Posts Tagged ‘Sci-fi’

Armitage III: Poly Matrix (Anime)

December 19, 2011

 They don’t make trailers like this anymore. COMING SOOOON! (…1997) (Lol Jack Bauer

Japanese title: アミテージ・ザ・サード POLY-MATRIX Animation Production: Pioneer LDC Genres: Action, Adventure, Mecha, Romance, Sci-Fi, Military, Police, Cyberpunk Runtime: 90 minutes.

Plot Summary: “A policeman, Ross Sylibus, is assigned to a unit on a Martian colony, to find that women are being murdered by a psychotic named D’anclaude. He is assigned a very unorthodox partner named Naomi Armitage, who seems to have links to the victims. To stir things up more, every victim is found to be an illegally made third-generation android, built to be almost perfect replications of humans. It becomes a race against time when the government attempts to cover up the existence of the ‘Third Types’, and eliminate the only ones with the evidence. And even more importantly, why are the Thirds created to be so similar to humans, even to the extent of being indistinguishable from them on every level, mentally and biologically?”IMDB

Have you ever heard of Armitage III? No? I didn’t think so! and it is a bit of a shame considering how great I thought this movie was. Poly Matrix is a compilation of the OVA series that was released in 1995 and although I have not seen the original OVA series, judging by the similar running times I think I can safely say that it has not been diluted down, but perhaps upgraded for its feature film and includes scenes not found in the OVA release. The OVA series is relatively difficult to find, but that should not deter you from watching the movie, Poly Matrix may as well be the definitive version.

Armitage III has been completely overshadowed by similar cyberpunk releases, most notably, Ghost in the Shell, especially with its huge advertising campaign leading up to its release. Subsequently, Poly Matrix received very little attention when it was produced which is incredibly unfortunate given the enjoyment I derived from this movie. In just 90 minutes I fell in love with the characters, and as a rarity I found myself asking substantial philosophical questions throughout.

Ghost in the Shell had a very political theme with minor personal focus, whereas Armitage III felt much more personal with a minor focus on politics, in that sense they are very similar, but also very different. Armitage III focused on human emotions, with robots, and on human opinion regarding robots, with a little bit of politics thrown in. I grew to like the characters quickly, and the movie held my attention from start to finish.

Comparatively, whilst Ghost in the Shell felt a little slow, Armitage III was jam packed full of action, and it feels very much like a 90’s police action adventure movie (because that is what it is). In terms of relatability, I believe that this movies closest match is the original Appleseed movie, but Armitage III seems to have had a larger budget, and the animation shows surprising detail at times, the OST was very suitable and of high quality.

Armitage III raised some interesting questions pertaining to the line defining man and machine, putting forward questions regarding humanity and romance relevant to the world today. With the significant advancement of technology, certain robots have become almost indistinguishable from humans, and are fully functional in a human capacity, and in contrast, the humanity of various human characters was constantly put into question, both on and off screen. I found myself to be quite empathetic towards the characters, and I find the whole concept to be enlightening. If you want to see some more thought provoking human-robot romance, watch some ChobitsEve no Jikan, or perhaps some Saikano.

If you liked Ghost in the Shell, the original Appleseed movie or Macross Plus, I think that you will love this. Additionally, if you enjoyed this and would like to bolster your list with a little obscure cyberpunk, might I also suggest another little known number, Black Magic M-66?

“Don’t let bitterness change you.” Download Armitage III: Poly Matrix Download the sequel, Armitage III: Dual Matrix

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Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (Anime)

July 21, 2011

SHAFT openings are always something special.

Japanese title: 電波女と青春男
Synonyms: Electromagnetic Wave Woman and Adolescent Man
Animation Production: SHAFT
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Sci-fi, Seinen
Number of episodes: 12

Plot Summary: The story revolves around a highschool boy named Niwa Makoto. He lives with his aunt’s family since his parents are away on business. It is there where he meets his mysterious cousin of the same age Touwa Erio — who happens to tie a futon mattress around her upper body and is a self-proclaimed alien. Her staple food is pizza. Erio had been missing for half a year and was found floating in the sea. She doesn’t remember anything about what happened during that period of time, but she began to think that it was the act of an alien and wanders the neighbourhood wrapped in the futon. – ANN

The animation of Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko is fantastic, there is plenty of movement going on and the scenery is beautiful. The characters themselves are very sharp with plenty of detail and with very bright and vibrant colours. The overall imagery is brilliant and memorable, and character expressions are very well animated which I particularly enjoyed. You can sense what the characters are feeling and I felt that I could relate to them. This show just throws evocative imagery at you from start to finish, which just served to strengthen my love for all the characters, and the show.

