This 11 episode anime was a little break from the monotony of the longer, 26 episode anime I’ve recently been watching. Found on Hulu (and thank you Hulu for providing anime to a small portion of your viewing audience) I watched this one rather quickly, quite obviously. But I watched it quickly due more to the fact that it was so damn fascinating. I read that this was a highly overlooked anime due to its unconventional length and plot. I don’t know necessarily how to classify the genre of this anime, but I would consider it of a sort of sci-fi doomsday with a sort of revelation coming of age story. Classy.
This story centers around two twins, Thor and Rai (both voiced by Alison Viktorin). Having been born on the Balkan galaxy system (150 light years from Earth), the lead a more secluded life on a outlying planet meant only to be an
Key anime art of Jyu Oh Sei. Different, right?
imitation terraform of Earth. It’s been 250 years since humans left the planet and life has unusually declined in this new living environment. Odd, but at the same time an amazing twist for this anime. Thor and Rai are two young boys who, as is now the fashion, won’t see much past 40 or 50. Not fully knowing this, the two boys plan on separate futures, both leading them back to Earth.
Key characters of the show.
And then disaster strikes. Thor and Rai’s parents are brutally murdered in their science lab for what appears to be no good reason. Upon finding them, Thor and Rai are kidnapped and trasported to the prison planet Chimaera. Meant for the wicked and despicable of the Balkan system, these two must survive a bevvy of human killing plants and wildlife that threatens to consume them at any point.
And wouldn’t you know it! Rai is taken into the belly of a Belasoma and killed within the first 10 minutes of the show. Now that’s something to admire. An anime that’s not afraid to kill of an important character in the first episode. Although there are constant flashbacks to this loss, Thor (now as a slightly older boy, voiced by Sean Michael Teague) must fight to become the Beast King and escape Chimaera in order to find his parent’s killers.
Third, what a B.A.
With this interesting plot in place, a slow, yet steady forward progression was created all leading up to a climax that was reached effectively and not clicheingly at all in 11 episodes. With a great twist on the flora of Chimaera being more powerful than the humans who inhabit it, a sort of Jumanji situation is created for Thor and the other prisoners of a planet with no guards and cells, only the threat of death. Despite this threat of death, the humans of Chimaera don’t band together to stay alive. They separate into four clans who, for the most part, kill among themselves and each other. These clans are only separated by skin color (what a commentary!) and hold women in high esteem due to their being only 20% of the population. With an emphasis on the survival of the species with sex and violence, it’s quite the show to watch.
Chen kinda dropped the ball on the strong character list...
Although there are some setbacks. With this survival of the species, there comes this inner turmoil in all characters to hold onto their humanity. And, as the show progresses, it never seems that any of the main characters are in any danger. Yes, they’ve mastered a way of living on a death bound planet, but their lifestyles in a brutal world seem somewhat sercure and safe. Also, this is a prison planet. Why is there no mention of any crimes? Yes, Thor and Rai are completely innocent, but what about all the other characters? Are they there for the same reason? It may have been explained quite quickly at the end, but I’m not all too sure.
Tiz (Trina Nishimura). Sexual tension at its finest.
There was some fine voice acting in this anime as well. For the most part… Sorta. Sean Michael Teague seemed to be a bit too old and young at the same time for Thor as a 15 year old versus an 11 year old. His soft spoken words didn’t necessarily speak to a death hardened child, but he made up for it in the end. Tiz (Trina Nishimura) was fine, and she even reminded me of a younger Yuffie type character. She certainly looked and sounded it. Eric Vale performed wonderfully as the ambiguous character Zagi, leader of the misfit boys. And Third (Duncan Brannan) you’ll just have to watch the character he becomes. It’s quite a stirring ending of the show. And sadly, as usual, Chris Sabat’s character performed for one episode of awesomeness, and then died. So is life.
With a decent fluidity in the animation when it came to the fighting scenes (that’s a big key for me that makes or breaks my viewing experience) and great opening and closing songs, I really rathered enjoyed this anime about life in the dismal future, and find it gave me a glimmer of hope there at the end for humanity. So definitely check this out for a watch. A solid 7.4 out of 10.
