Quick Takes for Old Anime

It’s been a little while, my dear readers.  It looks like the regular anime season is past the mid-point, so I should write something up about what I’m up to.  If you recall, most of my current watch list consists of old anime on my backlog.  I did make an exception for Cells At Work, which was recommended by MIB of MIB’s Instant Headache–an excellent recommendation.

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Most of you are familiar with the idea and the format of Quick Takes, so I’m just going to jump right in.


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Vampire Princess Miyu TV (1997-98) comes pretty close to being a masterpiece at ★★★★ 1/2.  The closest anime to compare with this show has to be Hell Girl.  Both share a female protagonist bound by fate whose closest companions are otherworldly beings–called Shinma in Vampire Princess Miyu.  (The English translation simply used the Japanese word.  “God-demon” is the most literal translation and the most confusing one.  Often, one will see creatures like this just called demons despite the Japanese equivalent for what is usually meant by the word demon is akuma.  Subbers should just borrow the term longaevi from the Latin, as this is the most accurate term for a host of beings in Japanese mythology.)  While Ai Enma is summoned to send usually wicked people to hell, Miyu works by keeping her territory clear of stray Shinma.  She’s often willing to ignore the presence of stray Shinma as long as they behave, but she’ll send them into the demon realm within a fiery inferno should they choose to prey on humans.

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Banner of the Stars II: A Spectacular End to a Slow Series

Oh, what a splendid ending Banner of the Stars II leaves the viewer!  I loved all the strategizing and intrigue surrounding the final interstellar battle.  The search for Jinto, despite the fact that we know from the first few minutes of the show that he will ultimately be found, engrosses the viewer in the other characters’ anguish and uncertainty.  However, juxtaposing the grandeur of the final three episodes to what happened prior (with the exception of the last episode on disc two, anyway) makes one feel that they cheated the viewer: if the animators can create scenes as exciting as what’s found in the the last disc, why couldn’t they do the same prior to it?  Well, I forgive them.  My extreme fondness for the characters allows this series to get away with practically anything in my regard.  I’m waiting for a season where our heroes do nothing but converse at a bar–with the skill they have at writing dialogue, they could get away with it!

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As I said, the first two discs of this 10 episode series (yes, a mere ten episodes) are comparatively dull, but I still enjoyed them because of the amusing conversations and intrigue.  Unfortunately, the third disc so surpasses the first two that the series left me with the feeling of being jipped.  Oh, well.  They’ve hooked a sucker in my case.  But lest I turn anyone away from this franchise, I would like to reiterate that the first two seasons are much better.  Despite also having slow beginnings, the overall quality of the entertainment remains rather consistent throughout.  Perhaps Banner of the Stars II is better told in the light novels than in the anime.

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The last disc included a bonus episode which I must tell you about.  You see, I remember reading a description of a Banner of the Stars OVA which fit this OVA to a T.  It concerns Lafiel’s parents on a mission which takes them aboard an abandoned spacecraft.  The dynamic between the two is most amusing, and the perils of their predicament onboard the ghost ship make for one riveting bonus episode.  Also amusing, we get to see an Abh proposal: “I want your genes.”  (Try that out on your girlfriend and see what happens!)  Basically, if you do want to watch Banner of the Stars II, don’t buy a separate OVA fitting that description!

The proposal seems to have worked.

The proposal seems to have worked.

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Anyway, now I’m looking forward to Banner of the Stars III–no matter how character-driven and lacking in plot it may be!

Before I end this article, let me tell you about one scene which really struck me in this series.  In their search for Jinto, an informant gives them information about where he was last seen.  (A very fanservicey informant.  Banner of the Stars II is the first series in the franchise where fanservice is really pronounced.)  While the soldiers are searching, Lafiel’s sitting in a car with her hands clasped.  If not for the fact that she–like all the other Abh–is an atheist, I would say that she was praying.  Indeed, in such a situation where one is completely powerless, what else is there to do except pray?  I think that one reason for atheism being more widespread nowadays is that people trust too much in their own ability to get things done or wealth, breeding the kind of vanity which makes one feel that they can get by without God.  Yet, atheists must run into some situations where their own helplessness is keenly felt.  So, what does an atheist do in such a situation?

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