Dragged Myself to 400 Anime: Final Two Reviews!

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At last!  Four hundred anime complete!  Actually, three more than that since I also recently completed New Dominion Tank Police and KonoSuba and forgot to add The Perfect Insider to my watched list.  But, this blog series is done, since I have watched Gintama the Movie: Benizakura-hen and Hetalia: Paint it White!  You’ll note that I needed to substitute the latter for Urusei Yatsura: Only You, but I hope to watch that and the rest of this creative and hilarious series in the near future.

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Gintama the Movie: Benizakura-hen portrays one of my all time favorite story arcs in the show.  I have mentioned before that Gintama is perhaps the most versatile show I’ve ever seen.  It’s mood varies from low-brow and toilet humor (I usually skip those episodes) to maudlin to legitimately hilarious slapstick and wordplay humor to, as we see in Benizakura-hen, action-packed drama.  The movie cut very little of the original material and increased the quality of the action sequences, which are downright thrilling.  I found myself at the edge of my seat several times while watching this.

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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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Off on Pilgrimage

My first day of vacation starts tomorrow.  I put pilgrimage in the title because Montreal includes part of this vacation, and I cannot imagine that we shall visit that fascinating city without stopping by St. Joseph’s Oratory.  This oratory was made famous by the miracles produced there and its association with St. Andre Bessette, who might have called himself St. Joseph’s doorkeeper.  He was famous for thousands of miraculous cures, which he attributed to the intercession of St. Joseph.

Since it is late, and I do not want to spend too much time writing (I wake at 3 AM on the morrow–four hours from now!), I decided to briefly list some highlights of my anime hobby and spiritual life.  I hope you find some of them interesting.

  • Watched Girls und Panzer: This is the Real Anzio Battle.  I greatly enjoyed it.  It felt like a longer TV episode but still had a great tank battle.  The following is my favorite quote from the OVA:
Only in a perfect world!

Only in a perfect world!

  • Akame ga Kiru stands as a faithful adaptation of the manga.  Things will really pick up once Esdese appears.  (I prefer the fan naming system and will stubbornly stick to that until the official naming system becomes more universal.)  The great thing about Akame ga Kiru is that it essentially turns shonen on its head: we have the same kinds of happy-go-lucky and quirky characters, but they’re thrown into a really corrupt, dark, and bloody world.  This is why so many people like myself enjoy the show.
  • The first three episodes of Aldnoah.Zero really took the cake in terms of the setting and action.  I hope that the quality of the characters catches up soon.
  • I’m somehow still finding the motivation to fit in an episode of El Cazador de la Bruja here and there.  It’s a rather mediocre show, but the characters are enjoyable enough that I find myself continually drawn back to it.  It will probably take me as much time as I took for Bodacious Space Pirates for me to complete.
  • Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is one of the best comedies this season.  The oddball characters are splendidly amusing to watch, and I like the fact that the hero is a shoujo manga artist, which makes many of the episodes’ plots revolve around him finding material for his comics.

No law Breaking

  • Gintama is one of those shows which I can put down for a while and then pick up again.  The quest to capture the aliens who were running amok turning people’s bodies and body parts into screwdrivers didn’t grab me, but the arch where Shinpachi gains a pen pal was more hilarious.  This show goes everywhere from toilet humor to maudlin to boring to hilarious to epic.  One just needs to wait for the best stories.
  • Many bloggers loved the first season of Hamatora, and I’m enjoying the show thus far.  Episode four, where the desire to own a gun was portrayed as rooted to evil desires, irked me to no end.  Cannot people get that some people love tools?  Especially men?  Guns are tools and a lot of fun to shoot.  People enjoy shooting at paper targets, cans, bottles, abandoned houses, cardboard boxes, etc.  Wishing to have a gun by itself in no way means a person is inclined to violence.  Just watch this video if you don’t believe me.
  • For some reason, I’m really enjoying Hanamayata.  I suppose my identification with Hana (she’s also from NJ) goes a long way, but somehow I find this slice of life comedy still a lot of fun.  I have a an article in the works for it.
  • Did you know that Mushibugyo has an anime adaptation?  I didn’t, and this decently animated adaptation is a lot of fun to watch.  Perfect for a lover of samurai shows.