Neil Marshall has done it again! As the director of one of my favorite horror movies, The Descent, I had to check out this director’s 5th attempt at directing. After taking a peek on IMDB at Marshall’s other directing attempts, I saw another two movies I found were right up Marshall’s alley when it comes to genre and style, Doomsday and Dog Soldiers. The movie posters alone look like movies I would gladly see. (I had heard of Doomsday before, it’s shown a lot on FX, definitely going to check it out now.) This movie doesn’t disappoint and it gives one of those quick in and out glimpses into the world of the Romans during a time of war. If I had to say it, which I will (I mean come on, there are 2 actors in this movie who were major players in 300) this movie is on some sort of level with Gerard Butler and his 300.
But what I liked about it? It wasn’t Gerard Butler. Come on, you have to give it up for how creatively mind bending 300 was. I love Zack Snyder. Plain and simple. 300 brought a new meal to the table. But yeah, this movie wasn’t quite 300 at all. It was almost a 300 meets Gladiator fusion. Quite spectacular. Instead of Butler, we have one of the new and upcoming British actors, Michael Fassbender. This guy is putting in the work and getting
great results (and I’m not talking about his abs in 300). He’s done quite a few British T.V. shows and made his big break with 300. (He was that guy that cut off the emissary’s arm and told that fool they would fight in the shade.) Inglorious Basterds (I’ll give it to you Tarantino, this one time…) and Jane Eyre, this guy has range. And most excitingly, he will be playing Magneto in this summers sure to be masterful hit, X-Men: First Class. I expect good things from this guy.
Other notable appearances in this film? Dominic West, of course. Another 300 familiar, this guy was the traitor. But still, he was great. I loved his alter ego in Meet the Spartans, Traitoro. Dominic West has done some good work
as well, and I feel that as a fellow British actor to Michael Fassbender, he will go great things one day. He’s done wonderful things on The Wire, and he did one of my favorite guest appearances in my favorite part of the Hannibal Lecter series, Hannibal Rising as Inspector Popil. He has quite the list (Palace Guard in Phantom Menace???) and should keep strong for years to come.
Also, what I like about movies like this? Neil Marshall can get together a rag-tag group of virtually not well known actors, and still make a badass film. Noel Clarke (one of the Doctor’s helpers on Dr. Who) plays Macros, the slave turned athlete who really just runs the entire movie. JJ Feild (recurring British T.V. period piece actor) as Thax, one of my favorite characters in this film. David Morrissey (character actor who seems to switch between
A rag-tag, cantankerous crew
American and British film) as Bothos, the slightly obese centurion who’s that one loyal friend, but not that ridiculous. I mean, the list goes on. But that’s what really appealed to me about The Descent. It brought together a handful of unknown actresses and turned out to be a really well made film.
Complaints. Okay, there are quite a few archers in this film. And you know what happens? Everyone of them can aim for someone’s head and hit them directly, no hesitation, no mercy. This is a bit ridiculous. I find it hard to believe that every archer in this film is Robin Hood. But to each his own. It still made for pretty amazing gore throughout the film that was just nonstop. One whole scene about 20 minutes in is just literally unheard of. Another thing, I have never heard the “f” word so much in a period piece film like this. It is out of place. Distasteful right there.
Everything else about this movie? Great. It had great cinematography and looked like it took cues from The Lord of the Rings in its overhead helicopter shots of men dashing across snowy mountains. (Pretty sure this was shot in New Zealand.) The locales were quite spectacular although you couldn’t really place what was going on. If I related it in plot to any movie, it would’ve definitely been a mirror image of The Descent. Actually, the more I think about it, it’s like a cookie cutter version of The Descent, just different time and characters. Wow. If Neil Marshall does this again though, I might not be so forgiving. You can’t hope to make 3 identical plot movies and think people won’t notice. But taking Centurion as its own tour de force of mayhem and devastation in the time of the legion and Rome, it really does not yield. 7.7 out of 10.