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Archive for December, 2008

Galaxy Express 999

I watched the first episode of this. I won’t be viewing the series, but it is worth putting down some of my thoughts.

In a futuristic Earth, those who can afford it become cyborgs to preserve themselves and live nearly forever. Those who can’t afford it are looked on as second class citizens. However, it is said that the Galaxy Express 999 has its end stop at a planet where you can become a cyborg for free — if you can get on the train and then reach the planet. Tetsuro is a boy who does manage to get a ticket for the space train, thanks to Maetel, a beautiful lady. What her motives are remain a mystery, but together the two board the Galaxy Express and explore distant worlds on their way to the place where Tetsuro can become a cyborg.

The good: The idea of a space transport that looks like a train wandering arround the stars is quite a fanciful one that kids everywhere can appreciate. The pacing was reasonably quick. Not a requirement for me, but for some people it is. The older style of animation is a plus for me, though some people would no doubt disagree with this. The first episode certainly does capture your attention.

The bad: The callous hunting of normal humans by cyborgs isn’t surprising, but is still shocking when that is what happens to Tetsuro’s mother. Then, being taken home to be skinned and hung like an animal . . . Very disturbing. Tetsuro’s violent retaliation isn’t surprising and is understandable, but it is still disturbing to see such a young boy act that way. And the shower scene with Maetel, understandable, but it still makes me squeemish.

If you can get past these caviates and enjoy older anime, Galexy Express 999 may be for you. If not, you may rather try Captain Harlock or Queen Millenia.

My rating: 3/5 – I would get to this eventually if it didn’t have such a disturbing beginning.

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Gundam Seed #45-50

Yep, we are finishing up this series today. Consider it my Christmas gift to my faithful readers:)

Episode 46: A Place for the Soul.

Frey’s pod is released on La Cruset’s orders. Frey figures out the pod’s communications and broadcasts a plea for help. Lt. Badgeruel orders one of the three crazy pilots to get her. Kira goes after Frey. Thankfully, Athran goes with him to keep the other crazy pilots off. The Eternal finally takes off. La Cruset has his forces target that ship. With the Kusinagi’s help, they manage to take out the center ship in Zaft’s blocade. The Arcangel, meanwhile, manages to get past the Dominion. The three ships hook up again as they leave the area. Frey is brought on board the Dominion. She gives Azrael the information from La Cruset. Among other things, it includes information on how to build an N-jammer canceler.

Kira is exhausted from the battle and confuses Lacus for Frey and faints. When he wakes, Cagali wants to ask Kira about the picture he got, which is the same her father gave to her, but Athran suggests it isn’t a good time. It isn’t, since Kira cries to Lacus.

Episode 47: The Nightmare Reborn.

At Azrael’s urging, Earth Forces sends out their peacekeeper force to the Zaft fortress of Boaz – with N-jammer cancelers and nukes on board. The Nukes make quick work of Boaz, which only feeds Patrick Zala’s obsession.

Lt. Badgeruel asks Frey if she is sure she wants to stay on the Dominion, but Frey is tired of not knowing what is going on. She is also upset about how the information she brought was used.

Lacus tells our heroes about the fate of Boaz. The three ships launch, as do the Justice and Freedom with meteor packs. They help Izak’s group (among many others, no doubt), stop any nukes from hitting the Plants.

Chairman Zala, however, has had enough and orders the Genesis to fire. It does, hitting the peacemaker force. Izak warns Athran in thanks for helping to save the Plants.

Episode 48: Day of Wrath.

Athran and Kira try to stop Zaft forces from destroying the now retreating Earth Forces. Erica Simmons has determined that the Genesis is a huge Gamma ray that could destroy the Earth if focused on it.

Lacus gives Kira a ring before he leaves again. Cagali, meanwhile, tells Athran that since the Strike Rouge is ready, she is going out this next time. When he protests, she tells Athran how careless he is in battle. Yup, that’s not one argument you are going to win, especially not against one who was raised by the Lion of Orb.

