amari_z: (penguins)
Having things easily available to you is a bad thing. It causes you to lack any sense of urgency. And I need urgency do to anything, even things I really like.

I've lived in the city so long, I feel little inclination to go see stuff I would be interested in seeing--I'll get to it eventually after all. Thus the appallingly recent trip to the Frick Collection.

I'm behind some 20 or more episodes on Kyo Kara Maoh, a series which fills me with glee, and I haven't been watching it. I was originally watching as each episode became available, but stopped because I couldn't stand the cliff hangers combined with the sporadic releases. But 20 episodes? There's no reason for that, except, you know, I can just watch it later. But the problem is that once I do start watching it, I will have to watch all those episodes. In a row. Because, you know, I am also obsessive.

Howl

Jun. 30th, 2005 06:31 pm
amari_z: (fall red trees)
No, not the poem--maybe some other time.

I recently watched Howl's Moving Castle. How cool was that? I have loved DWJ since I was actually the age of her intended audience, and Howl is one of my favorites of her books (along with Power of Three, Archer's Goon and Homeward Bounders--though she's so good, it's hard to pick). I had been waiting and waiting for this to come out in the U.S. Miyazaki animating DWJ--almost too cool to be real.

Okay, so the movie took a lot of liberties--adding in typical Miyazaki themes that weren't in the book and, so they wouldn't break anime law, making sure that there was a cute child character even where no child character existed--and I ordinarily might not have not been pleased about the changes (and some of it, on a very little reflection, didn't make sense)--but I didn't care. It was too beautiful. I can't wait until it comes out on DVD and I can watch it again and hear the Japanese voices--although (shocking for me to say) I didn't mind the English dub.

I loved that, despite making Howl a little more, er, a better of a person than in the book, they included the sliming scene. Best scene ever.
amari_z: (dead--not giving a shit)
Despite the vast quantities of anime I have collected, I have been oddly unmoved to watch any of it. Considering how much of it I own, this had better be a passing thing.
amari_z: (ran)
I watched this in one barely interrupted marathon, a bad habit of mine and one of the reasons I tend to accumulate more and more anime without watching it--I like to watch a whole series in a row (I once watched Prince of Tennis 1-seventy-ish in the course of roughly a week, my excuse being that I was home sick), which makes it difficult to find time to sit down and watch things even once I've acquired the entire series. I think this preference arises from my poor memory--watching 3 eps of something every 2-3 months is really annoying to me, since it takes me a while to remember what's going on and what sort of emotional responses have been built up by the previous episodes. I never like shows as much when I watch them broken up over a long period. It's probably a carryover from the way I read books (fiction, anyway)--if it's not worth reading in one big gulp, is it worth reading at all?

I was surprised by how much I liked this series given that I hadn't really heard anything about it. There was nothing very original about it, but in a quiet rather understated way it was really well done. I really liked how the main character generally avoided any of the usually anime girl annoying traits--she wasn't sickening cute, she wasn't ridiculously good at something, her traits and weakness weren't exaggerated. She was pretty much just an ordinary girl, with abilities that weren't unbelievable in the world of this series. That's another thing-- I was pretty intrigued by the slightly AU world that this series was set in. I thought the writer(s) did at least a plausible, and intriguing, job of speculating what place magic abilities might have in the world if they did indeed exist (complete with bureaucracy), and what sort of dilemmas people who had them might actually face.

I liked all the characters; no one annoyed me, probably because, like the main character, they were done fairly realistically. Yes, they filled certain stereotypical (or perhaps archetypical) roles--the handsome teacher with the tragic past, the loud outgoing party girl, the cheerful sidekick type, the cute kid with an attitude, the cold girl with a superior attitude to match superior abilities. All of it fairly typical, but nevertheless, each of the characters was more than a flat piece of cardboard, and each was treated generously by the writers so as to make each of them a "real" character.

I also really liked the animation and the overall atmosphere. It was understated enough that it wasn't until I was over half way through the episodes that it hit me that it was "magical girl" anime. That the main character had a catchphrase a la Sakura and her ilk, didn't register until that point, even though I usually find such things off-putting. It didn't irritate me at all in this show, perhaps because the catch was quite short, there was no transformation, and even the actions of her magical symbol varied based on what magic she was performing.

I've read comments that complained that the series was slow or boring, but I didn't think so. There were no fights, no broad comedy, no bad guys, but it told an actual story from start to finish that I found interesting and actually quite compelling. The question of how or whether to wield abilities we have (magical or non magical) is, to me, always going to be an interesting one. Each of us in our life faces the issue of having to act (or to not act) and facing the consequences of seeing even the actions we take with the best of intentions in our hearts turn out otherwise than we wish.

Like any realistic story, the anime didn't explain everything--there were certain things you could figure out on your own, but weren't spelled out for you, and certain things were never explained. This wasn't the usual anime problem of the story being cut short so that it could fit into the budgeted number of episodes, but rather done purposefully. The story was tied up completely and satisfyingly. It left you wanting more, but not needing more.