Ryuuko Meme Erio

For the characters alone, Denpa Onna is definitely something special. Each of the characters feels unique in their own right, with none of them quite fitting into previously established archetypes, for that reason it feels very fresh. Each character is kind of an oddball and each stands out in their own way; you will not forget these guys for a long time as they felt quite real despite their eccentricities. The characters were always lovable, almost overbearingly so at times, and quirky, but not in your typical ‘moe‘ kind of way. I get tired with paper cut-outs, and Denpa Onna certainly has none of them.

Whilst the characters themselves are eccentric or strange, the setting and story feels firmly grounded in reality, serving as an excellent foil. The show is very strong in terms of romance unlike your usual anime romance in it feels believable. Nothing blows up out of proportion and character reactions don’t feel over exaggerated or forced, but rather subtle and well perceived.

This show lends its comedy aspects to the oddities of the characters, and with such poignant, unique characters it always feels new. The personalities of the characters are strong and they interact well together and importantly, each of them appears consistently throughout the show. There are no weak links here, and the show went out of its way to make each character feel as human as possible.

The soundtrack to Denpa Onna was surprisingly nice. None of the tracks were overused which is pleasant, and the background music always supported the mood fantastically. The sound effects were very effective too, worked well with comedic moments, and enhanced the overall experience greatly. The first 3 episodes did an excellent job of introducing the characters, setting the scene and establishing relationships. My only concern about Denpa Onna, is that the opening 3 episodes felt slowly paced in comparison to the remainder, and I feel that many would have not continued it on further. The ending also felt strong, nothing ‘out-of-this-world’ happened, but the show just seemed to flow nicely from beginning to end.

In conclusion, I think that this show has made a strong impact on me. I will definitely not forget this. It didn’t bring me to tears because that is not what it was aiming for, but it was very light-hearted, warm and heartfelt. It felt insightful and moving, and the quirky characters kept it feeling fresh and subtly funny throughout. There is an OVA episode 13 coming out with the DVD. I am intrigued as to what it contains because I felt that the show ended nicely, but I think it might have something to do with the upcoming festival and I am really hoping for a little romance between a certain 2 characters. It will be released on December 21st in Japan, and I am very excited.

I could not finish without mentioning Maekawa’s costumes. She also taught me how to make a bottle rocket, for which I am eternally grateful.

Maekawa - Sandwich Costume Maekawa - Mochi costume Maekawa - Octopus sausage
Maekawa - Fish costume Maekawa - Alien Maekawa - Dugong

If you enjoyed this, I would personally recommend any of Shafts earlier works. It feels very much like Arakawa under the bridge, but without the skit format and a little more serious. I am a huge fan of Shaft, and I believe you will be too after watching this. A season 2 might have been hinted at, but if so, I do not believe that it is required.

Download Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko

Gantz (Live-action movie)

July 19, 2011

Director: Shinsuke Sato
WritersHiroya Oku (manga), Yûsuke Watanabe (screenplay)
Stars: Ken’ichi MatsuyamaTakayuki Yamada and Kazunari Ninomiya
Runtime: 150 minutes
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-fi
Release Date: 29th January 2011
Rating:
PG-12 (WHAAAAT?) 

Plot Summary: Kei Kurono and his childhood friend Masaru Kato attempt to save a man who has fallen onto the train tracks but are run down by an oncoming train. However, rather than finding themselves dead, they are transported to a strange apartment in which they find a mysterious black orb known as ‘GANTZ’. Along with others there, they are provided weaponry and sent on missions to battle alien beings. Is this world, which tests your will to survive, a game or reality?

Do you know what was released on Japanese DVD and Blu-ray on the 13th? The first of 2 Gantz movies! It has been fairly easy to find an English version since its premier, but that is just sub-par. That is right folks, no longer do you have to watch that crappy dubbed version, because I spotted my first DVD rip last night.

The DVD’s/Blu-rays are scheduled for release on the 30th of August in the USA, and infinitely more importantly, October 3rd in the UK. (Pre-order them you mug). Part 2, Perfect answer will come out on DVD in Japan on October 14th, so yeah, we’ll have to wait.

Exciting Review! It was cool as hell.”

Gantz - Tanaka Alien

Hahaha ...sorry.

Dowload Gantz (HD Dual-Audio version)
Download the soundtrack (Done by Kenji Kawai, which is cool by me.)

