Tag Archives: androids

Natural City: The Sci-Fi Korean Drama

I really didn’t know what to expect when I started watching this movie. What I wasn’t expecting was the formulaic Korean drama. What do I mean by that? Simple.

A Korean drama is one in which a couple in love usually has one of the lovers die in a horrendously heart wrenching way. This leaves the other lover alone to mourn and deal with all their feelings. This is a sci-fi film about cyborgs, androids, and

The picturesque cityscape really stands out in this film.

humans and a plot to bring down the futuristic city from within. I had no idea the Koreans could incorporate such a soap opera-y plot into such a steampunk film. Good on ’em for that one.

So “R” (Yoo Ji-tae) is a policeman in a futuristic society in which people can’t tell humans apart from androids and cyborgs. There’s a distinct difference though. Androids were never human; cyborgs have been outfitted with a cybernetic chip that controls and

Blood and love. All in one.

helps them function. R is one of those rogue cops who never follows the rules and does his own kickass thing. After botching up a destruction mission at a local processing plant, R must reconcile with the consequences.

R has fallen in love with a table dancing cyborg. Ria (Seo Lin) has but a few days left to live, and this film follows R’s decisions into how to save her from decimation. He finds salvation in an orphaned prostitute named Cyon (Lee Jae-eun), and finds that her existence is also in the interest of the androids attempting to use human DNA for some nefarious purpose. With the strange Cypher (Jeong Doo-hong) on the loose, R and the police force must find their own means to an end.

The look and feel of the film is very 1980’s Bladerunner feel. Yoo Ji-tae functions as a suave and gritty Harrison Ford,

Damn it, gotta love those views.

patrolling the streets for his own personal gain. There’s not much to speak of with character development on the side of the androids or cyborgs, but the presence of these untraceable electronic beings is a frightening concept. They can knock a man’s leg clean off with one punch for God sakes! Never thought I’d see that kind of special effect in my life.

Tell me that’s not Bladerunner, right?

The guns are clunky, the special effects and digital graphics are dated (even for 2003), but I liked the storyline all the same. It was more of an artsy film than anything else, and it was all about the feels. The emotional range required for understanding this movie from start to finish is not for the weak willed. It has undertones of dystopian elements, and questions just exactly what it means to be human. The ending is long and tragic, and is obviously created to pull at the heartstrings of those who watch it. It got me there towards the end, and I’d love to know what other people thought of it who saw it. Good or not? Let me know!

I’ve always liked Yoo Ji-tae (I hope I’m not spelling that incorrectly…) since I saw him in Oldboy, and I find his acting

A bit of fighting for the action fans.

style to be brutal at the same time that he is a fragile human being, just like the rest of us. This pretty boy can pack a punch with his acting, and I’d advise watching out. He just might lay you out on your back.

All the feels.

There’s no true way to describe what/how to take anything away from this movie. It’s one of those seeing and believing situations where you just have to watch it and attempt to understand what the movie is throwing at you. I’m not entirely sure what I was shown in this movie and if I even got it. So just check it out for yourself, especially if you’re always ready for a melodramatic cry. It’s a good one for that. 7.2 out of 10.


Eve no Jikan: Time of Eve

Wow, it’s been a long time in the making, but this is my 201st post, just passing my 200th. I am now, after this, completely caught up and ready to go on to new up to the minute update sort of things. What I mean is my posts will be more raw and fresh in my mind because I just watched it. My list of updates/posts is done and it’s time to revitalize this old beast. So strap in for this last amazing little anime review and then get ready for Misfits Season 3 afterwards. You’re gonna have no idea what hit you with that one.

In Eve no Jikan/ Time of Eve, the world has been revitalized by robots. And, most recently, it has upgraded to androids who can act and look like humans. It’s your basic I, Robot issue right here. Right down to the 3 laws that govern robots. This might have taken some cues from the novel I, Robot was based on. Anyways, Rikuo Sakisaka is a

There’s only one rule here in this saloon.

teenage high school boy who has an android at home, Sammy. She cooks and cleans and makes one mean coffee. Upon updating her one day, Rikuo comes across some odd place that Sammy went in his phone. Inviting his friend Masakazu Masaki to come along, they both stumble on something that it taboo for both of them.

All the wonderful characters and images!

Time of Eve, this hip little cafe is made for robots and humans. And the only rule is that you are not allowed to discriminate between them or call the other out. The only real difference between the two of them is that androids have halos above their heads. But in the Time of Eve cafe, it goes away and both become human (in a way).

At first, Rikuo and Masaki are horrified at what they find. They know that treating a robot like a human is a stigma among humans, known as dori-kei or adnroid-philia. To treat or love a robot like a human is wrong to these boys, and that’s what makes this cafe so frightening. Over time Rikuo finds he likes coming to the cafe and a gap is bridged between robots and humans. Analyzing the loopholes of the laws that govern robots and what it means to “protect humans”, Rikuo and Masaki’s lives are changed by the Time of Eve.

Can there be love? Or constant separation?

This anime is very character driven and very touching. It has its funny moments when the music stops and the camera zooms in on an awkward moment or something, but overall heartwarming. The regulars of the cafe are humans and robots, and there’s no need to try to tell the difference. Every episode focuses on a different regular, eventually coming full circle. There’s a wonderful little girl named Chie who thinks she’s a cat. Some wonderfully old school robots who just want to be treated like humans, and Sammy, a robot who just loves her master.

