Centuries ago a group of Alchemists created a box of 108 pieces. The box was a gate to the underworld. Now the gateway is open again and Phantoms are coming through. Phantoms are a cross between zombies and vampires and they hunt humans. A police team is assigned the duty of investigating a series of gruesome unexplained murders. They run into a group of people, Tokko, who kill the phantoms with swords. It turns out that the members of Tokko are the only ones that can actually hurt the Phantoms. Their job is to hunt them down. There is some political intrigue, but not much. The story is only 13 episodes long so there is not enough time to add depth to the characters. The animation is average at best. There are plot holes and inconsistencies that trip it up throughout. Worst of all it is wrapped up very abruptly and they do everything but set up a billboard saying This Is Just Chapter One. Then no more in the series were made. It had possibilities but in the end was rather unsatisfying.
Tokyo: Magnitude 8
A 12-13 year old girl and her 7-8 year old brother are at a museum when Tokyo is hit with a massive earthquake. The city is destroyed. They have to make their way back to the mainland and then home across town amidst debris, collapsing buildings, and aftershocks. The animations is excellent quality 2D. The writing is superb. Believable characters you care about, and situations that feel real. They are helped by some nice people and some are jerks. The kids talk like kids. They see some terrible things that kids that age shouldn’t see yet, but that’s the way it is. They experience all the terrors and unexpected joys of anyone who goes through a disaster such as this. No magic, no robots, no bad guys, no typical ‘Anime” cliches. A very good series.
Tom Goes to the Mayor
Bad animation, pointless stories, uncaring voice work, overall too bad to even dislike intensely.
Total Drama Island/Total Drama Action/Total Drama World Tour
I’ve mentioned before that I intensely dislike the whole Survivor genre. Animating it doesn’t help. This one is somewhat better in that they play up how the people who go on those kind of programs are attention craving losers. But it’s still forgettable drek.
Faced with the threat of Kim Possible on Disney Channel, Cartoon Network tried to create their own teenage female spy show. Unfortunately they created the most sexist stereotyped vacuous female characters ever. I have only been able stomach a few minutes at a time.
Toy Story (Movie)
(Pixar) The secret life of toys. An amusing adventure story. The toys look good, suitably wooden or plastic, unfortunately the few human characters look plastic as well. The story is fairly simplistic. Both this and the sequel are amusing if not high art. OK if it is playing on a long flight otherwise there is better stuff out there. Mostly the film is a historical artifact now. I read somewhere that it was the first movie to be totally CGI. Characters, scenes, backgrounds, everything was done on the computer in 3D.
I just can not get into this story. Vash the Destroyer has a horrific reputation that he does not deserve. He is just a klutz that ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets blamed for everything. He keeps running into very bad people and gangs that try to get him for the reward on his head and they do the damage he gets blamed for. He is also being followed by two women who work for an insurance company. It just seems overly violent and somewhat pointless.
In a post apocalyptic world, people kill animals, vampires kill people, and crusnik kill vampires. Politically the world is divided up into the church, lead by the catholic hierarchy out of the Vatican, and the empire of vampires in the east. Father Abel Nightroad is a crusnik that poses as a Catholic priest to defend humans against the vampires. He appears as somewhat naive and clumsy but when needed he can weald terrible power. This is a dark show, both figuratively and graphically. The colors are richer than most TV animation. The writing is often moody and there are times when you really have to pay attention to catch the subtle hints or you will have trouble following the action. There is also a fair amount of depth to the characters. Some of the Vatican hierarchy have agendas of their own and are not completely good guys. I like how women occupy high positions in the church. Some of the bad guys have a sympathetic side. The Crusnic for example, who are vicious killers, if you are a vampire, are victims of horrible human experimentation. The artwork is brooding and luscious. A quality job all the way around.
Tripping the Rift
The greedy captain of a small space ship, his sex slave, lame-o relative, and robot fop. Thin characters. Thin plot. Poor development. Basically this is an excuse for the animators to draw 3D nerd fantasy women. Mildly amusing for a few episodes then like most soft core porn it got boring.
A cartoon version of Get Smart with animals. The principals are an utterly inept dog and his skilled sidekick. a cat. The bad guys are animals as well. Fairly good, if rather juvenile.
A sweeping story of interstellar empire and insurrection, full of palace intrigue, and chance changes of fortune, and lucky breaks, and brilliant strategy. The animation and voice work is average at best, but the writing is ambitious…and I didn’t care for it. Maybe it’s the War and Peace problem, too many characters, scenes, and locals. After four or five episodes I started losing track of who was who and which side they were on. More importantly, I didn’t care any more. Maybe I’m just not a fan of palace intrigue. I like stories about people. This is a story about a galactic empire threatened with revolution. Or maybe it’s just because it might not have been terribly well done.