In some ways, it rather reminded me of Diana Wynne Jones' books--normalish world with slight difference--although it lacked the unforeseen plot twist that the best of Jones' books have (I don't think the revelation of the teacher's past tragedy was supposed to be a surprise), but it shared a similar atmosphere. Since I Love DWJ, this is pretty high praise.
amari_z: (Default)
To take a break from all the political ranting, I just finished watching Paranoia Agent. What a crazy but absorbing anime. I'm not sure I fully grasped all the nuances (I watched the first episodes a long time ago), and the end perhaps took things a bit too far, but over all I really liked it. The story telling is complex and interesting, (a lot of the story is in fact about story telling) and I'd like to sit down and watch the whole thing again from start to finish. I hope it stands up to the repeat view test. I'm definitely buying this when it comes out on dvd, though, if they're really going to call shounen bat "little slugger," I'm going to be cringing quite a bit at the subs.

I've also started watching Samurai 7, which I'm adoring (need to re-watch the original movie). The visuals are really great, and though the priestess character and her little side kick are a bit annoying (I don't recall anything like them in the original--why oh why does anime always feel compelled to add the pretty girl and the cute character?), so far anyway, they're not too annoying and the good is far outweighing the bad. Having a robot playing Mifune's character is pretty fun (and what anime face could possibly hope to match up Mifune's facial expressions), though I'm sure that there are some people who don't like it.

Samurai Champaloo is also another series I've been watching. Predictably, I love Jin. I want a Jin icon.

ho hum

Jul. 1st, 2004 03:17 pm
amari_z: (Default)
After a crazy few weeks, things have ground to a screeching halt. Since I can't think about it without ranting (and I've already ranted plenty--probably to people I shouldn't) , I won't say much beyond the hardly surprising observation that there are crazy, petty, inconsiderate people out there, and dealing with them will make you tear your hair out and, if you're not careful, a crazy, petty inconsiderate person yourself. After weeks of killing-pace work, apparently our presence is not presently required, though no one has bothered to inform of us of that fact to our face, not even the person we directly work for. Such an ass.

Anyway on to more frivolous but happier things. Because of this unexpected respite, I've had time for some frivolous, happier things, including leaving work early to catch Spider-Man yesterday (had a really good time) and watching lots of anime. I finally watched all the released eps of Kyou Kara Maou! which has to be one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. I absolutely love it. It's crazy. I've also, rather strangely, been watching the old anime God Mars (or whatever it's real name is). It's formulaic with stock characters and robots which go through their transformation predictably ever episode, but oddly I keep watching it. It must be nostalgia. I have also watched the first 3 disks of Figure 17. It's surprisingly good and rather endearing. I could see it getting kinda boring though, if they don't move it forward with both Tsubasa's character development and with the plot.

Also, Just finished reading Seabiscuit, which I couldn't put down. It's a lot different than the movie, but for once I think it might be a situation where the book and the movie both stand on their own--I don't think I would have been disappointed by the movie if I'd read the book first, which is usually the case. I also read Shoots, Eats and Leaves, which is a great little grammar book. I don't think I'll ever pick it up as a reference (and some of the rules are definitely inapplicable to American writing), but it's a fun read. I still have to go back and take a look at her section on colons, though. I don't think I've ever used colons in one of the ways she describes.

I didn't waste all my time on entertainment, though. I spent most of yesterday afternoon reading through the Supreme Court's recent decisions. Cut for legal rambling/ranting.  )
amari_z: (Default)
I watched parts of this on the cartoon network. It's weird, but the angular art is interesting, as is the mixture of the "historical" backdrop with fantastic machinery, architecture and "philosophy". Not to mention the skimpy armor and crazy hair styles--and got to love Aristotle in face paint.

It's interesting to see what they've gotten right, what they've ignored, and what little (forget the big) stuff they've completely messed up--for no apparent reason. Color me ignorant, but Aristotle as Plato's student? Olympias as the descendant of the goddess Hellas (who? I thought the name "Hellene" came from a mythological hero?) rather than Zeus (and Achilles)? But pure amusement value no doubt explains Hephaestion as ninja musician and Ptolemy as whining coward. Oh, but my favorite of all is probably the statues of the Greek gods with animal heads--and cutesy pastel colored ones at that.

I was curious enough to get my hands on the 1st dvd to see what the English version cut out and because I generally prefer the japanese voices.

And I do like the japanese voices better--esp Hephaestion's. But WTF is up with the (very long) opening? I thought the English opening song was pretty bad--but it's nothing compared to this. Sappy love song playing over bloody war and world destruction scenes? Is it suppose to make sense because they've shown nearly every scene with Roxanne, so it looks like the anime is love story? It's a parody, right? I am expected to be laughing--right? No wonder they cut it out of the English version. For once, I wish I missed this particular deleted scene. It so does not fit, that it's painful.

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