Tag Archives: mecha anime

Blue Gender

I’m not usually a fan of pre-2000’s anime. I love some of it, but a big killer for me of such a wide array of anime is the choppy animation. I know the times have been a-changin’, but that’s just the kind of person I am. I’m excited with the direction that anime is going, and this is one of those shows that kicked it off. Blue Gender is the show of a post-apocalyptic Earth that has been disheveled by gigantic bug creatures called the blue. One of those mecha shows in line with Evangelion and a little bit of Gundam, this show provided more than action, it provided mental breakdown and disaster.

Blue Gender is the story of one man, Yuji Kaido (Eric Vale). Let’s start off by saying I was happy to see Eric Vale do good justice to another hero in a series of heroic mecha shows I’ve seen him do. Anyways, Yuji is a sleeper, one of thousands of citizens of the world that were sent to sleep in the 2000’s. Now, 22 years after his slumber began, Yuji is abruptly awakened into a newly advanced world that is being slowly destroyed by a gigantic race of bugs. You may be wondering, “How did these bugs get so damn big? Are we in Honey I Shrunk the Kids?” No, that’s a strange assumption to be making. It will all be explained at the end.

Eight legged freaks?

So Yuji is accidentally awakened and he spends the first episode yelling and running around this scientific facility, trying to figure out what’s going on. He nearly dodges death and finds his way into the arms of a young, unfeeling cadet, Marlene Angel (Laura Bailey). The two of these spend a big majority of the show attempting to get into space to regroup on Second Earth. And that’s not where the show ends. That is a big discovery and a secret I will keep. Well worth the wait that this show still delivers all the way until the end.

Yuji, always emotional and humming.

At first this show started off similarly to Casshern Sins (refer to earlier blog if you need a refresher). Yuji and Marlene’s gang of soldiers are in a race to beat the clock back to Second Earth. But a lot of people die along the way. But a lot of new people are met at the same time. The first half of the show, basically, is Yuji’s discovery of just exactly the difference is between living on Second Earth. The schism between the two is brutal and astounding to him. This is where the heartfelt apathy is felt for humans in general. Then the show picks up with a lot of action and some role reversal, and you’re left with a “we must save the world” situation.

I don’t mind this construction in anime. What I did mind was a not so subtle undertone of sex in this sci-fi/horror/mecha anime. With this whole idea of

Yuji and his B.A. mech unit.

free love and no consequences came off as strange. Nobody cares about each other and this is really emphasized through Yuji’s eyes. But what I don’t get is that all this free sex is unabashedly displayed and done in front of everyone else. I get that this is a common theme in sci-fi novels, but I think it reflects poorly on the genre in that it really doesn’t have to do with anything and just comes off as awkward.

This show gets steamy.

Animation-wise, the show looked fine. There was a good deal of gore and mature content, and I was okay with that. I can imagine its stint on Cartoon Network’s Toonami must have been greatly edited. The recording of the dub was a bit low and I missed some key lines throughout. I don’t know if it was Netflix, but that was a bit of a problem and detracted from watching it. But that opening song sure is bumpin’.  Overall, I really enjoyed that this show was more than your average mecha fighter. The characters had fight and soul, and it made out for a better plot and drama. I’m sure some other anime could take some cues from this formation. A well deserved 8.4 out of 10.

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Saikano… (Strange?)

This anime is a love story. With superweapons. But it’s all about the love. And the possible end of the world. Or something. Not quite sure. But the story is compelling. I’m starting to think this blog might be quite short…

This love story centers around Shuuji and Chise, two high school students who “fall in love.” It all starts one day when Chise asks Shuuji out. Their relationship starts in Animal Club diaries and pretty much moves up from there… sexually… But that’s really not the point… Sort of…

One day after school, Shuuji and his friends decide to go shopping. For necklaces. For one guy’s girlfriend. And then that guy dies. By the way, it was really funny picking out characters I liked in the anime and then having them all die. Not all important characters, mind you. But like, after that first guy, it

Shuuji and Chise. Made for each other?

became a game. (This is just because I have a predisposition to like characters who sacrifice their lives or are more prone to dying. It’s even true in movies.) But after this city bombing the interrupts their man day-trip (one guy’s day trip forever) Shuuji realizes something’s up.

What does he discover? His new girlfriend is a superweapon, made against her will by the Japanese government to protect the country’s borders. From what? We don’t know? From who? We’ll never know. This show’s all about the mystery. It’s also all about the sexy times, non-violent action scenes, and loss of humanity. A true angst-trip if I do say so myself. This girl ain’t got long (13 Episodes) and she’s got a lot of lovin’ to experience. (If you catch my drift.)

Okay, so what is there to say about my likes and dislikes of this anime? Well it has emotion. This anime is run through with tear-jerking moments. This anime has a mecha aspect to it that is never shown. Ever. Okay, once in a while Chise will show her wings or poop out a bomb, but that’s about the extent of the mecha. Her body can literally do things I’ve never seen a girl with a 9 year old’s body do before. Kinda strange. But there are a lot of really touching moments that, in the right mood, there would be quite a wad of teary tissues going on.