Jinbee strikes

  • I’ve kind of stalled Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water.  At this point, Nadia, Jean, and Marie have met back up with Senora Grandis and company, which means the action should improve.  Man, the Island arc was exhausting!
  • I don’t exactly know how, but a friend of mine finagled me into watching Nisemonogatari.  I couldn’t even finish episode one of Nisemonogatari the first time around, despite being a fan of Bakemonogatari.  But, I find myself at episode four and wanting to know more.  (By the way, Nisemonogatari essentially decided to put Holo in its story via Shinobu.)
  • Many bloggers like despising Rail Wars!  But, I’m enjoying how the characters deal with the obstacles each episode.  It reminds me a lot of You’re Under Arrest, and even if it doesn’t hold a candle to season one of You’re Under Arrest, it’s certainly better than season two thus far.
Aoi losing her gun has to count as one of the saddest moments in the show thus far.

Aoi losing her gun has to count as one of the saddest moments in the show thus far.

  • Sabagebu! stands as one of my favorite shows this season.  This is pure comedy gold.  The action can get rather nuts; but if you liked Full Metal Panic! Fumoffu, Azumanga Daioh, Excel Saga, or Pani Poni Dash, I can practically guarantee you’ll love this show.
  • Concerning ARGEVOLLEN, the show is nothing special, but I’m enjoying it, and there always exists the chance that it will get better.  Basically, if I drop anything this season, it will be this show.
  • Tokyo ESP‘s not bad.  It’s doing everything well so far, and it feels a little similar to Samurai Flamenco‘s first half so far in that we have ordinary people who suddenly conceive that they have a duty to repress the darker elements of society.  However, it still has a long way to go in order to surpass Ga-Rei Zero, in which series’ world Tokyo ESP exists.  And I love how Leonidas has a cameo role. xD

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  • Somehow, I haven’t been able to get into Zankyou no Terror.  I loved how they referenced the Sphinx and the fact that there are two riddles according to mythology.  (Actually, I’m pretty sure “What walks on two legs, then four, then three?” was an invention of later writers.  Classical authors loved to mess around with mythology and add their own improvements on the canonical version.)  Yet, somehow, the story doesn’t grab me.  Like Sky Crawlers, it’s probably too intellectual for my tastes.

That sums it up for my anime watching.  I still owe you guys some manga reviews, so expect that around St. Edith Stein’s feastday (Aug. 9th).  Speaking of saints, I find St. Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea a constant source of inspiration.  There are almost four hundred pages of commentary on Matthew before I can move to the Gospel of Mark, but St. Thomas Aquinas’ ability to draw so many relevant Church Fathers on each passage of Scripture is nothing short of amazing.  Also, I’m reading George MacDonald’s The Seaside Parish.  George MacDonald is a genius of the spiritual life and every page contains something quotable.  Why don’t people read him anymore!!?  I’ll be right alongside C. S. Lewis in thanking George MacDonald for his works when I get to paradise.

Until August 9th, you’ll be seeing no more articles unless I am so lucky as to find a wi-fi hotspot.  But, I should be able to respond to commentary.

Gintama and Refusing to Surrender

Gintama happens to be one of my favorite shows presently.  I always loved it for its outrageous humor, and its first two episodes are classic.  In the second season, they started creating more serious story arcs, and they succeeded in making them spectacular.  I suppose that the best comedies always have a vein of seriousness in it.  Socrates did argue  with Aristophanes in his Symposium that a writer of comedy should be equally able to write tragedy.  Somehow, the seriousness of a situation always lends more humor to it.  For example, while I was a cadet in the Navy League, my funny bone was surprisingly easy to tickle–but, my laughter often provoked unfortunate consequences, which very misfortunes actually led to a vicious cycle of joviality.

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At any rate, one of my favorite arcs deals with the show’s madao, Hasegawa Taizou.  Madao stands for mattaku dame na otoko, which translates to “completely useless guy.”  He finally gets a job by which he hopes to be able to repair his relationship with his wife, with whom he is separated.  However, he discovers that his wife has begun to date another man.  Refusing to let this ruin his good spirits, he goes to work by train only to have the following mishap: he trips on the platform, grabs onto a woman in the attempt to stop his fall, ends up dragging her off, and performs the start of an awkward wrestling move on her.  

