Redline -Fast and Furious can go to hell!

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A distant future, a 70′ looks bad boy leads and his sexy-smart love interest, a cyborg dictatorship, and a free for all speed race in another galaxy: take all this, mix it with splendid graphic and you’ll get the winning formula that makes Redline an unforgettable movie with a feast for the eyes.

Redline is a 2010 movie (or is it 2009?) made by Madhouse, which brought many good animes productions. It took seven years to makes, but all that time wasn’t wasted at all: the production value is incredible! The graphics are absolutely stunning and makes you wish for more. But first thing first, let’s start with the summary.

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JP is a street racer, and a good one – a speed junky who targets the top. He is choosen to participate into the biggest race of the universe, the Red Line, where the best of them all compete in a race where everything is permitted. One of the competitor is Sonoshee, a cute smart punkish lady who gets in JP’s eye. But the Redline competition is held in Robotworld, where the government is against the competition and will do anything to destroy anyone participating in it. Up against all, with the help of his mechano Frisbee, JP will bet it all to win the race… and Sonoshee’s heart.

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Story: The story is the weak spot of this movie. Don’t get me wrong: weak spot is a relative words, it’s just that if you compare to the others aspects,it’s the weakest. Not that it isn’t a good story, but it’s something we got to see a few times. In this case, it works pretty well and the movie goes on smooth and fast. The movie starts with a bang: the Yellow line race and ends with a bang, the Red line race. Between these two, the interaction between the characters is the most interesting part. I really liked how they built the relationship between JP and Sonoshee, and how they presented the sides characters. Only real complaint: the ending was a bit cut short, so they could have wrapped it a bit more nicely.

Story: 8 on 10

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Characters:  The characters are awesome. Seriously, awesome. For a movie, they are really well developed and the protagonists are easy to love. The viewer is brought to genuinely care about them and by the end, you want them to win. Even if they are based on clichés, they get a  life of their own and get’s away from the “generic anime character”. Even the secondairy characters are interesting and original. This movie really made them come to life on the screen.

Characters: 8.5 on 10

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Graphic and animation: One of the selling point of this movie: the amazing graphics and the stunning animation. It took seven years to makes it and it worth it. Everything is well made, but there’s also a little plus of funky effects and cool camera angles. The movie is far from the usual anime standards and this is for the better. Every scene, every plan looks alive. The characters move in a credible way, even the most strange aliens; the background aren’t stactics but don’t gets in the way of the action either; the cars are really originals and the races are splendid. This is the proof that animation is an art in itself.

Animation: 10 on 10

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Music and Sound: The music is cool and fits pretty well into the movie, really adds a plus to the scenes, but that’s all there is to say about it. This isn’t an OST I would buy. On the other hand, the voice acting is amazing. Really smooth, natural, every voices really fits the characters. It’s one of the best I’ve seen.

Sound: 9 on 10

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Enjoyment Factor: The enjoyment factor is over the top! This is a movie that does really well it’s purpose: entertain. And this is entertaining like hell! This is the kind of movie that gives chills to the viewers and let’s us wanting more. This is the kind of movie I could watch again. And since the graphics are so amazing, it adds a little something to the excitement of watching it.

Enjoyment: 9.5 on 10

Total note: 90 on 100

Mondaiji-tachi ga isekai kara kuru sou desus ne? episodes 1

Another anime from a light novel, Mondaiji-tachi (let’s just call it that since that name is way too long…) is a story about three young person sent to another world where they have to win games (or something along theses lines). The three kids have obvously special powers: there’s Izayoi Sakamaki, a super powerful arrogant young boy who is absolutely bored with everything in life; Asuka Kuudo, the ojou-sama who have the power to command anything or anyone into what she wants; and finally You Kasukabe, a quiet and anti-social girl who have the power to talk to animals. In the other world where they arrive, call “Little Garden”, they meet Black Rabbit, a sexy young lady with rabbit ears who explain them the world they are in.

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This part gets over complicated for whatever reason, but what I understoud was that in this world you can play game to win prizes. You bet on capacities, your own or the capacities of others people. It apears Black Rabbit have makes them come to that world because the community she is part of have been ripped off their name and banner by a Demon. So they now need powerfull players to win it back. And their community is now call “No Name”… Shamefull, really.

