Kannazuki no Miko
Two girls, one from a rich family and one not are thrown together in a little town in the woods. It turns out they are the priestesses of the Sun and the Moon. They have to perform various rituals and get to know each other. A group of generic evil characters is bent on destruction. The series can’t really decide if it’s focussing on the relationship between the two girls, and the writing is not really clear enough to hold that together. Or is it about their school life, but there isn’t much of that shown. Or is it about magic, but both sides use giant robots. Overall it’s a pretty mess that gets to be repetitive. Oh there’s five minutes left in the episode, time for a robot battle.
Kenran Butou Sai: The Mars Daybreak Episodes
On a planet covered with water and floating cities, pirates and Earth Forces battle for control. The battles themselves are mostly with RBs, aquatic Mechs. There is an interesting love/hate relationship between Gram and Vess. A beluga whale in a small mech-suit, a talking cat, and the ships navigator who looks young but it turns out is 141 years old are never explored in depth. Interesting characters, overall a decent, if not groundbreaking piece. The writing is OK but gets a bit flaky at the end with missing bits and events that seem out of synch. The one odd thing is that it is set on Mars and I kept tripping over that. Mars has never had and never will have a planet-wide ocean. At one point they encounter an exhibit of the “First Inhabitants” who appear to be neolithic. This means that it wasn’t a Mars terraformed by super advanced humans either. Odd.
A diminutive kid sees himself as a daredevil and does stunts and gets into trouble. He has a sidekick Gunther, and deals with a bullying brother, manipulative sister, lamo parents, a psycho girl with a crush on him, authority, and anything else he can rebel against. A surprisingly amusing series. The only stumbling block for me is that Kick looks very much like a boy version of Mandy from The Grim Adventures, and Kicks brother looks very much like a boy version of Frankie from Foster’s Home.
This looked good on the iTunes Store. Fortunately I did not actually pay to watch it. The two main characters are drawn in a very juvenile fashion, unlike everyone else, and their behaviour also seems out of place for who they are and the responsibilities they have. The writing does have some good concepts, but the stories just stretch the bounds of credulity. It is actually very disappointing. I only caught a few episodes and then gave up as it was just too stupid.
Kikis Delivery Service (Movie)
(Miyazaki) A 13 year old witch sets out on her own to make her way in the world. Along the way she makes friends, starts a business, deals with good, and crass people, and suffers a crises of confidence. Though it is theoretically about learning to believe in yourself it is as much about recovering from burnout and loving what you do. The movie is fun, but not Miyuzakis best. First, the end is predictable; she recovers her ability to fly just in time to save the day. Also the film is just too long. At 105 minutes it really felt slow in parts, and should have been closer to 75 minutes long. That would have made for a much tighter film that would have flowed better. Alternatively some of the long scenes spent showing Kiki angry or depressed could have been spent explaining WHY she was angry or depressed. I think I have figured out some of her mood swings but others are still a mystery to me. She treats this guy who saves her from the police quite badly “because we have not been formally introduced” Hello! You are new in town. How are you supposed to be formally introduced when you do not know anyone? Even when they get to know each other and are at the beach having a good time she suddenly turns cold and leaves him. I still have not figured out why.
A teenage girl that saves the world regularly. Flashes of interesting bits, especially when you see her interact with her family. Some of the story lines are quite good even. A couple of things keep this from being a really great show. First the theme song talks about how Kim is average girl. Typical in that she is the most beautiful kid in school, on the pep squad, and has a doctor and a rocket scientist for parents. Yeah, really average. Secondly, other than Ron she does not seem to have any close friends, which seems odd considering the items mentioned above. Lastly this is a Disney production so do not expect top of the line writing. Most of the stories are a bit too clean to be believable. It has its moments, though.
The world is huge and separate city/states exist with wilderness between. Kino is a traveler. Accompanied by Hermes her motorcycle she travels from ‘country’ to ‘country’ stopping and discovering the strange customs and actions of the people. She only stays three days in each country. Sometimes she runs into people between the countries and learns from them. The stories are very well written with subtexts and backstory. Most of the stories are very allegorical but the series is not preachy. This is a thoughtful series with a lot to say and well developed characters.
Kino’s Journey: The Land Of Sickness
A single half hour episode presented separately from the rest of the series. It follows the normal model, Kino visits a Country, all seems nice, then she discovers some dark secret. You shouldn’t get the impression I didn’t like it. It was just as good as any of the other Kino’s Journey stories. It was just a little surprising that it wasn’t longer, or try some change to the formula or anything like that. If only because it was released separately from the rest of the series. It’s really just episode 14.
Koukaku Kidoutai: SAC_2045
A later instalment of the Ghost in the Shell franchise. The animation is mediocre Jimmy Neutron/Barbie: Life In The Dreamhouse grade CGI, so everything looks like plastic. The character design is uninspired. Togosa looks nothing like his counterpart in the earlier series. Bato looks like Duke Nukum. The Major looks like a store manikin. Mind you, I can put up with iffy graphics if the story is good, but it’s not. It’s about what you’d expect from Netflix, lots of guns, and explosions, but none of the deep questions that made the original so thought provoking. The bad guy is an obvious retread of a Matrix bad guy with the mannerisms of Gouda from Ghost in the Shell: Second Gig. The writing, the story, and the artwork were just not very good, very derivative. It felt like a low budget video game.
Some anime are good. Some are bad. Some are a tragedy as an interesting premise is wasted on a lousy production. This was billed as a story about a beautiful woman who was an immortal and watches Japan develop over the centuries while battling an evil organization. After starting in Feudal Japan and a couple of scenes of US B-29 bombers the series settles in the future where the world is ruined and a war between the evil army and a bloodthirsty insurrection movement. At the core it’s a very tired Vampire War story with shades of silly Twilight romance thrown in. The body count is staggering. The bad guys are absurdly evil. Overall the writing is trite and hackneyed.
A spiritualist keeps running into this girl. She’s a vampire but she also destroys even more dangerous monsters. She’s not 100% good or bad. A nice example of anime from the late 1980’s. It’s kinda short but enjoyable.