Lt. Rameus also goes to see Mu off. He asks about the necless she always wears. It is to remember her previous boyfriend, who was a moble armor pilot. Mu promises to return victorious. Everyone launches, including La Cruset in a new moble suit. Chairman Zala orders the Genesis to target the moon.

Episode 49: The Final Light.

The Genesis wipes out the Earth Forces base on the moon, and half the fleet. Azrael wants the remaining ships to fire nukes at the Plants. Kira and Athran manage to protect the Plants again, which drives the three speical pilots nuts.

La Cruset senses Mu and goes after him.

Dearka is joined by Izak in protecting Cagali from the crazy pilots. And Cagali is a child of the seed as well.

Mu’s craft is severely injured by La Cruset. He heads for the Arcangel. With the Arcangel’s defenses temporarily down to let him land, Azrael orders the Dominion to fire. Frey tries to warn the Arcangel. Azrael pulls a gun on her. Lt. Badgeruel orders everyone to abandon ship. She locks Azrael in with her. He shoots her. He manages to figure out how to fire the ship. Mu takes the blast. In grief and rage, Lt. Rameus orders the Arcangel to destroy the Dominon. Everyone but Azrael and Lt. Badgeruel already got off.

Episode 50: To an Endless Future.

Kira senses La Cruset and goes after him. We get a lot of philosiphising from the masked man. Thankfully, Kira doesn’t listen to it. Athran and Cagali head for the Eternal and Kusinagi. They all head for Yakin Due, where Genesis is.

Izak is just crazy enough himself to take out all the crazy pilots. Dearka is hit bad by La Cruset, but Izak grab’s Buster’s huge gun to finish off the last one. The Astrays are destroyed.

In the middle of their battle, La Cruset notices Frey’s shuttle and destroys it. Kira blocks one shot, but not the second one. Kira is devistated. Frey apoligizes to Kira for her actions and encourages him to go on. Kira gets back into the fight in time to save the Eternal.

Even together, the Eternal and Kusinagi can’t get through the sheild arround Yakin Due. So Athran and Cagali go in. But when Patrick Zala ordered Genesis to fire on Earth, one soldier refused. Zala shot him, but then the soldier shot Zala multiple times. By the time Athran gets their, everyone is abandoning their stations. Patrick’s last words to his son are to save the Plants. Athran checks the system. Yakin Due’s self destruct has been set. When it goes off, Genesis will go off to. The only way to stop it is to destroy the Justice with it’s nuclear power before the reaction. Cagali protests this. Athran brushes her off, but Cagali is persistent.

More philosophising about man and war and how humans brought this on themselves, La Cruset is just giving them what they want. Kira still doesn’t buy it. Lacus it seems can also go into seed mode, and doesn’t buy it as well. Kira injures La Cruset, battered himself. Then he manages to get out of the way as Yakin Due is destroyed.

Cagali got Athran into the Strike Rogue before the explosion. They weep for relief that the war is over, both sides stepping back and agreeing to talk. Kira also survived somehow.

After Phase: Between the Stars.

We get to see everyone at Reverend Malchio’s place , peaceful and having fun. We hear Lacus sing and Kira and Athran talk about what they have learned so far from the fight.

Final Thoughts

The idea of Coordinators is an interesting one. And what Seigal Cline says is true: they didn’t evolve, they were created. With interesting implications. Naturals feel inferior, Coordinators feel put upon. It is also interesting that being a Coordinator is no indication of the innate morality or goodness of a person. It is also that even with all their brain power, Coordinators didn’t find a way to coexist peacefully with Naturals. Not that Naturals were any less to blame for everything. And even with all his abilities, Kira can’t save everyone.

Kira and Athran being on oposite sides for much of the series was quite poignant.

Orb is an interesting concept as a nation, refusing to take sides. Not always an easy thing to do, nor am I entirely sure how realistic it’s position is.

For those not interested in such philosophical mussings, never fear, their is plenty of action and the story is pretty fast paced. The characters are good, and the color scheme bright and pastel.