The voice acting isn’t bad. Shuuji (Mark Atherlay) isn’t bad and neither is Tetsu (Abie Hadjitarkhani. Wow.). Chise (Melissa Hutchinson) wasn’t all that good, but I kind of found her to be a drag and not really worth Shuuji’s time at a lot of the parts of the anime. That may mean I have no soul, but at this point, Shuuji should’ve cut his losses. The art was fine, shots were okay, nothing really spectacular. Besides the ending. I’m still scratching my head on what the flip happened at the end of this. The second to last episode (no spoiler) sex. The last episode, well, good luck figuring out exactly what happened and why and who and what and all that good stuff. Overall, I’d give Saikano a 5.5 out of 10. (Should’ve watched it subbed and just lost myself in it… How strange…)

Oh, and by the way, there is a live action version of this. Must. Check. Out.


Princess Tutu: Girly Manly Girl Anime

So most people may be thinking, “I need to check this guy’s man card. He’s reviewing an anime about pretty girls and boys performing ballet.” True. But I can assure you I have all the paperwork, sir. Princess Tutu, as the title suggests, may sound like one of the most girly animes on the planet. But, as I came to find, this show is wayyy more than that. This show, if you watch a few episodes, is quite good overall, with no gender barriers attached.

This is a show about a Duck (Ahiru) who is given the power of a necklace to

Princess Tutu (Duck after transformation)

transform into a girl and, once a girl, she can transform into Princess Tutu, the ballerina wonder. She is given this power by the writer and omnipresent Drosselmeyer (Nutcracker, anyone?) who controls and creates the story. The story within a story, so it seems, is that of a raven who battles a prince, and in order to save the prince, a knight shatters the prince’s heart to save him and protect the town against the evil raven.

Princess Tutu is in the story, and for her part, she is meant to recover those lost shards of the prince’s heart for him to recover his true self. Duck (Princess Tutu) attends the ballet school which Prince Mytho attends and searches all over the town for his heart. Meanwhile, Fakir (the knight) does not want Tutu to recover the heart shards and tries to thwart her, thinking of the prince and what is best for him. Also introduced into the story is the dancer Rue, the beautiful and elegant ballet student who holds a love interest for Mytho. With the plot swirling around these characters, we go along for the ride in discovering exactly what this little town holds.

Besides these four, this story holds host to a great number of smaller characters that really spice up the story. At first through the anime, we’re introduced to those characters who hold heart shards, so, of course, they all have something wrong with them. There’s always a ballet student or two who are animals pretending to be humans, which no one at all finds strange. This is probably some comment on how Duck hides the fact that she’s a duck through her magical necklace. But, either way, this anime has one of the best characters you will ever meet. Mr. Cat. This ballet instructor cat-man

MR. CAT

instructs all the classes and efficiently attempts to marry anyone who fails.

I watched the sub, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from watching the dubbed version, because most of the voices are done quite well (Guest star Vic Mignogna) but it will throw you off if you start watching one way and then another. Mytho switches from a girly voice to one quite more sexual, and Fakir goes the other way around. (Quite sad) The art of the anime is quite good, but always felt a little blurry around the edges to me. I like my anime to be sharp and flow with almost 3-D like quality (not 3-D movie crap) and to seem almost brand new. I know that’s a lot to ask from anime, but those are the ones that pop out to me (usually mecha anime, I find).

The plot, at times, is quite repetitive. Almost too repetitive. The first half of the show is all about finding Mytho’s heart shards and the second half is all about saving girls from the raven. It isn’t until the last episodes that a story is really fleshed out into its full scope. You are given little hints here and there along the way, but the basic format is the same. That includes the 17 second transformation sequence which I found out recently is pretty standard in these anime. There’s no such thing as a suggested action cut in anime. (Just made that phrase up.)

The characters really are great though and the anime rarely drags at any point. You watch as all the characters attempt to fight fate and the story that was written for them, with a great comment on the interaction of characters and author towards the end. Fan fiction (which was thrown around a lot while watching) slightly confused me, but I kind of get now once I’ve been told what it is. (For those who don’t know, fan fiction is fan created stories made using the characters already present in whatever the fan is interested in.) Usually used as a joke, I can definitely understand the appeal of using already created characters to bring about a story you envision yourself.

The characters are good, the art is quite good, and the plot really moves along. You usually find a favorite character (Mr. Cat) and jump along for the ride in all its ballet glory. Yes, I didn’t say anything in this review about ballet itself, but it is quite prominent in this anime. The characters don’t necessarily break out into dance, but they use dance to express, fight, and fix what is wrong. It’s all surprisingly accurate in form and referral, and I actually found myself not bored to tears when it came to the actual dancing. Every anime had its own theme and opening which gave it a unique flavor every time. I would definitely recommend this anime for the not faint of heart who can enjoy the alternative to most anime. 7.2 out of 10.