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So, this first episode wasn’t too boring, but this anime doesn’t look really special or interesting. It’s the kind of cliché story, but this time, the three main protagonist aren’t even interesting. The only character I like so far is Black Rabbit, who is playing the cool girl, but is in fact no so sure of herself. The three kids are arrogant and I don’t really like them so far. It’s hard to makes those kind lovable: the thought kid have to have flaws or he’ll get annoying.

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For now, he is super-powerful (he even beats a god on his first day… please someone kick his ass!), think he is cool, is always sure of himself (over-confident even), and think he have it with the ladies… LOSER! The ojo-sama is, well… an ojo-sama, wich makes her annoying without doing anything. But by the moment she opens her mouth, she is even more annoying. She needs fast character development, or all the characters inside the story will want to kick her. The third one feels like… the third one: bland and empty. She seems to have no characterisation at all, except the fact she can talk to animals.

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So, I’ll see where it goes, but for now, this anime feels generic to the extreme.

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Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman 1: A funny Lupin ersatz in Edo

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Monkey Punch is the creator of the always popular Lupin III (or Lupin Sansei) franchise, telling the story of a modern gentlemen thief in moderns days. The last serie around these characters was the great Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to iu onna anime that aired last spring. This winter, Monkey Punch come back with Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman, an anime about another thief who do his illegals deeds in Edo. Monkey Punch did the characters design, the director is Hirofumi Ogura (Black Butler II, Area no Kishi) and the serie is an adaptation of a pachinko game (WTF…). The fact that it’s an aaptation of a pachinko game makes me a little skeptic about the story…

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The first episode was kinda funny, but really lame and everything screams LUPIN… the hero, Roman, is an amalgam of Lupin with Jigen hairs, theres a courtesan that looks exactly like Mine Fujiko (and with who Roman will baku5certainly have an adventure), two of the “bad guys of the weeks” strangely looks like Goemon and theres even a samurai trying to catch Roman who looks like Zenigata. Even the story looks the same, but with the “old Edo touch”: Roman is working as an helper during the day, but at night, he goes with his friends to steal the things that were taken from the poor and give them back. Ok, Lupin was stealing for himself, but he is a nice guy, so he is often giving back things to the poor. Roman is even in love with the Mine Fujiko ersatz!

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So, this first episode starts with Roman running of the roofs of Edo at night, with cash in a bag which he put into a rocket that her sister (?) set on fire, so the cash is flowing back to the poor people. The guys he stealth from is obviously angry about that and mysterious people lend him two weirdos to attack people randomly. In  the meanwhile, Roman is getting to work as an helper, so we meet the people  in his crew: his sister who makes and sells decorative chopsticks, an European doctor who likes to makes zombies (WTF…), an old crazy inventor and  a young shrine maiden. But instead of working he goes to gambling with another friend.

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The people in the town are randomly attack by the two assassins, so the mean retailer gets cash from the poor peasant to protect them. But the guy with who Roman was gambling was attacked, so he gets to the HUGE castle of the retainer, easily kicks everyone ass with some kind of strange super power and gives the money back to everyone… The guy is saved by the Zombie-maker-European-doctor and everybody is happy!

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I’ve said it screams Lupin, but this isn’t as entertaining as Lupin. It’s easy to see where the show is heading, and like many bloggers already stated, this is  a Robin Hood ersatz too… but more lame. This is funny to watch but I don’t think it’ll get really exciting. I’m also kinda disappointed with the “super-power” Roman have at the end of the episode: it looks like they took it from a Power Ranger bad movie of the 80′, with light flash and all. Common, he just cut a big castle in two! The two “bad guys of the week” (twins… that why there are two) are easily forgettable, but the organization that send them is probably the “Big Bad” of the whole serie.

Power Ranger to the rescue!

Power Ranger to the rescue!

Anyway, let’s say this doesn’t look really good, but I’ll keep watching a few episode to see where it goes… I know, I have a thing for bad anime! After all, I’ve watched more of OniAi (Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai yo ne) during the falls season over Btooom, Robotic;notes or Psycho-pass…

Happy New Year Everyone!

I wish everyone a Happy new year! I hope you will all realize what you want and this years will be good for everyone. Let’s also hope we’ll be able to watch good animes!

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Other than that… I’ ll try to update my blog a little more often and to finish the reviews I haven’t finish yet. I also hope to be able to return to Japan this year.

So, dear readers, a happy new year!

