Animation S-SF
Saishuuheiki Kanojo The Last Love Song on this Little Planet
They are a couple of high school kids during time of war. He’s, frankly a bit of a jerk. She’s fawning and submissive. Then there’s a bombing attack on Sapporo. The bombers are destroyed by a fast moving super weapon. Afterwards it’s revealed that she is the weapon, a cyborg built by the military, and they have to deal with the consequences. The deprivations of war. Survivors and killers guilt. Absence and temptation. What happens when the weapon feels guilt for doing what it’s been ordered to do. The animation looks hand drawn but any shortcomings are more than made up by the subtle writing and voice work. A very good story with a simple message; in war all victories are pyrrhic.

Samurai Chambloo
I think of this as Ruroni Kenshen crossed with Cowboy Beebop. In medieval Japan, two brilliant swordsmen, one undisciplined, the other absolutely self controlled, travel around in the company of a girl looking for a samurai that smells like sunflowers. The difference is that the two samurai characters are not really good guys. When they are not causing trouble and pissing off the powers that be, they are killing other swordsman. Sometimes they are working for local gang leaders. Sometimes just wiping them out for the hell of it. Often they change sides in mid fight. If things get slow they try to kill each other. I like its very edgy dark humour and how the show is not afraid to go against the classic characters or break what is expected of animation. For example, in the second episode the girl gets kidnapped and is forced to work in a brothel. You won’t see that in Pokemon. The fight scene choreography is simply gorgeous.

Samurai Jack

Cleverly written and produced with a lot of style and class. This is the story of a man thrown into the future and of a world under the heel of an evil shape shifting sorcerer. It is is fascinating. They take a lot of chances and does some things just for the sake of pushing the artistic boundaries.There is a final season done over a decade later that is exquisitly beautiful.

Sanjay’s Super Team
A short film playing with The Good Dinosaur. Sanjay is a kid in a Hindu family. His father wants to pray, but Sanjay wants to watch superhero cartoons. His father makes him turn off the TV and join in the prayers. At first Sanjay is resentful but he has an encounter that makes him join the two worlds. The end Sanjay is doodling again but this time his Super Team is the Hindu superheroes not the TV one. A well written story, exciting and touching.

Scrapped Princess
A crazy monk had a prophecy that a princess would destroy the world and now she’s on the run with her older brother and sister. A good premise that the writing could not pull off. Too bad.

Scooby Doo
There is an old joke that there was actually only one script. They just changed the names. Bad animation, poor voicing, non-existent writing. Overall it is painful to watch, and I do not. This applies to Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo Mysteries, Scooby Doo and the Mystery Machine, anything with Scrappy Doo (which amazingly enough made an already painfully bad series even worse) any of the Scooby Doo and the XXX movies which were just as bad but longer, or the recent Shaggy and Scooby Doo Get a Clue. Please will somebody give these guys a pension and send them to Ft. Lauderdale. The whole ScoobynDoo empire has to end.

Native Users with telekinetic powers battle it out with a quasi-military group sent by the government to control them. The battle takes place on The Lost Ground, a territory that was broken off from the mainland of Japan. Standard good/freedom/individual vs bad/tyranny/fascist plot. Very quickly it got predictable and I gave up on it.

Sealab 2021
Parody of the Sealab 2020 series from the early 1970s. The characters are now incompetent. There is no redeeming social value to this program. I guess that when you are going to parody something it helps if what you are parodying is good. Unfortunately, the original was just another HB time filler and as such there is not much material to build on. It’s just crass, predictable, and dull.

Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin

An angry girl, Maya, inherits her fathers high school of the occult. A young guy comes back from the future to prevent a supernatural event from happening at the school that wipes out civilization. There’s a shadowy group working behind the scenes at the school that appear to be trying to cause the event. Poor writing, paper thin characters, Maya is way too casually violent, the guy is too clueless, too many cliché anime bits, too much unnecessary ecce. I gave up after three episodes.

Serial Experiments Lain
A little girl on the cusp of leaving childhood, very shy and thoughtful to the point of being withdrawn. She gets a new computer and discovers The Wired, (Internet) Strange things start happening around her. A friend commits suicide. People playing an online game start hallucinating it in real life. People think she is someone else, someone older. Who are the Knights? What do the signs “Fulfill the Prophecy” springing up all over mean? Then things get really strange. Who is Lain really. Does Lain really exist. Does anything? Just what is reality? Very interesting and a mind blowing end.

© 2020 Douglas Aalseth Productions