Animation E
Ed, Edd, N Eddy
I really liked this show about three kids when I first saw it. Unfortunately the characters are all one dimensional and it got repetitious after a few episodes.

Elfen Lied
Diclonus are a new branch of humanity. Identified by two stubby horns on their head. They have invisible arms, that they can use to control, or destroy. Lucy/Nyuu is one especially powerful Diclonus. She escapes the lab where she and others are being held and mercilessly experimented upon. Lucy/Nyuu encounters a student and his cousin that live near the sea that show her the first kindness she’s ever known. This is a very violent and bloody series. However the underlying writing is very surprisingly subtle and meaningful. The characters are complex, not all good or bad. There’s backstory and reasons they’re doing what they do. The music is beautiful, I watched the opening sequence for every episode just to hear the theme. There are several underlying messages. First that monsters are not born, they are created through cruelty and intolerance. Second not all monsters have horns, some wear suits or lab coats. Thirdly, love equals redemption. A superb series that addresses some very real questions about society. The end is somewhat ambiguous, with questions still unanswered, but that is exactly appropriate.

The Emperors New Groove (Movie)
(Disney) OK animation and a simple story-line full of pratfalls and slapstick. David Spade and witty writing saves this one. His portrayal of Cusco, the spoiled emperor who is changed into a Llama and has to find his way back to the palace and locate the antidote is full of wry humour, and wit.

The Emperors New School
A prequel series to the Emperors New Groove movie. Actually it happens in a parallel universe where all of the characters already know each other, even if they meet for the first time in the movie. Classic average Disney series with overly simplistic characters and a bit too much in the way of lessens learned.

End of Evangelion (Movie)
This is a very hard film to review. First it makes no sense unless you have seen the series. Many have speculated that this is the REAL ending Hideaki Anno wanted but could not put on television. Second it is very violent and overtly sexual, much more so than the series. Lastly the ending is ambiguous. After fighting all the monsters there is a protracted psycho-religious discussion about existence and humanity after which Shinji and Asuka are on the beach on a ruined earth. Even after reading the plot synopsis on Wikipedia I really do not have any idea what the director was trying to say. Christian iconography is everywhere, though the people actually motivated by religiosity come off as sadistic sociopaths so you can not say this is a Christian film. If anything the message that I got out was that religion tries to homogenize all people and eliminate what makes us human. The opposite of religion would be individuality and humanity. That I can agree with.

Endangered Species
A rabbit, a sea gull, and a squirrel live in a home in the forest. Dumb slapstick comedy. It aims for a Spongebob level but fails. Mediocre.

Eureca 7
Interesting premise by the same group (BONES) that did Wolfs Rain. People surf on air currents, it is called “liffing”. Renton, a boy whose father was a hero who died to save the rest of humanity and whose idol is Holland, one of the greatest liffers in history leaves home and joins the crew of the Gekkostate. A flying ship that carries a number of huge LFOs, humanoid flying robots, that fly on the same air currents. They are being hunted by the military government and their LFOs but the Gekkostate pilots are better. A lot of hang gliding and surfing and skateboarding counterculture subtext in the story. The core of the story is Renton and his love for Eureka, one of the pilots though there are a lot of other sub plots going on simultaneously. Nicely done.

Eureka 7 AO
This is billed as the sequel to Eureka 7 but it’s actually very different. The protagonist is AO, Eureka’s son. The giant robots and trapairs are still there. However where the original series took place in a parallel universe very different from ours this one is set the early 21st century on a planet much more like Earth. Japan is facing an independence movement on Okinawa. Generation Bleu is an organization that battles blooms of giant “scub coral” that draw “Secrets”, destructive entities that destroy and kill. Generation Bleu is the only group that knows how to fight them. Then a very powerful character that calls himself “Truth” appears and starts causing mayhem. It’s technically a good series, something I’ve come to expect from Bones, but it seems to have lost much of the magic of the original.

A series that grew on me over time. On the face of it the show is about a series of attacks from “Angels”, monsters from somewhere in outer space. Huge robots driven by special pilots fight against them. As you get into it, however you discover that the show is far more about the interactions of the characters. Some are ambitious, some are lonely and depressive. Some are kind and sweet. Some are jerks. There is a whole sub text about characters who seem to be either predicting the attacks or orchestrating the attacks based on prophecies in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Interestingly, there is lots of Christian symbolism, the creatures are Angels, the robots are Evas, biblical references abound, some characters wear crosses around their necks, some of the bad(?) guys are motivated by biblical prophecy. The show is filled with Christian iconography but it is not a Christian show. That is just texture in the background. The last two episodes are strange. Apparently Hideaki Anno was not able to do the ending he wanted. He ended up with a two episode examination of the psychology of the characters. It is just strange and really drags in places. Check out
End of Evangelion for the real ending which is much better.

Excel Saga
A very silly piece of Anime satire. Very self conscious and filled with inside references to anime stereotypes, TV references, and other things. A girl, Excel, who’s enthusiastic but inept in every other way is killed, or maybe not, but not before pledging herself to Lord Ilpalazzo, a daemon or maybe just some guy, who is bent on ruling the world. He starts with one town in one prefecture in Japan. Excel goes back and has one misadventure after another. The first episode sees her setting out to kill a Manga artist, because they are the lowest of the low. She screws that up too. Following episodes satirize different forms of Manga and Anime, TV show with air head anchors, live action Power Rangers shows and more. It is a funny bit of fluff. I enjoyed it, even if it was a bit too stupid at times.

© 2020 Douglas Aalseth Productions