K Project review: Cool Kings and Cool Kids

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The K project anime was a mysterious one: a special name with one letter, no information on the story, previews showing only a cast of various characters fighting, the studio working on it wasn’t really know, a cast of great voice actors and a busty front girl. As the anime started in October, the impressive visual and the premises shows in the firsts episodes really draw our attention  and  many of us where comparing it with other urban-fantastic tales. Unfortunately,  K didn’t keep up the quality. But let’s start by the beginning, the summary first.

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Summary

Isana Yashiro is an high school boy who  is know by anyone but don’t really have any close friends. His high school is on an island near a big city, and one day, as he goes to an errand for the school festival, he is chased by a group of violent youngster who claim that he killed their friend, Tatara Totsuka. They have Yashiro’s face on camera just before he kill him and declare he is the new seventh king.  The group is Homra and is led by the red king, Mikoto Suoh. Fortunately, someone come and rescue Yashiro, a young man named Yatogami Kuroh who carry a katana and have samurai manners. But instead of saving him, Kuroh claim he have to kill him since he is the new colorless king and he is bad since he killed someone. Yashiro persuade him that he can prove he is wrong so Kuroh come and live at the school with him and Neko, a young female who have special power of illusion (and becoming a cat…). At the same time, another group named Scepter 4, a militia like group ruled by the blue king Reisi Munakata, wants to stop Mikoto Suoh because of the way the power of the kings works, he could bring mass destruction.

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The review

Story: 6 on 10

Like many anibloggers (wow, first time I use this word…), I was intrigued by this anime, for the many reasons listed before. The first episode gave us some good elements for the story and the whole concept of the world where K is set is interesting: a modern city in Japan but where seven kings with special powers attract people to them, but with the constant danger of the “sword of Damocles”, a big sword that appears in the sky each time they use their powers. And then, the young man who get into this mess by accident… or not, since he isn’t really sure if he could be the murderer. Helped by his side-kick (Kuroh) and the hot chick (Neko), he have to get to the bottom of this tangled situation. But the story goes in all direction and things get… not so well. This a fun anime, but many things are left unexplained or unclear and the end left me with a bitter taste. I enjoyed the ride, but this could have been much better.

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Characters: 5 on 10

The main problem about the characters is that I don’t really care about them since we didn’t really get to them and they don’t get any development. Yashiro is funny and quite mysterious, but I couldn’t bring myself to cheers on him.  Kuroh, who looks really cool in the first episode, become Yashiro house wife for whatever reason. I understand how they wanted to bring a funny side of him and make him more human, but it just makes him annoying. Neko is obviously there only for the fan service and to conveniently be used when there’s a plot hole, since her power is the one to create illusions. The others characters are cool, but we don’t really get to know anything about them, so it’s pretty difficult to understand their goals. The two others characters we get to know a little more ( and only a little) are Yata with his skateboard and Fushimi who betray Homra for Scepter 4. Even the blue and red king aren’t people we care about, and we couldn’t care less about the one who was killed. This could have been avoided if the anime was a bit longer:  knowing each team and theirs members, how they interact together, who was Totsuka, more about the past of Weisman and how the Damocles sword works (or why, for that matter…),etc. The viewer could love the characters a bit more and relate to them. Because as it is now, we don’t get to know them, they don’t get any development and we don’t really care about what happens to them.

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Animation and visual: 9 on 10

The visual is really the good point of K: every thing looks gorgeous. The characters are really well draw, the background are superb, the animation are fluid, the battle scene great, the color are brights, this was spectacular. The visual of the opening and ending are interesting too, even if the opening was mostly using clips from the anime. And the quality of the animation doesn’t wears off as the serie goes on. This is really a good point of this anime.

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Music and sound: 7.5 on 10

The cast doing the voice acting is really good. most of them being popular voice actor and every voice seemed to fit the character. I really liked some characters voice a lot, like the voice of the red king with the “I don’t care” feeling or the psychopathic voice of Fushimi when he says “Mi-sa-ki”. But on the other side, I didn’t really enjoyed the music. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. The opening was forgettable and the too many change of pace in the music makes it hard to remember (except the start of the song, which annoyed me a lot). The ending was a cute little song that I really like, but this isn’t something I’ll really listen to. The music during the anime is a mix of many kind, electro, a bit of street beats, hip hop, etc. This is really urban, not bad music, but not really good either. I sometimes felt the music was out of place, like slow beat during a battle.

