola is one of the things which add flavor to the show.

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5 comments on “Notes to Old Anime

  1. We’re flipped when it comes to Lupin III and LOGH. I tend to do a yearly rewatch of LOGH, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around Lupin, even with the gun porn.

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    • From what I’ve seen, LOGH might certainly merit that. From an artistic and intellectual standpoint, it stands head and shoulders above Lupin III; but, I might be more in the mood for fun characters and outrageous action scenes. And, I do love shows which recall those 70’s espionage films featuring James Bond, Derek Flint, or Matt Helm.

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  2. Don says:

    The word is that the end of Venus vs. Virus is a complete botch. I did watch the first half, and it’s not bad for what it is.

    Is there any anime in which the dub is better than the sub?

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    • I will say that the manga looks much more well rounded than the anime, though the anime has been fun so far.

      Actually, there are precisely three anime whose dubs I prefer to the subs: Scrapped Princess, Solty Rei, and Rurouni Kenshin. In RK, I can’t stand hearing Kenshin voiced by a woman–he verges enough on being androgynous as it is. In the case of the other two, I honestly feel that the dub version really is better.

      But, I started watching anime with other family members, and they preferred dubs over subs, so I kind of developed a taste for it. At the same time, I prided myself in being able to tell whether a dub was actually worthwhile in comparison to the sub. While watching Yugo the Negotiator in dub form–per their request, I practically begged them to switch to the sub because the English acting was so dull and dumb. They even gave the Pakistani soldiers Scottish accents! When we finally did change over, they admitted that the sub was much better, but they had already become bored of the show by then.

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  3. Arria Cross says:

    Great titles you included here. Most of them makes me nostalgic.

    Liked by 1 person

Legens, scribe sententias tuas.

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