Animation XYZ
Xiolin Showdown
Omi is an apprentice monk. He and three other apprentices have to capture the Shen Gong Wu, powerful and ancient talisman, before Evil Jack Spicer and his robots can capture them. Along with Omi are Clay who is a Texan, Kimiko who is supposed to be Japanese but she comes off as more of a California valley girl, and Raimundo who is Brazilian. The characters all are positively soggy with tired stereotypes and at first I found this rather off-putting. Overall the writing is decent and the show is watch-able once you get past the setup. Not high art, though.

Allegory of intolerance and McCarthyism. Well written that explores the history contradictions, and deep wishes of the characters. Not just how but why they have the powers, what they do with them, and their desires. Quite good.

The Xs
A family of spies trying to maintain an incognito “normal” life. The trouble is that they are really bad at it. I thought it would be a rip-off of The Incredibles but it is actually quite different and quite amusing.

Xxxholic Kai
A kid has a sister who is into spooky magic things. His best friend is a taciturn loner that inherited his grandfathers shrine complete with library of spells and magical lore. He’s hopelessly in love with this girl in his class. All in all a decent, if not inspired setting for a story. The trouble is that Watanuki is obnoxious. Flying off the handle at the slightest provocation. His scenes seem to fill with tired ‘anime’ symbolism without warning. Most everyone else is just going about forwarding the plot, which at it’s core is not a bad story. Kai though is just a mess. If this were live action Kai would be played by the young actor that keeps tripping over the scenery when he’s not over-emoting. But when he’s in the spirit world he’s clear sighted and decisive. Unfortunately he doesn’t spend nearly enough time in the spirit world. A very unbalanced mix.

Yona of the Dawn
The daughter of the king witnesses his murder and flees the castle. As she travels she learns that while she had grown up in luxury, the people of the kingdom were in misery. She makes friends, learns, and grows as a person. Animation is quite good, except when they switch from high grade Anime to cartoony style whenever someone is angry or frightened. It detracted from the tension of the moments. It is obviously a first part of a vastly larger story, but I haven’t been able to find any succeeding series. Pity. I had grown rather fond of her.

Your Name
Two high school kids connect in their dreams. One is a country girl who dreams of moving to Tokyo, the other is a city boy in Tokyo. They start switching bodies and learn about each other. A beautiful story done exquisitely. The animation is Studio Ghibli quality. The story is exceptionally well done. The voiceover work is top notch. A really wonderful work, full of humour, and surprises, and real tension and joy. I highly recommend it.

Zatch Bell
A super smart High School kid receives a Mimoto, a little brother/doll/robot thing. With it and a book of spells he has to battle other guys and their Mimotos. Suffers from Naruto Disease. Uninteresting and repetitious.

Zombie Loan
A school girl meets up with two guys. They died but were rescued and now have to pay back their benefactor, working off the debt by killing zombies. She ends up in debt to the Zombie Loan office too and uses her ability to tell who is a zombie to help the other two. Not a bad series. 11 episodes plus 2 OVA so it’s moves quickly. Decent writing and animation. Enjoyable but average.

Z/X Ignition
Based on a collectible card game and video game. The physics does not make any sense, nor the writing. You can go the other way, make a series into a good video game but it’s nearly impossible to go from a game to a good movie or series.

© 2020 Douglas Aalseth Productions