A series about Black and White. Alphard and Canaan, similar ruthless assassins but one fighting on the ‘good’ side and the other a ‘terrorist’ (Eventually it is revealed that they both received the name Canaan). Maria and Liang, in love with their respective Canaans but one sweet and innocent, the other obsessive, brooding, and finally insane. Around this dual of light and dark is a story of ambiguous government morality, enemies fighting on the same side, allies betraying each other, the good guys doing despicable things and the bad saving the day. Around that is the public. People that are cannon fodder at times and cheer for the Good Show but are too stupid to realize that it’s a deadly battle, and the military following orders without thought to whether what they do is right or wrong. A cynical story with aspirations of being another Ghost in the Shell. While not that good it is better than average.
Kids in summer camp forever like Camp Laslo and several other shows. This however has an interesting twist. There are two camps, Camp Sunny Smiles, the good one across the lake that has everything you could want plus McGee’s sister and rival Jordan Buttsquat and Camp Lakebottom where McGee is. Camp Lakebottom has a zombie and a sasquatch as camp counsellors, a monster in the lake, psycho cook, and more. It’s as bad as a camp can be but that makes it more fun. The show is surprisingly fresh and interesting. I like it.
Kids at summer camp. Laslo is a monkey, Raj is an elephant, the camp is run by a moose and a slug and so on. Mildly amusing but very juvenile. It also got to be strange to see summer camp stories in the winter. Don’t these kids ever get to go home?
Castle in the Sky (Movie)
(Miyazaki) A young mining engineer Pazu, rescues Sheeta, a girl who floats down from the sky. Together Pazu and Sheeta try to escape flying pirates, the military, and figure out where Laputa, a mythical flying castle is. They discover giant robots that are powerful but friendly. Are captured by the military and then rescued by the pirates. Finally, they find Laputa but then have to stop the secret agent running the military operation when he tries to claim Laputa and use its power to take over the world. A great, exciting story with many twists. The bad guys are not always bad and the good are not always good. In the end there is a clear message when the technology, greed, and military on Laputa are destroyed and the tree saves Pazu and Sheeta. It is exciting, funny in places, engrossing and above all beautiful. A very good film.
The Cat Returns (Movie)
(Miyazaki). Haru is kind and means well but is a disorganized mess. When she risks herself to save a cat, it turns out to be a prince of the Kingdom of Cats who are so grateful they decide to reward her. The first few gifts are amusingly inappropriate (the hundred gift-wrapped live mice stuffed in her locker is laugh out loud funny) Then she discovers that the King has decided to marry her to his son. She is not happy about this and is at a loss about what to do when a mysterious voice directs her to find the Cat Bureau. There she meets the Baron and several of his friends who will help her. Then she is kidnapped and taken to the Kingdom of Cats for the wedding. This is a very enjoyable film, funny in places, and has a good message – know who you are and believe in yourself. In the end Haru is not a disorganized little girl any more, she is a confident young woman. Perhaps not as emotionally moving as Spirited Away or Nausicaa but still a good film. The voice casting is perfect.
Three cats inherit all the money they could ever use. They live in a mansion and have a butler to wait on them. One is a moron, one is an arrogant leader (think Abbott and Costello) and the third is Scottish. A strange show but not awful. Surprisingly fun actually.
Cat Soup (Movie)
Two anthropomorphic cats travel and have adventures. The on line description said “A cats journey to find his sibling’s souls”. It could be. The plot is a little hard to follow. There is no narration. Overall it’s very surreal, philosophical and dark. The cuteness of the Hello Kitty style cats and bright colors are put in stark relief by what they experience. Terrifying at times. Horrific in places. Disgusting in others. Beautiful in others. Amazingly enough I think I got what they were trying to say even without words. Just a very strange film.
Cells At Work
The working cells of the body as anthropomorphized little people. inside a huge city. The red blood cells are busy delivering things. White blood cells are hunting down pathogens. Other immune cells each have their own personality. Platelets are portrayed as little children that repair things. It’s all cute and more than a bit silly. On the other hand they regularly freeze frame and deliver short expository bits containing very technical medical information. How different parts of the immune system work. What different pathogens do. How the cells react to everything from bacteria, to virus, to parasites, to cancer, to severe injury. I ended up learning a lot. I really enjoyed this one.
Chicken Run (Movie)
(Burton)The Great Escape adapted to star hens trying to escape from a pot pie factory. A slick handsome rooster comes in and promises to teach them how to fly. Trouble is that he is a poser who cannot really fly. Lots of slapstick humor and chicken gags.
Computers have evolved into humanoid robots that look like little girls. Hideki tries to figure out how to get his Persocom running, but Chee is not like most Persocoms. She feels emotions and learns. The idea behind Chobits is to examine how society objectifies women. Unfortunately Hideki is too much of a dork/spaz to be sympathetic, and much of the early writing is embarrassingly obvious (her on-switch is between her legs for example). Several of the episodes feel like filler that do nothing to forward the plot. Lastly Chee is far too passive. She needs to grow into a much stronger character. At #19 the writing suddenly gets much better. Suddenly, Hideki is logical and hard headed, even aggressive when called for. There is real menace when two dark figures start stalking Chee and drama when Chee is kidnapped. Secret pasts and hidden agendas come to light. The story also starts to examine how Persecoms are viewed by women. Unfortunately, it is too late to save the series. Chobits also has some of the worst music ever attached to an Anime.
