There were three anime left out from my reviews at Beneath the Tangles. Also, I’ll give a couple of bonus reviews at the end, one of which is old school and the other very modern. Let’s begin without further ado!
1) Chaos; Child – ★★1/2
As a fan of Chaos; Head, his show rather disappointed me. If not for the final episode, it might have been given two stars instead. There is plenty of meaning to be found in that final episode. But, the mystery and character relationships, save between Takuru and Nono, struck me as very bland indeed. Overall, the show comes off as a sadistic dating game.
At least, Mio kept me well entertained. (She’s very reminiscent of Chaos; Head‘s Sena Aoi. I love characters with a disagreeable edge to them.) And, the opening song was enjoyable to listen to. Though, after having listened to it every episode, I’ve practically killed it. What else can I say? One good character can’t carry a bad plot.
2) ACCA: 13 Territory Inspection Department – ★★★1/2
This show offered the viewers a long and slow revelation of the plot and peoples under ACCA. Not many anime with such a slow plot could hook so many. I think that the overly political times in which we live contributed to the interest many fans took in this anime of political intrigue. (Now, go off and watch Legend of Galactic Heroes for a master class in politics.) The ending of the series was satisfying, but it left me wanting another tale set within this world.
The secession of Furawau brings up an interesting question to my mind: how would we modern Americans react to secession? Currently, there’s the Calexit movement, which appears to have the support of a quarter to a third of Californians depending on which poll you look at. If they won the majority in their 2019 referendum, would we allow Californians to secede peacefully as Furawau was able to, or would we devastate their state and kill secessionists as was done against the South in the 1860’s?
3) Showa Genroku Sakugo Shinjuu 2 – ★★★1/2
This show provided some excellent drama–the epic of one man’s life and his art. The first season was the better of the two, but this season provided nice closure to the story. Whenever I think of this anime, my mind will automatically turn to the first season rather than the last. Who knew that a show built upon an old-fashioned manner of storytelling could be so compelling?
The whole life vs. art debate makes the story compelling. One might say that the original Sukeroku represents life, Yakumo art, and Yotarou the synthesis between the two. In honing his art, Yotarou does not forsake human relationships and having fun. Sukeroku and Yakumo neglect one side or the other to the detriment of their humanity. The odd thing about creative people is that they’re utterly miserable and suicidal if they’re not creating, but the fulfillment of their human needs often causes them to ignore art with negative consequences: Sukeroku leaves the stage only to turn to alcoholism and indolence in order to compensate for not practicing rakugo. This is a theme not too often covered in anime.
1) Silver Fang (aka Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin) – ★★★1/2
Many of my dear readers have only heard this anime referred to in parodies like Excel Saga. It still seems to hold some popularity in Scandinavia and Korea. It takes some doing to find all of the episodes. I watched the first part on Vimeo, and the second part on Veoh. Silver Fang is a true classic with far reaching influence, and I’d encourage any true fan of the medium to watch it.
My caveat is that the first six episodes are brilliant, but the heavy emphasis on the pack, fighting spirit, and machismo of the next fifteen can make the action trite and ridiculous. (Excel Saga found plenty of material to work with, though I would emphasize that their mockery does not extend to the first six episodes.) I do not hate manly virtue, but the superficiality and fatalism of the second half of the show do much to efface what was beautiful in the manly virtue of the first half.
You’re not going to find another anime which feels more like a Jack London Novel–Call of the Wild in particular. I love their portrayal of the northerly regions of Japan. I can’t recall another anime with a focus on bear hunting or a focus on the hunters themselves. The three things to keep in mind before deciding to watch it are: 1) it’s a classic; 2) first part is a great and unique experience; and 3) the latter episodes will often have you rolling your eyes.
2) Expelled from Paradise – ★★★★1/2
This movie contains many things I love: post-apocalyptic desert setting, desperadoes against a malevolent system, the argument over real living vs. a pseudo-paradise, cool characters, and great guns. (I love how the hero uses an M14 or M1A.) The heroine works for, essentially, the Matrix in a colony of human beings hovering within the Earth’s orbit. People there live in a digital world with their brains being kept alive in incubators.
Anyway, the heroine receives a message from the rulers asking her to investigate the source of a hacking, which appears to have come from earth. (Some human beings stayed on the planet.) In a newly manufactured body, she meets her partner, who makes a living however he can. As a matter of fact, the first thing he does on meeting the heroine is to use her to gain some profit.
Their meeting leads to one fine anime. You might not enjoy it if you hate CG animation. The other two drawbacks are the fanservice and the arrogant and whiny heroine.
Well, that’s all I have. What were your favorites from the past season?