My rating: 4/5 for a good, enjoyable show that makes you think if you want, but you don’t have to.

Next up: Matantei Loki Ragnarock.

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Cities of Gold #9

This week’s episode is: End of the Solaris.

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Just as the Solaris is leaving the coast, Gomez arrives in his ship. Our heroes have trouble escapting, but Esteban and Tao manage to find another function of the Solaris, which uses the sun’s rays as a weapon. Gomez’s sail’s start burning. When Esteban sees the Inca village under attack by Spaniards, he suggests they help. The same weapon is useful against the Spaniards. Unfortunately, when they go off the Solaris to the Inca village, Gomez captures the Solaris. Our heroes can’t get back to it in time. Gomez says he wants Zia or he will destroy the Inca village. However, Tao got under the row boat and started heading for the Solaris. Zia agrees to go. She gets to Gomez about the same time as Tao arrives on the Solaris. Zia runs from Gomez after he orders the Inca village destroyed anyway. She gets to Tao and they lock themselves in Solaris’ control room. Tao activates Solaris’ self destruct mode. Zia and Tao are safe, but the Solaris is destroyed. At least Gomez’s ship is destroyed in the process too.

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Akage no Anne #21

Hi all! I hope every one had a very Merry Christmas!!!!

This week’s episode is: The New Minister’s Wife.

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It is almost time for summer break. Mr. Phillips announces he is not returning the next year. Most of the student’s aren’t too sad to see him go, but all the girls end up crying. Anne hears Mr. Phillips is following Prissy Andrews to Queens. In the mean time, there is excitement in Avolnea – a new, young minister is coming with his pretty wife. Everyone wants to meet them, but Mrs. Lynde is very protective of them. Though she does get many borrowed items back all at once! Anne and Dianna are some of the first to meet them wandering in the woods. They even see the happy couple dancing. They lead them back to Mrs. Lynde’s place where they are staying until the manse is finished with renovations. Anne’s account makes Marilla wary, but when they go to church on Sunday, Marilla his happy to find them acceptale. Anne finds in Mrs. Allen a kindred spirit, and finds her Sunday School lessons much more engaging now.

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Sailor Moon #21

This week’s episode is: Protect the Dreams of Children! The Friendship Bound in Anime.

Two friends, Hiromi and Tazukio, are both working animating the new Sailor V movie. Unfortunately, they are having difficulty catching their director’s vision. They drop a portfolio, and Ami sees this. Naturally, she goes by the studio later to return it and runs into Nephrite. Nephrite gets to the studio first. Hiromi is discouraged, especially after seeing Tazukio’s work. She and Tazukio got professioal level pencils just before graduation and split them, promising not to use them without telling the other. Hiromi hasn’t kept this promise, and only a little of the last pencil left. Still, she feels she has no choice but to keep using them to keep up with Tazukio. And yep, Hiromi is Nephrite’s latest target. He comes and curses Hiromi’s last pencil. Ami confronts Nephrite on his way out, but he gets away. When Ami visits Tazuko to return the portfolio, Hiromi has already begun to act strangely.

Ami is suspicious and wants to investigate. Usagi and Rei are happy to go to an animation studio (even if Rei won’t admit it). Their noise annoys Hiiromi greatly. She has created a large number of drawings for the anime since the previous night. The director loves them and wants her to do the ending for the anime — until Hiromi says she wants to kill off Sailor V in the final scene. When she leaves, Tazuko and the Scouts follow. The monster is released, and Tazuko faints. This particular monster is actually two monsters whose specialty is teamwork. They even use the same attacks as Mercury and Mars. Their teamwork ends, though, when they start arguing. The Scouts manage teamwork much better and destroy the monster. Nephrite is upset by this and Zoisite teases him.

Tazuko and Hiromi talk. It seems that Tazuko also used her pencils without asking since she thought Hiromi was better than her. The two are friends again and the anime is back on track.

