Tag Archives: subbed anime

Nana: Two Girls Named 7

Going into this I expected slice of life, girl power anime. Coming out, I cursed the Demon Lord himself for not allowing Ai Yazawa to continue the manga that has for so long been on hiatus. Without the manga continuing, there can be no anime of epic downfall and emotional turmoil. And no happy ending for Nobu and Hachiko either… Oh well, they worked with what they had.

And boy, did they have a lot. Nana is the story of, well, two girls with the same name, Nana. Normally when I see the word Nana, I think old lady. But, in the Blast! + Hachi in cool mode.realm of Japanese anime, Nana means 7 (please stop me if I’m being redundant). And these two girls come from separate worlds. Nana Komatsu (Hachiko, her pet name meaning 8), comes from a well to do, middle class family with nothing but dreams of a happy family life with her boyfriend, Shoji. Nana Osaki is a punk rocker with no family past to speak of and a whole lot of rage and cigarettes to sing about. One day they meet on a train and their lives are changed… forever?

People do some great artwork for this show.

A lot of stuff happens in the span of this 47 episode anime. Relationships are founded and lost, friends are made and lost, basically, a lot of stuff is found and subsequently lost. There’s pain and anguish, scenes of sexy times, and a lot of cigarette smoke. But hidden behind that cigarette smoke is one thing. The love of ambition and love itself. Nana Osaki won’t let anything get her down and plans on beating the rivalry that is created between her band Blast! and her boyfriend’s band, Trapnest. This dynamic in itself creates problems between the bands as both sides become intertwined in a web of secrecy, seduction, and snarky conversations.

What I found great about this show was the even distribution given between the two Nana’s. Hachiko is given equal time at the beginning with her relationships and problems of fidelity and then Nana Osaki is given her time to shine as her

Ren and Nana, two loves from opposing bands.

band becomes popular in Tokyo. The chance happening of meeting each other on the train and the separate lives that come together under one apartment roof is an interesting premise that is buffered with good turns and emotional climaxes. The characters are diverse and strong in their certain flaws which gives an element of a darker relationship based “slice of life” anime that is where it really hits hardest.

But there are flaws. And it’s not that flaws are bad. But all of these characters are passive. They allow everything to happen to them by key characters. Not to divulge too much, but Takumi Ichinose of Trapnest controls the last 20

The most smoking ever. This show is adverts for smoking.

episodes of this anime. And the decisions you’d like to see happen for that happy ending don’t happen, but you are sort of okay with it at the end (other than the hiatus placed on this manga…). But the ineptitude and inability of certain main characters to function is just staggering. It makes you hate them and wish for them to move at the same time. Heartbreaking.

Just a taste of the manga that needs to be brougt back.

Other than that, work on your shipping skills and hope for the best for the Nana’s. The voice acting is fantastic and there’s a character for everyone to love in this show. It’s simple charm about people attempting to achieve their biggest dreams, however big or small makes for a great anime. ‘Cause, come on, who wouldn’t want to follow a band around as they become famous, being their friends and just having the ride of your life! Enjoy the amazing music by Olivia and the quirky animation and raw human emotions and talent portrayed by the voice actors (subbed for this one). I give Nana more than just a 7, I give it an 8.1 out of 10. Recommended for anyone interested in life and love.

 

And here’s a little taste of the music of Nana in this first opener.

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Xam’d: Lost Memories, Nice Catch

Let me just say that, until otherwise, this is my #2 all time favorite anime. My #1 is of course Macross Frontier, and I plan to re-watch it for a review on The Abyss. This is what’s known as a “Mecha-Romance Fantasy,” and I would definitely agree. It has great characters, a massive plot that seems to span ages, and art direction that just blows me away.

It all takes place, at first, on Senten Island, A little place in South (Japan?) right after the devastation of war. The island is peaceful and those that are on it have barely begun to forget the war that invaded their lives. We follow Akiyuki Takehara, our soon to be hero, Haru Nishimura, and Furuichi Teraoka (my favorite character, hands down.). Three students who get on a bus, and whose lives are changed forever. In what appears to be a terrorist attack, Akiyuki is turned into a Xam’d, the human-form (hard to explain) creature who is meant to bring about the salvation of the world. From here on, the world is broken out into chaos as we focus around three plot lines that lead to a pulse-pounding ending.

As far as first impressions go, I’m going to have to hold off on commenting on the voice acting in this anime. I watched the first series dubbed and the second subbed, and I was thrown off quite a bit. The only two voices actors that stood out to me in this were Luci Christian and Monica Rial, but that’s not to say that there weren’t other good ones. Although I must say, if it will swing you, watch the dubbed version, if only for Tojiro Kagisu, the crazed military commander, voiced by Chris Hutchinson. I’d never really ever heard his voice before this, and he hasn’t done much, but this anime is worth hearing his voice for. Such a solid performance that I was quite surprised this guy doesn’t do movies.

