With September in full swing, we find ourselves on the verge of the 2007 fall season. What? Already? I’m not prepared for any of that new stuff yet; it’s still too early for all these fall previews, autumn can go fuck itself. On the other hand, I’m still hopelessly devoted to a number of currently running series; hence this post, so end intro and cue this countdown of my favorites.
5. I’ve seen 3 episodes of Shigurui so far. Put simply, it’s distilled hardcore; abrasively masculine, extremely violent and frankly, disgusting. We’re talking severed noses, dismembered samurai and man-rape. We see it all. Shigurui isn’t another romantic revision of period life, it’s barbaric, immoral and borderline pornographic – an unflinchingly lurid exploitation of so-called warriors, whose depravity requires a strong constitution.
4. The opposite could be said of the fading Seirei no Moribito, which in Balsa has a thoroughly good-hearted female warrior. I was smitten with this series after it opened with a trio of action-packed episodes, but since then, it’s sadly flattered to deceive. Seirei no Moribito has always offered nice atmospheric touches, alluring fantasy and beautiful art, but it’s yet to transcend the exciting emotional heights of that wonderful third episode. Here’s hoping the climax is worth waiting for.
3. Another series that’s nearing its end is Darker Than Black. It took me awhile, but now I’m thoroughly ensnared by its web of mysteries. I enjoy its Western noir style of presentation – perfectly emphasized by “hard luck” Huang’s romantic back story. I must admit, I like “ugly” characters like Jet Black from Cowboy Bebop; forever destined to be knocked down if they dare to grasp at that fleeting chance of happiness. Basically, Huang get my vote.
2. Such is its frightening level of fan-girl friendly bishonen and homoeroticism, the concept of “ugly” and Toward the Terra aren’t even in the same vocabulary; yet in a rare example where superficial fan pandering and actual depth come together, here we have a thrilling and rousing adventure that combines its attractive visuals with a fascinating sci-fi journey, the epic themes of war and racism somewhat softened by its elegant shojo aesthetic.
1. I just mentioned “epic” and if one anime symbolises the word, it’s the space-time busting antics of Gurren Lagann. The gigantic scale of the action is one thing, but the colourful character interplay and the sharp, heroic dialogue is just as fulfilling. In many ways, it reminds me of One Piece; the humour is ridiculous, bizarre and zany, there is no logical sense of realism, yet the story and characters capture my heart on a base emotional level. Reassuringly at home with GAINAX’s wacky influence, it’s been a long time since I enjoyed watching something as much as Gurren Lagann.
18 replies on “No. Not even in the face of armageddon. Never compromise.”
I learned from Samurai Champloo that samurai having young boys was not uncommon, and that in those times Japan was a wonderful haven of homosexuality. Shigurui is definitely shocking, and yet makes no bones about what a real sword will do to a person. I’m very intrigued at how the series started in media res, and can’t wait to see how the two promising students ended up blind/cripppled and one-armed. You also forgot to mention the part about the senile dad trying to get with his nubile daughter.
On another note, while I still like the series, Seirei no Moribito episode 3 has to go down as one of the biggest tease episodes ever.
I’m looking forward to more Shigurui, the 1st ep reminded me of when I used to be good at Kengo on PS2, though I think I missed the man-rape, lol, when did that happen?
@Kabitzin: Yup, its got me hooked too. It’s a clever plot device to start at the end and then to work backwards. But I must admit I was sold on this series the moment I saw the samurai stabbing his foot to adopt the “ultimate victory style” while his opponent only has the one-arm! What a weird fight that will be. On the homosexuality point, its almost as if they were doing it to claim their absolute power over their subordinates. And yeah, the drooling old man totally disgusts me, and that was before he checked to see whether or not his daughter was “ripe” for marriage.
@Necromancer: There is a lot of disturbing sexual content and gushing blood in episode three. Lets just say there is rape, incest and homosexuality.
