Initial Review: Ghost in the Shell (1995)

ghost-in-the-shell-1995Questioning the idea of what it means to be alive is an interesting thing to ask, and that is the idea behind Ghost in the Shell. First off, the movie is set in a futuristic sci-fi setting in which androids and bio-nano enhancement technologies exist. Most people have undergone some sort of operation in which their brain has been enhanced artificially by some sort of computing device. Our main character, Motoko Kusanagi however, has a  full android body. The body is referred to as a Shell, and the mind/soul is referred to as a Ghost, hence, Ghost in the Shell. While I haven’t seen the film enough times to make super crazy in depth and detailed interpretations of this, what I can say is that one of the key ideas is to question what a “soul” or “mind” is; I used both of these words to refer to what a Ghost is, or at least my interpretation of it, and I would also like to discuss this wordage. The idea is that the thing that makes something unique, or individual, are the memories that that thing possess, the part of the mind that is intangible and unable to be known by anything else, and that is really what a Ghost is (again, my interpretation on a first watch). The very essence of a person, their memories, is their soul and that is what a Ghost is, a person’s past experiences, memories, and ideas. This idea is then used to state that anything with this so called Ghost, must therefore be sentient and alive, because if something has a soula Ghostit must be alive. This idea is put into practice when a cybernetic body is able to create its own Ghost, and claims itself to be a sentient and, therefore, living being. That is the idea of the film, to question the idea of what “life” is, and what the term can and should be applied to. While I did enjoy the philosophical ideas of the film, I also didn’t feel moved or enlightened after having watched it. It is without a doubt good, but I also don’t feel as if it were anything more than that. The film explores some very interesting concepts, and is certainly worth the watch, even if its just to say that you’ve seen it, seeing that it is fairly influential, but it isn’t anything that will make you have an epiphany (or maybe it didn’t have that impact on me because its a question I’ve already pondered myself to a significant degree). The franchise itself is absolutely massive, and I plan on indulging myself in it more. I really appreciate the film, but I also think that it wasn’t anything more than good, and so I give the movie a:

7 out of 10.              Update

Something You Need to Watch: Shelter

shelterShelter is a short, 6 minute video that tells the story of a girl that lives her life, forever in a simulation without another human being, and the events that led up to this scenario. The story is sweet, heartwarming, but most of all sad, and very telling of what the medium of animation can do, and the wonders of visual and audio storytelling. The piece is a work of art, and the visuals are stunning and mind blowing. Now all I need is a movie or series that expands the story. I can’t say this enough, go watch Shelter. You won’t regret it.

I Was Nominated!

I would like to thank thero159 for giving me this reward; it means a lot, especially since I’m so new at this. Please, check out his blog here, it won’t be a waste of your time; he makes some great content.

versatile-awardRules:

  1. Display the Award.
  2. Thank the person who gave this award (and include a link to their blog).
  3. Share seven things about yourself.
  4. Nominate ten bloggers.

Seven things about me:

  1. I used to play a lot of video games (mostly first person shooters and grand strategy games) but I’ve recently fallen out of favor, maybe I’ll pick up the hobby again soon.
  2. I love to watch in depth analysis videos on pieces of film, literature, and animation.
  3. I’ve recently gotten back into reading… but it’s still a little sporadic.
  4. I love dystopian settings in my entertainment (Brave New World, 1984, Shinsekai Yori).
  5. I enjoy discussing politics and issues with my friends.
  6. I love doing some creative writing in my free time (a sample).
  7. I try to always think positive.

(Not quite) Ten Nominations:

First Impressions: Cencoroll

cencorollCencoroll is a fun ride through and though, and I would highly suggest you check it out; it’s only 26 minutes long, so I don’t see why you shouldn’t. I’m very excited to see that there is a sequel coming out because I would really like to see where the story goes, considering it is incomplete after this first episode. Normally I would call this an initial review considering I’ve seen the whole thing, but because it was so short and a sequel’s coming out, I’ll save a review until the story completes itself (or until they decide to stop making it). I can’t really say much without spoiling things, but it does give me a similar feeling to Parasyte, one of my most favorite series. I hope this turns out just as good, and I hope it ends up being longer than just 2, 26 minute episodes; there’s a lot of potential here. I recommend you check it out and see it for yourself, I definitely feel it’s worth your time.