While you are at it, why don’t you go watch the Gantz anime?

Deadman Wonderland (Anime)

July 15, 2011

Japanese title: デッドマンワンダーランド
Animation Production: Manglobe
Genres: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Drama, Mature,  Shounen, Supernatural, Tragedy
Number of episodes:
12

Plot Summary: Ganta Igarashi has been convicted of a crime that he hasn’t committed, and sent to a new, privately owned and operated prison, where the inmates are the main attraction in a modern day twist to the gladiatorial coliseums of ancient times. Throw in a healthy dose of weird little girl, some new-found super powers, and a little conspiracy theory, and you have Deadman Wonderland. – ANN

So, Deadman Wonderland eh? In all honesty this was one of my more anticipated shows to come out this Spring. Manglobe was behind this one, and judging by their track record I have to say I was seriously looking forward to it. The World God Only Knows (2010), Samurai Champloo  (2004) and Ergo Proxy (2006)  are definitely some of my favourite shows to date, so yes please! Unfortunately, Deadman Wonderland did not quite live up to my expectations.

The most appealing aspect of Deadman Wonderland was how dark, gritty and atmospheric it was. The characters were often ruthless and deceitful and the concept of “Deadman Wonderland”, the setting of the show, speaks volumes about the author’s view of humanity; a view which I share, and for that reason alone I certainly enjoyed it. Not only that, the characters were intriguing, and seemed to have a genuine past. The show constantly painted a moral shade of grey and the world itself was well thought out. Additionally, the show seemed to have a great shock factor not often seen in anime, I found myself cringing more often than I would have expected and not because it was bad either.

Deadman wonderland episode 2 sniper guard

"Deadman wonderland" is a fascinating place.

Deadman wonderland exhibits a prevailing sense of irony throughout, it is beautiful. The main seat of my enjoyment was within episodes 1-6 and for a while the show seemed highly promising.  The early episodes did an excellent job of setting the mood; The situation was depressing, it was dire. For the viewer it was very exciting, particularly the “games”. Around about episode 7 however my enjoyment dwindled. The shock factor certainly remained, that much is true, but the focus very much shifted. New characters were introduced and suddenly, there was a plot. The pacing of the show felt dramatically different, possibly sped up to fit within the 12 episode window and it started to feel very shounen-eque in nature. The fights felt shallow and the superpowers whilst very interesting in concept, felt poorly executed. Furthermore, the main character became quite irritating, whiny and dense; a typical shounen male lead.

Ganta Igarashi - the whiny crying loser

Irritating main character.

There could easily be a second season to flesh out the story, but  due to the story being slightly rushed, many of the more interesting characters got swept to the sidelines. The initial sense of mystery and intrigue did wonders for this show but unfortunately the show lost some of that charm part way through. The closing episodes left a lot of loose ends to be tied, but there has been an OVA scheduled for release since before Deadman Wonderland even aired. It is set to be bundled with volume 11 of the manga this October in Japan.

In terms of animation this show was great. The production was right up there along with earlier Manglobe works, and the show did not fall into many noticeable  clichés or traps. The choice in animation style did feel questionable at times, with the camera panning and zooming to make up for what seemed like a lack of real movement. It was by no means horrendous, but it did draw my eye, and the show was so dark in terms of colour, that I had to turn up the brightness of my television to make out some of the details.

One gripe I had with this show was some of the major censorship in parts. This show has a lot of blood, after all, this show is rife with torture and violence. Hell, the powers themselves are blood, but the censorship seems to only cut in at arbitrary moments, and when it does, you notice. The show has been licensed by Funimation, so hopefully, the DVD and BD will be released uncensored.

Deadman wonderland censorship blur owl arm chopped off

Censorship often cut in arbitrarily and is very noticable.

The soundtrack for this show was also fantastic, I particularly liked the opening song “One Reason” by Fade and it was refreshing to hear an anime opening actually tailored to the show. Unfortunately they did seem to overuse some tracks at times and again, it was noticeable.

Saying all that however I really did enjoy Deadman Wonderland. It is by no means perfect and in retrospect quite shallow, but it was well worth watching and I do recommend that you do the same. I have a feeling that if you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy Rainbow and Now and then, Here and there, both of which portray a very grim situation, but don’t end up feeling all shounen in style.

Deadman Wonderland did leave me with one nagging question.

Deadman Wonderland Toto androgenous

Is Toto male or female?

-“So make me your deadman”
Download Deadman Wonderland 

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