Apr. 1st, 2012

wendyzski: (Default)

Been rather under the weather all week, so I've been passing the time watching a lot of anime.   I'm no otaku, but I do enjoy much of what I've seen.  Some of it is from my Netflix queue (which is usually a bit older), and some from the Crunchyroll Roku channel (which features some shows currently airing in Japan) .  Some of the ones I've liked are:

Black Butler (Netflix) - fantasy/occult Victorian.  The young Earl of Phantomhive swears revenge on those to killed his family and destroyed his home, with the aid of a demon butler.  Sebastian ("One Hell of a butler") will use his powers to aid the Earl until his revenge is complete, in exchange he will devour the boy's soul.  The interaction between the two is well-done, and the story arc develops slowly in the background before the last few episodes roar to a rather strange but emotionally-satisfying climax.  I found most of the supporting characters rather annoying but the setting and action are superb.  There is a second season not yet on Netflix, but from a look at Wikipedia I don't think I'd like it - too much "oh wait, that didn't actually happen" for my tastes. 

Bodacious Space Pirates - I prefer the translation of "Miniskirt Space Pirates", which fits the high-school girl turned privateer captain story a bit better.  This is currently airing in Japan, so I get the eps about a week after they air.  It's a bit of a mush, but enjoyable mush.  There are flashes of really nice storytelling, like the evening shortly after Marika learns that she is heir to the captaincy of the Bentenmaru, when her mother (formerly known as 'Blaster Ririka") takes her out to teach her to shoot weapons.  It's a nice bit of "girl-power", when they talk about the fact that being willing to use a weapon is the real power, not the weapon itself but the choice.  But there are SOOO many supporting characters - the entire school "space yacht club", the bridge crew of the ship, members of a system's Royal Family - so no one except Marika is getting any character development.  It is nice that she is getting most of her guidance from two crew members, one male and one female, so it mostly steers clear of the older man/young girl dichotomy (see 'Gunslinger Girl' below) that so many westerners find rather skeevy.  Still, not sure where this one is going.  I'm up to ep 12.

Gunslinger Girl (Netflix) - this was on a list of "x anime series to see before you die".  Set in vaguely-Italy, it's about the 'Social Welfare Agency' which is actually a secret government program to train your girls as assassins.  Each girl is cyberneticly enhanced and has had her past erased, and they each have an adult male "Handler" responsible for their conditioning and training.  I like that it takes that older male/young girl dichotomy and actually addresses it.  How do these girls feel about they handlers?  How do various handlers treat them - as children, as adults, or as tools - and what does that do to the girls.  It's actually quite disturbing at times, as we watch one of the main characters struggling after injury to go back to work because she is so eager to please her handler, and especially when we learn that one girl actually killed her handler and then herself after a failed mission.   There was a second season as well, also available on Netflix, but it didn't really grab me and I dropped it after 2 episodes.

Inu X Boku Secret Service (current)  Another older man young girl one, but in this series everyone is part supernatural and living in a secured luxury apartment building.  She's a half-demon schoolgirl, her godyguard is the reincarnation of the evil nine-tailed fox, and her marriage has been arranged to a flamboyant masked older man who defines everyone in S/M terms.  I'm clearly missing out on a lot of this show by not being Japanese, because there are a lot of times when I just sort of stare at the screen going "buh?".  OK, right - he shape-changes into a levitating rug.  That "bodyguard' has bunny-ears and communicates mostly by flashcards.  Whatever.  I keep watching hoping it will make sense.  As of ep 11, it hasn't.

Ozuma (current) - this one just started airing, but it looks like fun.  Set on a desert world where the genetically engineered/cloned Ideal Children rule while the Naturas scrabble for a living.  A mysterious girl is rescued by a boy from the crew of a Natura ship.  Ships look like planes or spaceships but can travel under the sand by using some technobabbly stuff.   Who and what is the mysterious Maya?  What does she want?  What is the Sand Whale?  Whatever happened to Sam's brother?  Looks like a good old-fashioned space opera, except it's on sand instead.  (Sand Opera?)  Which makes sense as the guy behind it was also behind Captain Harlock and Yamato.  Apparently slated for 6 eps, 1-3 are available now.


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