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Mahou Shoujotai, also known as Tweeny Witches, is about a girl named Alice who ends up in the magical world. Alice couldn’t be more happy since she thought her life was rather boring and she already loves magic. Even better, in the magical world, she can actually do magic herself. However, she is rather horrified to find both the uses that magic is being put to and the fact that witches capture sprites for the ingrediants they need for their spells. So Alice naturally frees all the sprites. Unfortunately, two aprentice witches, Eva and Shila, are blamed for this and punished by being prevented from growing up. If they want to have the spell removed, they have to capture all one hundred sprites. They are also given charge of Alice. Eva is a sweet girl with low self esteem and week magic who quickly likes Alice. Shila is smart and a loner and Alice rubs her the wrong way at first. And then there are problems with the warlocks . . .

This series not only has very well developed characters and an interesting plot, it has an unusual art style and even I can tell it also has unusual camera angles. The episodes are less than half the length of a regular anime episode, but they certainly don’t feel like it. It’ been a while since I have seen a story that is pushed forward so quickly.

I give this series 5/5 for uniqueness and being practically perfect in every way.

On another note, next week is Christmas. I hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday! I hope to get through my weekly episodes and to finish up Gundam Seed shortly, but I can’t make any promises. When Gundam Seed is done, I will be doing Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok. Look forward to it! Finally, I know my blogging here has been sporatic. I am sorry about that, but things have been rather crazy here, and at least I have gotten everything done on a week by week basis and it seems to be working. As for the new year, I have no idea what my schedule will be like then, but if it will affect this blog, you guys will be the first to know:)

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Gundam Seed #44 and Gundam Seed #45

The first episode is: Spiral of Encounters.

La Cruset decides he and Izak will go out to see what is going on. Naturally, Mu knows the moment La Cruset is close enough. He goes after his nemesis, and Dearka follows, hearing it is his old commander. Mu and La Cruset fight. So do Dearka and Izak, though that fight is more on Izak’s side since he thinks it is a natural piloting the Buster. The Kusinagi is cut free and starts attacking the Dominion along with the Arcangel. The three crazy moble suites, Calamity, Raider, and Forbiden, have run out of fuel and are recalled, much to Azrael’s discust. Kira goes to check on Dearka and Mu. Athran stays to keep an eye on things. Kira runs into Izak and Dearka first. Izak knows that it is Dearka by now. Dearka tells Kira he will take care of it. Kira agrees, reminding Dearka to not let things get to the way they were between Kira and Athran. Kira then finds Mu and La Cruset. Kira disables La Cruset’s moble suit, but he shoots Mu when they get out of their machines. Mu follows anyway, and Kira follows Mu. La Cruset leads them into a large abandoned laboratory. After riling up his opponents and shooting Mu again, he then shows Kira a copy of the picture given to Cagali and a picture of Mu and his father.

The second episode is: The Opening Door.

Mu then tells Kira and Mu the truth. Kira and Cagali were twins. Kira was not only made a Coordinator, but was also born in an artificial womb, much to his mother’s objection. Why, to become the pinical of humanity. The twins, along with their biological father, were the biggest targets of Blue Cosmos, the reason why La Cruset is surprised they are still alive. And the fact that Kira’s foster parents gave him a normal life is the reason why Kira himself is so normal. As for Mu, Mu’s father went to Kira’s biological father wanting a clone (an illigal action) of himself. The Doctor agreed since this would providde him with funding. La Cruset was the result – a failed clone with a shortened life span, but he was considered better than Mu by Mu’s father. Then Mu’s parents were killed in a fire – caused by La Cruset?

Mu finally gets Kira and himself out. And just in time. The three crazy moble pilots are ready for battle again along with the Dominion. Kira drops Mu off for medical treatment. Dearka, meanwhile, has make Izak think a little bit, though Izak isn’t convinced yet.

La Cruset returns to his ships with Izak and orders them to attack. But first, he sends out Frey in a life boat telling the Earth Forces he is returning a prisoner before commencing hostilities. He had previously told Frey he has some information that could stop the war, but that it needs to get to the Earth Forces. Frey has a copy of that information with her.

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