When I was reading about Shigurui, I realized it was from the director of Texhnolyze and thinking about it, it has the same ambient vibe, deliberate pace and odd fascination with dismemberment.
i havent seen gurren lagann past eps 8. lol im waiting for it to finish so i can marathon it. come to think of it darker than black is the only show im following that is ongoing. ive just been watching “old” stuff. pretty harsh on shigurui man…
have u seen avatar the last airbender?? considering how much u love shounen this series is pretty amazing. whatever u think the show is about, it isnt. give it a shot.
You’ll love marathoning through Gurren Lagann. It ends on some delicious cliffhangers and no doubt, you’ll find yourself devouring the whole thing in a matter of days. I’m intending to marathon it myself once its all over, I’ve enjoyed watching it that much.
Also, I hope I didn’t come across as harsh on Shigurui; it’s a fine series, but it goes out of its way to be disgusting and violent. Definitely check it out if your looking for something unique to watch, it’s so completely left field and well, adult.
As for Avatar: The Last Airbender; I’ve seen clips on YouTube and it looks great. Same thing with Oban Star Racers really, I’m kinda put off of watching it because it looks like an outright kids cartoon; is there much emotional depth to the characterization? One of the main reasons I love anime is that even the supposed “childrens” shows are capable of splicing in subtle and mature themes.
in regards to avatar the air bender, i used to rip on the show on imdb, and making fun of my brother for watching a show that pretended to be anime. he made me watch an episode of it, and i made him watch eureka 7. is it good?? lets just say that i apologized to my brother. unlike bleach and naruto the story has a beginning middle and end and knows where it is going. and the action is insane. its 40 eps so far, and the show comes to an end this september when the last 20 eps come out. when i compare it to harry potter i dont mean that its similar (the similarities between naruto and potter are glaring) avatar is similar to hp in the sense that the story was mapped out from the get go.
And here I thought you were going to discuss the Watchmen after that Rorschach quote. :p
Shigurui i watch it becuase of its animation and story telling and nearly any thing can happen in it and it shows me how could anime be mature than anything
Seirei no Moribito may be episode 3 had the best fight but i enjoyed the other episodes more than it and may be the best animated series to date the part in the opening when balsa is on horse with Chagum at the sun set make me want to cry with a smile on my face i enjoy every moment of it and i love its music
Darker Than Black yeah as you said Huang
Toward the Terra i havent seen it
Gurren Lagann every one knows it now the best since evangelion
Lucky Star all of the character are now like a family for me
claymore i like its idea and now since the anime will end i have a new great manga to follow
i love every one of those to death but i still enjoy onepiece naruto bleach the most
“Autumn can go fuck itself.” Agreed. I’m not looking forward to any fall season shows, maybe Gundam 00 and Blood Hound (O_o?). I, too, am still in love with shows like Gurren Lagann and DtB.
I’m still going on a Gurren Lagann 24 sugar high. I felt like someone shot me, twenty four ended on such an awful note, God, I’ve learned to hate and love at the same time. One more reason why Gurren Lagann is genius. And, yes, when its finished, I’m going to marathon GL again.
Darker Than Black is the other show I’m really hooked on. Pretty boys, good music, action-packed and then some. I can honestly feel each and every character in DtB. I’m waiting to marathon Toward the Terra, the first few episodes I saw were good, really good.
@kauldron26: You’ve just about captured my interest in Avatar. If just because I’m curious to see whether or not it can live up to anime, I’ll give it three or four episodes to impress. I must admit, the fact the story has a definite end appeals to me! I think I like Death Note that much more because it just ends.
@chami: Ahh, I finished reading the Watchmen this weekend, my first ever real experience of American comics. Suffice to say, I loved it, especially the last 3 or 4 issues. Bad-ass Rorschach was definitely my favorite character, though Nite Owl and the Comedian had their moments too! 🙂 Also, it had one of the finest, most intelligent and conflicted endings ever, especially that haunting last image of Veidt, looking all uncertain and worried. Just writing this comment, I’ve realised I probably have a lot to say about the Watchmen, so I may come up with a real review. I loved the concept of “costumed heroes” in the real world. Fingers crossed the movie lives up to the source!
