Najika Dengeki Sakusen
Combine the original Charlie’s Angels with bad T&A spy shows from the ’70s and ‘spice’ it up with way too many shots of women’s underwear and you have the gist of this show. She even has “Charlie” who gives her her missions. The bad people are either overly nasty Dr. Evil types or lesbians or ‘humerittes, gynoid robots. Even the background music feels like it’s lifted from a bad ‘70s action show. There’s a plot about her getting an assistant but it’s just a rather obvious, and unsuccessful, device to try to keep this from being just episodic ecce about girls in underwear with guns. Unless you are really into cartoon panties and painfully bad writing don’t bother.
A whiney kid joins a Ninja School. He is very immature and frankly annoying a lot of the time. They not only learn classic fighting skills but a lot of magical abilities. He and his fellow students battle a lot of powerful creatures and demons. The series had some promise but finally it deteriorated into a series of fights with little plot between. I have come to call this tendency Naruto Disease; when the writers stop trying and just have the characters fight without any plot. Too many promising shows do this. It’s a sign of lazy writers.
This isn’t a fair review. They started with the premise from a movie of the same name, that I hated. Then they rendered it with the same writing, humour, and style as King of the Hill, which I hated. I can’t recommend this series.
Natsume Yuujinchou/Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou
(Natsume’s Book of Friends and Natsume’s Book of Friends 2) A teenager named Natsume inherited two things from his grandmother. A book of calligraphy and the ability to see Youkai, spirits. The ability made him a bit of a loner and he learned to hide it from others who could not see all the creatures around them. He discovers his grandmother collected the names of dozens of Youkai in the book to control them. He decides to return the names and free the spirits. In the process he learns a lot about his grandmother and himself. He also discovers others who can see and deal with Youkai and starts to make some friends. A gentle story that reminds me of Mushi-shi. More about problem solving and helping than fighting. Very good animation and writing.
Nausicaa: In The Valley of the Winds (Movie)
(Miyazaki) A post apocalyptic world of isolated cities and a toxic forest filled with poisonous trees , plants that can kill you with their spore,s and giant insects. This was all caused 1000 years earlier in something called the seven days of fire by armies of giant warriors. In this world the Princess struggles to save her home in the Valley if the Wind from the forest, insects, and military conquest by her neighbours who are trying to resurrect the last giant warrior and take over the world. Not as good animation as Spirited Away and the action is more melodramatic and violent. The environmental/peace message is a bit heavy handed in places but overall this is a good film.
Night Head Genesis
Kids with psychic powers in a world like ours but filled with very nasty people. Not sure if it was the premise or the writing or what but I just didn’t like it.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (Movie)
(Burton)The inhabitants of Halloween-town decide to do Christmas for Santa. They do not really get the whole Christmas concept though and make a huge mess of it. Wonderful musical with great songs and a good love story. I pull this out every November because it is my favorite Xmas movie.
No e in
Every once in a while after slogging through mediocre Anime for months you run across a gem. Such is No e In. The story is of a little girl who gets drawn into a web of intrigue when people come back from a apocalyptic future (one of many possible futures) in the belief that she is the key to saving themselves. The writing is breathtaking with twists and characters coming through and doing the last thing you would have expected of them. The underlying message, is deeply meaningful: You do have a choice, your future is not dictated, life is affirmed by people recognizing each other and even after someone is gone, as long as someone remembers them they do exist. It is handled with delicacy and subtlety. The animation is a mix of movie quality CGI and wonderful character drawings. At times I really suspected that some of No e in was done with old style hand drawings. It is that good. It is often listed as Noein but it really is three words.
This is a story about bad people. Two professional assassins with connections to the mob and a shadowy group called the Soldats. The body count per episode is staggering, henchmen do not last long here. Also nobody ever runs out of ammunition. The action is mostly bloodless, and their are numerous flashbacks, but this is noir as the title suggests, not a splatter flick. They do go to great lengths to slowly expose the back story of the principle characters. Overall the writing and animation is good, however the message seems to be that Men Kill, Women Kill, Children Kill, Love Kills, Hate Kills, Religion Kills, Companies Kill, Governments Kill, all with impunity. Everyone is covered in the blood of innocents except that no one is really innocent. The name of the show is Noir which means darkness. This show starts in twilight and ends in the pit of the blackest despair. It is really too cynical even for me.