I’m glad to see a movie was created after this anime came out. Found only on the internet as an ONA, this anime has been lucky enough to become popular enough to be made into a full length feature. (I have yet to watch it, but I would probably say the same things about this that I would about the movie.) It’s one of those quick anime that

A touching scene, one right after the other.

passes you by, but leaves a warm spot in your heart that stays with you, long after you may forget the character’s names. This anime sends a message about the future of our world and whether or not it is okay to discriminate now and in the future as well. And I would say that’s an emphatic no.

It’s quirky at the same time that every episode ends on a small tear streak down your cheek. The animation style is fluid and breathtaking, combining 3-D animation with 2-D humans and characters. This technique makes the characters stand out being flat in this futuristic world. The camera rotates around the cafe as if it is a real life scene, speaking to the movie lovers in all of us. Coming from a sci-fi background that has only seen flat and unemotional characters, this future set sci-fi genre anime breaks the rules and makes you feel. There may be hunks of cold metal onscreen, but they have warm hearts. That’s what I found cute and appealing about this 6 episode anime. It sucks you in with these short episodes with a trilling and romantically inclined music score, and leaves you feeling good at the end. Any anime like that deserves an 8.8 out of 10.

And here’s a cool AMV to prove my point.

 

 


Ergo Proxy: Existential Confusion

Even after watching this anime and reading about it, I am still at a loss for words. This anime, in a word, is confusing. To a high degree. I mean, this is intelligent, philosophical musings about the world and the purpose of life. As seen by the praying AutoReivs. That is one of those images that has stuck with me throughout the anime. Those androids, staring up into the sky, arms brought together in prayer, a rare piece of imagery that will continue to perplex me as I muse upon the meaning of Ergo Proxy.

Let me give you a bare-bones explanation of what I took away from the plot of this anime. This anime is

What is a Proxy?

focused mainly around the upper class citizens of Romdeau, one of the last vestiges of life on Earth. This is because of some great ecological disaster that happened sometime in the past that has forced dome-like structures to keep out the pollution and destruction of the outside world. Humans and AutoReivs (androids who are created for specific purposes to help humans) like in harmony, helping one another in their struggle to survive. And, even in this devastated world, there are those humans who are considered not to be citizens of Romdeau. One of these immigrants is Vincent Law (Liam O’Brien). With no past and what seems to be no future, this lowly character has some connection to the murders and soon to be discovered Proxies of this world. It is up to Rie-l Mayer (Megan Hollingshead) to discover the connection, and it is up to Vincent Law to discover his purpose. A daunting task that leaves me in awe and confusion.

Dark and foreboding? I think so.

This being a crime/suspense/thriller anime, and my wonderful girlfriend recommending it/loaning me the DVDs, I knew I would like this anime. I just didn’t realize how confused it would leave me. But, in this instance, I was not confused in a frustrating way. This anime invites watchers to come back and re-analyze this anime more than once. I feel its the only way to really grasp what this anime is trying to put across. Every episode, although some may seem disconnected to the flowing plot, are important in their scope. (One of the episodes deals with a Walt Disney look-alike and cartoon characters.) But these episodes enhance the meaning of what these characters are trying to discover. And, if you watch very carefully (as I will again), I’m sure the meaning of the show is laid out right before your eyes.

One difficulty I had following this anime was the dark way in which it was produced. The artwork is all dark from the very beginning. It’s hard to see things onscreen (or T.V.) and I felt like I was missing things that were quite important in the first few episodes. Looking back on it now, maybe you are supposed to view the anime through this lens as if you are in the dark, just like the characters. For the anime does begin to brighten as it progresses. Maybe that was the intention. Either way, this anime was truly dark, visually and psychologically. The implications that lay just beyond the plot gave it the weight of the foreboding apocalypse of the world, a comment on our own and the theorized one presented in Ergo Proxy. The way in which these images are presented is a whole other story. The combined animated mediums bring together a visual experience unlike most anime I’ve seen. This gives it that sci-fi feeling that the show really goes for, and I quite enjoyed the ride.

There were a few, although not many, notable good voice acting performances in this dubbed anime. (I might watch it subbed for fun later.) Most notably was Liam O’Brien as Vincent Law. His voice really stood out to me in a way that’s hard to describe. It was as if O’Brien knew the anguish that Vincent Law was facing in not knowing who he is and what his purpose is. Travis Willingham does a great job as Iggy, Rei-l’s AutoReiv and friend. (Loose term.) As funny

Confusing and good. Thank you Dameon Clarke.

as he is for a n android with little/no emotions, he brings life to a character that comes to realization that his purpose is flawed. Some of the best episodes come when Iggy comes to terms with that. Bravo, Travis Willingham. Patrick Seitz is amazing as Raul Creed, my favorite character in the anime. This Security Bureau head is a character of duty and conflict that comes because of that duty. He is always being pressured by the Regent and feels he has no breathing room. But when he lets all that go, then Patrick Seitz’s voice really shines through (best episodes towards the end). Another two voices that I’d just like to commend in passing are Troy Baker (my boy) and Dameon Clarke as two of the Proxies in the show (I won’t be specific, might ruin it). These elegant voice actors really bring a menacing element to the table in the way they present their characters, and they really flesh out the plot and bring to light just what Vincent Law is. Really amazing work.

Besides all this, you really have to watch ┬áthe anime for yourself. If you’re a fan of dark, twisted, suspenseful anime, this is indeed for you. But make sure you’re willing to commit to a re-watch and thorough analysis. This may just existentially blow your mind. 8.8 out of 10.