But yes, what you HAVE to watch this anime for is THE ARTWORK. This shizz blew me away with how great it looked. Everything was so fluid, all of the battle scenes and motion in the anime looked like it came straight out of a video game. (Come to think of it, I hope this is a video game.) What always gets me is when Nakiami burst out of the belly of the postal ship on her Kayak and launches into the sky. So great. Along with that is the great little effect the pervades the show in which when ships take off, there is a circular rainbow that ejects from the exhaust that looks fantastic in this show. But yes, watch this anime for the fluidity and amazing look of the anime.

Great part of this show: the postal crew. Ishuu Benikawa is the quite sexy captain, the whole bad attitude with the heart of gold deal. (Quite a sight I’d like to see cosplayed.) Akushiba, my second favorite characters, plays the wise-ass worker who is actually quite secretly, yet subtlety perverted. Yunbo is the other woman of the crew who plays mother to all and balances out Ishuu’s hard-assedness (New word.) She is Hinokimaru’s mother and not a good one at that. Ahm is great as the solid rock and pilot of the ship, and Namiaki fills out the crew as the outcast who has found a home. This whole dynamic fuels the first season and carries on slightly into the second. You never get tired of seeing the crew though.

The military is great, the postal ship crew is great, and all of the main characters shine in this anime. If you love mecha, watch this. If you love insane art direction, watch this. If you just plain love good anime, please check this out. 9.5 out of 10. The Abyss highly approves.


Higurashi When They Cry

I love horror movies. The guts and gore, the intense scenes of pain and suffering, even the intense sense of terror it all brings. No. I’m not a morbid person. I think quite highly of human life and its preservation. But I find that now, When They Cry holds a special place in my heart, right next to Saw.

This show, for lack of a better word, is intense. I’ve seen my fair share of anime by now that show the occasional spurt of blood. I’ve never seen an animated situation ever make me squirm though. (Watch the Eye Opening arc and you’ll know. Ha. Eye opening.) These characters, although most in their teens, are some twisted people, although for me, redonkulous at the same time. These characters plot out (and get away with) murders, brutal assaults, and even the occasional torture. But what kind of a reviewer would I be if I didn’t give some back story.

The whole story takes place in a small rural village known as Hinamizawa, the former site of a dam construction that would have taken over the entire town. But, in an odd series of events, all chalked up to the Oyashiro-sama Curse. This is the town’s savior and protector who wards away the demons and keeps the town safe. He’s quite the violent type who kills and spirits away though, all on the town’s only festival, the Cotton Drifting Festival. This story frames all the arcs of the series and lays the groundwork for an all too eerie storyline.

 

Rena and Mion (Sadistic in School Uniform)

There are five main characters the develop the stories of each arc. All five of these character reside in a one classroom schoolhouse of 15 students. First we have Keiichi Maebara, the only of the boys who, for me, plays as the protagonist at least 50% of the time. He has just recently moved to Hinamizawa and usually finds that the village is messed up. There’s Rena Ryugu, the ditzy girl who’s in love with cuddly things. She literally thinks everything tiny and innocent is unbelievably adorable. There’s also Mion Sonozaki, the green haired dominatrix who runs the gaming club at her school. She’s quite the leader and does her utmost to please her family. Along with these three comes what I’d like to call the adorable double: Rika Furude and Satoko Houjou. These two lay waste to everything with their cuteness and great personalities. You could almost call these two half of a whole cuddly teddy bear.

First impressions. I had watched the first episode a while ago and thought, how is this show frightening? You don’t get any sense of foreboding out of any of this. Typical school-age anime. BUT NO. Now that it’s been months and I’ve picked it up again, it’s anything but. Every arc starts off with a cutesy, “relaxer” episode, followed by 4 or 5 episodes of paranoia and fear. The first arc, Spirited Away by the Demon, is my favorite. It mirrors most horror movies I’ve come to love. (i.e. Orphan. And don’t say that movie’s B.S., cause it isn’t.) It was fantastic. Every arc. About the arcs though. Every arc is either a question or an answer arc. One lays out a problem, and another arc, some of them are in the Kai season, answer it.

The anime started off as a video game. Awesome enough as that is. There you go, chew on that, savor it. Just imagine how amazing this video game must be. Well I read it. It’s a purely read and solve the mystery type game. Some people might like that. I also might at any point beat myself to death with my keyboard. Not my kinda game. But that’s for each person to decide.

The animation of the anime is quite good. The voice acting (subbed, not dubbed, mind you) is ridiculously fantastic. The screams and laughs are harsh and evil. Great combo. One arc, and I won’t say which, is just ridiculous. Most horrific thing in the entire first series. I almost felt as if it wasn’t one of those typical slash and hack horror rides. It was more one of those tastefully done twisted rides that doesn’t leave you hating everything at the end. (But I don’t have a preference as far as hack/slash vs twisted. I love Saw for its twisted mentality, but I love The Hills Have Eyes for its hack/slash approach. I digress.)  This series is worth the watch for its plot, its characters, and its mystery. At every point it’ll ask you to question what if? and who? and most definitely why? 8.4 out of 10.