The famed Kinniku Buster

The famed Kinniku Buster

This mishap leads to him being arrested as a pervert.  To make his depression worse, the prosecutor happens to be the man dating his wife.  This man offers Hasegawa a chance to have these charges dropped if he signs a letter of divorce.  While Hasegawa refuses this, he does ask Gintoki, the series’ hero, during an interview at the prison for a rope strong enough to hang a man.  To which Gintoki respond with one of the noblest lines in the series: “Next time…I’ll bring the rope. I won’t bring it so that you can hang yourself, but if its a rope to pull you out of the depths of hell, I’ll bring as many as you need.”  From this point, Gintoki becomes Hasegawa’s defense attorney, and one of the most screwball trials ever contemplated ensues. 

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But, refusing to surrender to despair stands as one of the central themes in Gintama.  They also crafted a magnificant story in the case of Hijikata, a the vice captain of the Shinsengumi, who takes a demon sword as a temporary replacement only to have it bring him under the curse of extreme otakufication.  But, the series shows that there is always hope no matter what one is struggling against.

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Where’s the Anime Gone?

Some of you may be wondering whether I still watch anime or if I have become disenchanted with modern anime and started to focus solely on manga, like xxxHolicWing of Chronical Holic.  May she find reasons to get excited about anime again, since I have always enjoyed reading her articles–though I admit having to catch up.  Fear not, my dear readers!  I have a tidy list of shows which I happen to be watching on and off.  You may expect some reviews in the near future.  Also, a few more for manga: Bartender, Break Blade, Fuyu Hanabi, Guardian Dog, Gunka no Balzer, and Hinekure Shisho no Mikaiketsu Jikenroku have caught my attention in particular.  I might have reviewed Break Blade already though.  I’ll check later.

My favorite current manga for its dynamic characters, period detail, and political intrigue.

My favorite current manga for its dynamic characters, period detail, and political intrigue.

At any rate, Girls und Panzer and Future Diary provided excellent entertainment with the later raising some interesting moral questions.  I rather enjoyed both, though I admit to Future Diary being somewhat of an acquired taste.  At least, the points where I disagree with it furnish apt material for editorials.  Unfortunately, I can’t write anything else about Girls und Panzer besides what people have already written: it’s a unique show which excels at action.  Watch it!

Who knew that a show combining high school girls and tanks could be so fantastic?

Who knew that a show combining high school girls and tanks could be so fantastic?

Having been intrigued by a review of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia written by Marlin-sama of Ashita no Anime, searching for a good comedy yesterday finally led me to watch it.  Three episodes into the show, the comedy has remained spectacular, the fanservice not over the top, and the overall tone wonderfully touching.  So, you can expect an article from me on the show in the future.  On a friend’s recommendation, I have started to watch the Break Blade movies.  As a fan of the manga, I was happy to see that they have kept the story faithful to the original story and that the animation is quite stunning.  Then, there are a couple of other shows which bloggers’ articles have led me to watch: Charles of Beneath the Tangles recommended Kotoura-san, and John Samuel of Pirates of the Burley Griffin’s series of articles on Bodacious Space Pirates drew me to watching that show.

Another surprisingly good show led by high school girls, the ambassadors of Japanese culture.

Another surprisingly good show led by high school girls, the ambassadors of Japanese culture.

Then, there are a few others which I’m currently enjoying: Gintama, Hunter x Hunter, Inuyasha: the Final Act, Psycho-pass, and Ys.  Gintama rates highly among comedies, as its six season run attests.  It’s a rather frenetic show, going everywhere from high-class, dramatic series of episodes to episodes of low-brow toilet humor.  Sometimes I wonder whether a different show has insidiously taken Gintama‘s place.  I’m watching the original Hunter x Hunter, and just can’t seem to find the time to finish it.  If I did, I’d probably turn to the remake, which has received a lot of good press.  Inuyasha: the Final Act shows remarkable improvement from the original show in regard to animation quality, and I can’t wait to see the demise of Naraku in color.  Psycho-pass has frequently horrified me by the bloodiness of the crimes, and, in the last episode I watched, outraged me with the scene showing a brutal murder in a crowd with the onlookers merely spectating.  Yet, it offers an interesting view of human nature alongside its utopian society.  I should pen an article for it pretty soon.  Lastly, the fantasy Ys deserves a very harsh, mocking review.  It proves that not every anime from the 90’s is as good as I’d like it to be.  The characters’ actions are so artificial that it makes me feel like I’m watching video game cut scenes!

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Oh, and I have also been watching Shin Sekai Yori.  That sums up my anime watching history over the past few months.  Look forward to some nice reviews!