@qwertypoiuy: Yeah, I would have included the Shonen Jump stuff on this list but my ardent love of those series is almost illogically strong and totally biased. Also, I agree with you on the soundtrack for Seirei, it’s a really wonderful score by Kenji Kawai that enhances every scene with an added layer of mystique and magic.
@Xerox: You’ll love Terra. Once it’s finished, I expect your review post-haste 😉 Mondays are like the best “anime” day of the week, I get home from work and both Terra and Gurren Lagann have been fansubbed. I love both of these series and to get new episodes on the same evening is an awesome treat after a hard day’s work. As for episode 24 of GL, well, it was sad, but I guess there had to be sacrifices along the way. I’m probably going to marathon my way through the last episodes now, it’s too good to only see it in snatches of 20-odd minutes.
lol @ bateszi… watchmen is a British comic!! it from your neck of the woods. i used to be a huge comic book fiend. but im going to tell you to not get invested in it, because 99% of them DO NOT END. EVER. if ur interested only get into the limited series like Preacher and Y the last man. the greatest comic book i have ever read is POWERS. that i highly recommend. watch the first six episodes of avatar.
Argh, I guess I just assume Watchmen is an American comic because it was published and financed by American companies – totally slipped my mind that Alan Moore actually lives in England! Anyway, I was thinking of reading “The Dark Knight Returns” next, since that’s the other graphic novel which is often associated with deconstructing the image of Western comics. I’ve never really been into superhero stuff, but Batman has always been more a vigilante anyway!
i just looked at the fall previews… looks like im only picking up one show: moonlight mile second season. all the others look like loli/moe crap. why is moonlight mile good?? because there are no kids, no brats, no loli, no moe, no superpowers, no annoying characters, no overly optimistic boys. its a show with all adults for adults with an adult story.
Actually, Seirei no Moribito has been a show that’s been always, consistently good. It’s more than worth watching and an animation I highly respect in every way. I do agree, however, that episode three sets up the wrong expectations for the show. Definitely the wrong expectations, which led to a disappointment that shouldn’t have been; however, despite that, it’s still a grade A show.
@kauldron26: Was Moonlight Mile season one any good? Like Skullman, the somewhat unfavourable reviews turned me away from it. I’ve heard that it’s all about manly man doing manly things in space
@Belle: I don’t disagree with you – no matter what, I’ve enjoyed watching every episode of Seirei no Moribito because it is, as you point out, an A grade anime, with beautiful animation, a great soundtrack and confident direction. With that said, it would perhaps be better served as a tightly paced 13 episode series because there was a lot of prolonged “Chagum discovers common life” and too much of that kid with the big teeth, it seemed to lose focus. But as of episode 23, I’m utterly hooked on this show again – Balsa’s flashback to Jiguro et all was something I’ve been anticipating since episode 3, they sure made us wait! When things start moving in Seirei no Moribito, it’s utterly exhilarating.
c’mon bateszi u have to stop listening to public opinion. after all public opinion states that haruhi is the greatest anime ever. moonlight mile goes against the grain of what people want in anime. its not the greatest thing ever, but it deserves to be seen. like i said, its for adults. and even if it has manliness so what?? i dont really understand where the manliness thing comes from, the guys act like guys! real guys! not the kind where they are always timid or emo. as for skullman, that u have to see for your self. if i say anything about it i will ruin it. watch it because it is radically different from any anime u have seen. the same way paranoia agent and kemonozume were. they are bursting with originality. arent u tired of stories and characters going EXACTLY as u expect?
so skullman, moonlight mile and AVATAR: The Last Airbender.
I can only agree on not being interested in the Autumn season – I already have four unlicenced shows on my watch list (Sayonara Zetsebou Sensei, Denno Coil, Bokurano and Future Boy Conan), which is (more than) enough for the time being. Besides, there’s plenty of new stuff out on DVD – I’m enjoying Ergo Proxy and I’m looking forward to Beck and a rewatch of the ever-awesome Mushishi. Besides, I haven’t seen a new title yet that’s really screamed ‘must-see’.
There’s the second season of Genshiken I guess, but I need to get the first series watched before taking that on!