The artwork closely follows the Manga style. The production is very cinematic, much more than most Anime. Two orphans are on the run in a ruined world for a debt their mother ran up before she died. They are ‘rescued’ by the Duchess who pays their debt and takes them to live at The Hotel Providence. There they discover that Tatsuya, the youngest is able to use Dynamis a powerful telekinetic energy. There are others living at The Hotel that can use Dynamis as well. Together they all form a ‘family’. Opposing them are others that can use Dynamis as well. They work for The Professor. Each side has a different view of how to save the world from the horror it finds itself in. There are hunts for ‘terrorists’. A quasi-military force of faceless monsters acts to ‘protect’ humanity while killing the civilians it claims to protect. Flashbacks to what happened before, and how the characters knew each other then. The story is very much based on what happened to the US following 9/11. The horror started with an event that happened on 10/10 (not 9/11). The event is called Twin X (drawn to remind you of the Twin Towers). A powerful allegory with a very important message. The end is horrific and ultimately apocalyptic.
Girls Last Tour
On first glance the drawing and mannerisms make you think this is for kids. Two girls, 12-14 age are travelling. Chito is knowledgeable and logical. Yuuri is emotional and rash. They get into binds, and find unexpected rewards. But like Kino’s Journey the superficial appearances mask serious questions and deep philosophical issues. The landscape is a deserted post-apocalyptic city littered with destroyed military equipment, where they must find food and fuel, and a place to stay. They are riding in a military half-tracked motorcycle, which hints at a war that left them alone and sent them on their journey. They know little about history and the world, and we get only a couple of glimpses of their past. Someone they called Grandfather, putting them on the motorcycle and telling them to flee. Snippets of films about a war that immolated all humanity and other life on earth. They may or may not be sisters, it isn’t defined, and their upbeat outlook on the bleak world around them is quite uplifting. Overall it’s a very nice series that I’d highly recommend.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
A high school girl discovers that she can jump back in time whenever she wants to. She uses it to fix things in her life. If something embarrassing or bad happens she jumps back and runs the sequence again until she gets it right. However there is a finite amount of good and bad in the world. If she changes history so she comes out well, then someone else ends up suffering. An interesting premise, but average execution. Things get complicated toward the end, which was refreshing. A nice movie, I enjoyed it, but it could have been more.
The Good Dinosaur
Dinosaurs are still around. Arno hatches into a family of Apatosaurs that have a farmstead in the wilderness. He is the runt, scared of everything. His luck goes from bad to worse and finally he falls in the river and is swept many miles downstream. This is the story of his journey home, coming to love a small human he encounters, meeting other dinosaurs and assorted creatures, and growing up emotionally. There has been some unfair criticism of this as just being retreaded situations from other films. Some are similar but they handle them with their own twist. I really loved the animation which is a mix of cartoon animals, set into actual western landscapes, albeit with a bit of seamless CGI touch up. Very nice.
A backwoods tourist trap. Odd characters and weird events. It has style and a lot of weird humour. I like how it’s set in backwoods Oregon, where I lived and things really are nearly this weird. I liked it a lot at first but somehow though the series got tired after a few episodes.
The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
When a maniacal little girl and a moron of a little boy trap Grimm, Death complete with scythe and black robe, they get involved with occult and weird situations. The first season was by far the best. I especially loved Billys Shop of Horrors in which a green glowing alien comes to Endsville and, with Billy’s help eats everyone’s brain. It is a musical and I end up humming the amazingly catchy, if utterly sick, song for a week after I see it. I also love the way Death has a Jamaican accent. Later seasons rely more on Billy’s bodily functions and stupidity and less on good stories.
Guardian of the Sacred Spirit
After the emperors second son is possession by a ‘water fiend’ an evil spirit, the Emperor feels he has no choice but to kill the boy. The Empress entrusts a female warrior as a bodyguard for her son. This is the story of their flight and living undercover. The Warrior has her own baggage, She is working as a bodyguard to atone for her past. Eight lives preserved for the eight lives taken. The story follows them as they form a bond, she softens, he grows up. Fantastic artwork. Very good writing. This is near the top of Anime I’ve seen. Only a couple of things keep this from being on the best list. The series is a bit long. 26 episodes for a story that could have been done in 13 to 18. No wasted episodes, it’s just draggy in spots. It could have been a much tighter story. The other reason it has possibly the most annoying opening theme songs ever recorded. Cloying and smarmy, it just grates on your nerves. Overall though, the series is quite good.
A girl goes off to a special academy and ends up fighting to save Earth. Made in 1988 so the graphics are mediocre by modern standards. The writing is also a bit on the melodramatic side. There is also a good deal of gratuitous T&A that is really not necessary for the story. I will give them credit for having a good understanding of relativistic time dilation. It also uses time dilation to show how people change as they age as the characters fall out of synch with each other. Some have turned into old women with children while others are still 16. However they missed an opportunity when they did not show humanity many years later when the principals return to Earth. Gunbuster was done by the same people that did Evangelion a few years later. The core of the story is also the same as Stellvia from nearly two decades later. Both series are head and shoulders better then GunBuster. But they clearly owe a debt to the earlier work.
A boy and a teenager who is an ass live in a cave run by a moron. One day an evil mech crashes through the roof. They kill it and escape to the surface. That’s what I got in an episode and a half before I bailed. I also encountered flaming gay stereotypes, implied racism, and way too much T&A from the woman that they pick up on the way. It was just too crass, too many offensive tropes, and too poorly done for me. I mean I’ve seen some of these characters before, sometimes in good series. These were just done in horribly ham fisted way as was the writing, voice acting, and animation. Why this was on somebodies 20 best Anime list, where I discovered it, escapes me.