Friday, October 16, 2009

Playing catch-up

Ah, the eternal conundrum-- if I spend all my time watching anime, then I have no time to blog about it.
Watched three episodes of Letter Bee so far-- two broadcast and one I'm guessing was an OVA teaser. It's kind of a textbook "missing the point" anime adaptation; the main draw of the manga is the art, which has an interestingly lush style that's almost entirely absent here. The plot & characters are also not doing much for me, but then the first 2 chronological-order eps are almost pure exposition and setup, and the OVA is a random "power of friendship" story that wasn't quite heartfelt or original enough to penetrate my cynical defenses. I'm still willing to give it another couple eps to pick up, since it looks like underage Millia Rage is about to join the cast.

Also halfway through Haruhi season 2. I wish Kyoto Animation hadn't made K-On between seasons, it seems to have infected their overall art style. Endless Eight is hilariously, unbelievably ballsy, but it's probably a lot easier to appreciate if you burn through it in one or two sittings instead of doing the week-by-week drip... which is exactly why I usually don't watch anime weekly, really.

On the other hand, that means I do things like finish Bakemonogatari way too late to make any constructive comments on the old posts. I enjoyed it, but SHAFT was definitely showing some Gainaxian time crunch problems on the last, oh, five episodes or so, and aren't nearly as graceful under pressure (speaking of which, watching Evangelion 1.0 was kind of odd, since most of the directorial style I think of as distinctively Eva comes from working around budget restrictions, which isn't really a problem with the new movies). I liked the last episode, but I hope the upcoming OVA episodes will actually provide something resembling closure on all the supernatural goings-on. Then again, I fear just how pedo SHAFT might get when freed from broadcast standards.

Also been (re)watching some old HK flicks. Man, the '80s and '90s were a magical time over there. At least one of these deserves a post to itself, but I don't have all that much to say about New Legend of Shaolin beyond "Well, that certainly was a Wong Jing movie". I mean, the man is committed to pure entertainment, but he's equally committed to just being completely random. Which is, of course, part of what makes his films so entertaining. Even dubbing it (poorly) as "Legend of the Red Dragon" didn't kill it. Arguably, it is made even more entertaining by trying to figure out which jokes are in the original. I can totally see Wong Jing making Jet Li crack jokes about not wearing underwear, but I somehow doubt "If we're going to fight the evil empire you're going to need your potassium" was in the script. It's also nice to see a movie with lots of spear fighting; seems to be one of the lesser-loved fu weapons.

And to go off-topic, I started introducing a pal to The Prisoner. I haven't seen this series in over a decade, which was enough time to forget that the opening theme and sequence are possibly humanity's greatest achievement.


  1. Shaft and pedo: Have you SEEN the fucking Mayoi DVD cover? JESUS.
    New Legend of Shaolin is the one with "I want ass of chicken, not ass of child!" which alone earns it a place in history.

  2. I have not seen said cover, and I suspect I am much happier that way.

    "I want ass of chicken, not ass of child!"

    That definitely did not survive the Americanization process. Oh god, am I going to have to watch this movie again?

  3. Ha, and trying to add "Americanization" to the tag list leads me to see there's a character limit.

  4. ...I also see that Wong Jing's Wikipedia entry has some truly epic quotes. This man is a juggernaut of chutzpah.


  6. One day I will learn to stop clicking on the links you and Guder send me.

  7. They've also admitted that the DVD version of episode 10 won't be much like the unfinished version that aired, and suggested they'll be adding some of the cut Suruga dialogue back to episode 9.
    Now if only Kuuchuu Buranko raws would actually show up...

  8. I still have no idea if I actually want to watch the second season of Haruhi past Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody. I can imagine going insane around the fifth episode of E8, and am not sure if Sighs is worth the trouble.

    I also wouldn't put it past Kadokawa to tell Kyoto Animation to reboot the series and only have, like, three iterations of E8.

  9. Sighs was sort of a crap novel, and episode 0 basically covered everything worth while. Except for a few bits with the talking cat.
    They're apparently doing Disappearance as a movie, so skipping to that is definitely an option. Unless they do the short story from winter vacation.

  10. The thing about Endless Eight is that they're not actually reusing any animation or audio, as far as I can tell. Every scene is completely re-animated with different framing and staging (and even changing the clothes everyone wears), and the dialogue seems to have been re-recorded, even though they're mostly saying the same things. It's the total commitment to not cutting any corners on this completely ludicrous idea that makes it so amazing.

  11. I'm with you 100% on the budget restrictions point.