The neighbourhood fat kid. Common suburban comedy situations. Kinda reminds me of a low budget The Simpson’s. It’s not terrible but doesn’t really break any new ground.
Woman warriors that fight to protect humans from monsters. You get a lot of the backstory, and history. Not all the Claymore or the Organization are what they appear to be. The writing is quite deep, but the animation is sub par. Movements are jerky and the fight scenes have a lot of stills moving across background, or quick loops of disjointed frames that look silly. I bailed on the series after fifteen episodes though because it just kept getting more gruesome. Extended scenes of monsters torturing captured Claymore were enough for me.
All of the creativity, cleverness, and subtlety of Family Guy and American Dad, (that is to say none whatsoever) but now with Racism. The Cleveland’s spins off the black characters from Family Guy and plays on every ugly black stereotype from the last century. They even had to change the original words to the theme because it was so full of tacky racial slurs that even Fox affiliates were starting to talk about not running the show. The Cleveland’s continues the career of Seth MacFarlane. How someone so utterly lacking in any vestige of talent, creativity or simple taste keeps producing shows escapes me. Oh yeah it’s on Fox.
Surprisingly interesting. Kids at a boarding school that lead a double life. They secretly battle in a video game in a land called Lyoko against XANOS, a bad AI that can actually effect the real world and wants to take over. A fascinating part of the show is that the “real” world is cartoony 2D graphics and the “Virtual” world of Lyoko is a well rendered 3D environment. Also, Aileta a virtual character from Lyoko has been able to become real and enrol in the school. They also have a Redo switch. They often save the world and defeat the bad guy and then reset the world to a point in time just before the crisis started. Thus they are the only ones that remember what happened. I have to admit that I was wrong about Code Lyoko. At first I thought it was fairly juvenile. The more I watched it more depth to the characters and stories became evident. Also the theme song is one of the best for any show out there. I would put it on a par with the Yoko Kanno material in Ghost in the Shell and Cowboy Beebop.
A family moves to a creepy old hotel in the country and the daughter Coreline explores the place, strange tenants, and general weirdness. She discovers a small door in an unused room that leads to an alternate universe where her ‘Other Mother’ lives. Her Other Mother is better in every way, other than she has buttons for eyes. Things start to take an ominous turn and Coreline must escape from what she now sees is a trap. Though this was marketed as a animated spooky story for kids, it’s actually a horror film with oedipal psychological overtones. Quite good actually.
Corpse Bride (Movie)
(Burton) A stuttering Milquetoast of a guy has to get married but keeps messing up his lines. While practicing his vows in the forest he inadvertently pledges his hand to a corpse who assumes they are now married, she was killed on her wedding day and her ghost could not rest until she gets married. Creepy and funny at the same time.
Cossette No Shouzou
A murdered girl’s spirit is trapped in an antique glass and is discovered years later by an artist working in an antique shop. Uninteresting.
Courage the Cowardly Dog
I love the mixed media animation they use on this one. Some of the stories even had some depth about them. After a season or two they seem to have run out of ideas for situations and I got tired of watching them beat up this all too nice dog.
Cow and Chicken
The current incarnation of the Tex Avory school of animation. Rubbery characters, one smart, one stupid, have adventures with other characters in their world. Lots of gross humour and lowbrow comedy. This looks like a retooling of Ren and Stimpy.
Interplanetary Bounty Hunters that chase bad guys, try to make ends meet and keep out of trouble, and find a bit of happiness on the way. This show is a bit violent, has a number of drug references, lots of smoking, and sexual innuendo. It also has great music and extremely good stories tying together a single overall plot.
Cowboy Beebop: The Movie (Movie)
Interplanetary bounty hunters trying to capture a madman before he can spread a plague on Mars. Lots of intrigue. The series was done first and you might have some trouble understanding the characters if you have not seen it. Overall it is quite enjoyable. Whoever designed the scene with all of the old airplanes was a huge aviation buff. Rather than drawing generic old airplanes they put precisely done accurate drawings of real aircraft from the 30s and 40s. Fairy Swordfish, TBM Avengers, and others.
On the bad side of town a private investigator with an assortment of odd ‘helpers’ plies his trade. He deals mostly with minor, almost trivial cases except for those that his brother, a flamboyant transvestite (and a really bad one) sends him. In the middle of this a series of mysterious deaths of young women happen. They were turned into green glass statues that shatter shortly after they are discovered. There is a damsel in distress, (who also periodically starts to turn into green glass but can push back and recover her humanity). The private investigator tries to help her (without coming in contact with her because while women can touch her, men get 3rd degree burns). There isa lot of sexual tension and subtext but it is not ecchi. The writing is fairly good, as fresh as a hard boiled detective story involving corrupt corporations and burned out cops can get. It was fun.
A female cyborg that fights crime by night in Maridiana, a city on the French coast. Her daytime alter ego is a mild mannered MALE milquetoast English teacher. Gender issues are brought up, accepted roles are bent and the primary characters are explored in depth. An interesting show. The only weakness is that the villains are two dimensional. The mad scientist that created Cyber 6, Data 7, and a host of other creations, is never explored in depth. Jose, his son is just a spoiled, temperamental, inept bad kid. His minions are moronic mask wearing mutants with no explanation of where they came from or why. Overall though, the show is rather good.