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Enjoyment: 8 on 10

Even with all these flaws, K was fun to watch. The intriguing story and the many plot twist were funs to follow, the characters were cool (yeah, even with all I says, they were cool!), the setting interesting… I enjoyed the ride. But a few more episode to explain more and to get to know the characters more would have been better. I suppose they put all the budget on the visual, so there wasn’t anything left for the rest… just kidding! But K is a fun anime, with flaws, yes, but fun to watch anyway.

Global note: 75 on 100

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Robotic;Notes 2: No money, no robot

I know, I know, the second episode of Robotic;Notes aired a long time ago, but with studies I’m late in every aspect of my life… including my blog…

So, in this episode, Akiho needs part to repair a little robot, Tanegashima machine-san. It needs to be ready for the tournament held in a few weeks, so her and Kaito goes to an old man shop (in the middle of nowhere) to buy part. Since the club don’t have any money, they can’t afford all the pieces and the old man don’t want to gives them for cheaper. Of course, Kaito don’t want to give her money if she can’t beat him to Kill-Ballad game. But he goes to eat a special disgusting bum to get information about the old man and found that he have a great-daughter going to their school. So Akiho goes ask her for a discount but she refuse. Akiho and Kaito get back to the shop and Kaito says to the old man they will pay when they win the tournament, so Akiho works really hard to gets thing done and she barely sleeps. She get exhausted (and have a fishy syndrome called elephant-mouse syndrome) and Kai have to help her. He have the idea to call the programmer of the Kill-Balad game.

That’s another too long summary… Anyway, we learned a little more about Akiho in this episode. It seems there was an accident nine years ago and she have the strange syndrome since that time. There was a woman in a publicity for robotic legs in the first episode and it seems this woman is Akiho sister, who was the president of the Robots Club and she asked Kaito to help her after she quit. She now don’t want to talk to her sister. Some strange light in the sky are probably related to that accident (everything is linked in anime…).

I really liked the scene in the combini with the passion fruit bum…  Mizuka, the girl with the robotic legs is a fun character. Of course Kaito can’t  just sit there to play his game and not helping at all, so he is the kind of guy to do thing under the table. It is obvious that Subaru Hidaka, the guy Akiho wants to have in the club, will be at the robot contest and eventually will join the club. It is also obvious the shy karate girl will do the same. And they have to win the said contest or the anime will end there: no money, no robot.

Many bloggers says that the third and fourth episode gets them to enjoy the show, others have says it was still boring. I think this could be interesting, but Akiho sure is annoying.

Btooom! 3 : Crazy games designer are crazy…

In the third episode, we learned how people got to the island in the middle of nowhere and Sakamoto gets in team with a fat “ossan”. And we also get some creepy exploding time and the future antagonist face. Let’s summarize this properly.

When Sakamoto get to the river, Himiko is scared and start to run in the forest. Since she have food, Sakamoto wants to find her, so he uses the magical sonar everyone got on their hand and think he see a figure in the bushes, so he gets there, a bomb in his hand but it’s just  a fat ossan pooping in the bushes (for real….). Sakamoto talks to him and the ossan explained how everyone got there. After that, he ask Sakamoto to gets in team with him, but Sakamoto wants to know what kind of bombs he is carrying. The Ossan don’t want to answer so Sakamoto thinks he is intelligent and accept to team up. A plane let’s more food falls from the sky, so they go after a suitcase, but at the moment Sakamoto was going for it, a women get there and exploded… and a cool guy with sunglasses took the suitcase, leaving poor Sakamoto completely traumatized…

Ok, my summary was too long… now let’s review a bit. This episode was interesting because we have more explanation about how Sakamoto got on the island, but not to much, leaving place for more revelations later. It was hinted that he knew the person on the screen that tell everyone the rules for the “game”, but we don’t know either the connection between them. Other than that, I think Sakamoto shouldn’t have team up with the ossan, he will certainly bring problems later on. He looks like an egoist bastard and I’m pretty sure he isn’t exactly what he looks like.

Of course, the cool guy with the sunglasses will be an important player later on, (hint in the opening too…) and he looks quite hot dangerous. The way he puts a trap in the ground for anyone looking for the suitcase, meaning looking for food, is really nasty. I’m really looking forward his next moves.

Up to now, Sakamoto isn’t really “hero material”, and it’s probably an interesting twist on the writing: being good at something on a video game doesn’t mean you could do the same thing in real life (ever tried to clear a field from land-mines? only works on windows…). And seriously, he should have died when he was throw  out of the plane still unconscious. But this is an anime, so anything is plausible… And I think the ossan will soon die…