Initial Review: Alderamin on the Sky

alderamin-on-the-skyThe modern anime light novel is something that has been far over done recently, and Alderamin on the Sky comes very close to being as generic and boring as the rest. The series seems to contain many of the same elements that most of these shows contain: the stereotypical tsundere, the childhood friend, the loli, the over powered main character, this show has all of it. But were this series differentiates itself is in battlefield tactics, and their portrayal in the show that gives the series a breath of intelligence and dignity that most light novel adaptations from recent years don’t have. The series explores how war is damaging not only to those that lost their loves, but also to those who have to live with their loss, and it plays this idea up very well and with thought. The series highlights the ways in which tactics play an important roll in the outcome of a battle and how a good general can’t beat a superior foe so long as they are smart and can think on their feet. The place this series does fall short however, is in the genericness of a lot of its characters and incredible predictability of its plot. I would lying if I said the series didn’t have its fair share of super cookie cutter characters with there own very uninspired designs, but for the most part these elements are only cringy at worst and don’t have that large of an impact on the real intelligent parts of the story. Now, on to the main character of our story, our hero character, Ikta Solork, who in the beginning comes off as a right jerk, and persists to be a right jerk all the way through the series. Ikta however, happens to be a genius when it comes to commanding a platoon, tactical problem solving, and planning and executing tactics. His counterpart Yatori Igsem, is basically an unstoppable killing machine that has known Ikta since a young age and is one of his few friends. Yatori has also been incredibly indoctrinated in the ideas and mindsets of a hierarchical system, so much so that if she were given and order to killed Ikta, she says she would do it, but first she would destroy her own personality, showing that she would not kill him so long as she is still the Yatori he knows. This is both interesting and aggravating at the same time as it very well tells us the kind of character she is, but also makes it very hard to accept her as a real serious character if she would obey such an order, although that last part is helped by the fact that she says she would no longer be herself at that point, meaning that it wouldn’t really be her doing it, but that idea is another topic for another day; this isn’t the place to discuss philosophy. All in all, the series gives a minor refresher to a genre that desperately needs it, but also is very reminiscent of why the genre needs refreshing. This series was entertaining at the very least and certainly gives me hope for the future of the genre. It had some interesting ideas to discuss, and overall gave me the impression that it was doing its best to escape the light novel trap that has sunk so many things. I would most likely watch a second season just to see if the it continues to show its good points while slowly explaining and reducing its bad ones, but it was made by Madhouse, so a second season is almost certainly never going to happen (Madhouse please, make some second seasons). I did enjoy most of my run through this series even through some of its worst moments, and so I give this series a:

7 out of 10.              Update

Fall 2016 Anime Season Standouts

fallAfter checking out some of the anime from this current season, I though it be nice to share my views and opinions on the ones I  watched, and the ones I have my eye on. I’ve only watched the first episode of each of these series. I’ll waiting until the seasons over so I can marathon these, but in the mean time, this is what I’ve come up with.  I’ll divide things up into 6 categories, Very Interested, Mildly Interested, Less Interested, On My Radar, Dropped, and Shorts.

Let’s start off with some shows that I’m Very Interested in:

Nanbaka: What could they possibly do with a story all about escaping from prison? well, what they could do is make it absolutely hilarious and get me to want more, and that’s exactly what this show does. It has plenty of ridiculous and funny moments to keep me entertained and laughing.

Kiss Him, Not Me: A reverse harem about a fujoshi that can’t help but want her lovers to go out and bang eachother instead of her. This series has some great comedic value, and also if my judgment from the cover and opening are correct, there might even be some yuri in it; either that or there’s gonna be a cross dresser at some point, but it doesn’t matter which because this show is hilarious.

Drifters: I can’t wait to see this series in its entirety. I alternate universe where some of the greatest military leaders, strategist, tacticians, and soldiers all come together in one giant pot. There will most likely be some amazingly epic scale fights and the animation is incredibly unique. I want more.

Now, onto my middle tier of shows I’m Mildly Interested in:

Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari: That is a long title, but this series certainly has my interest. We have a story about a 30 year old man who’s having trouble deciding whether or not he wants to take over his families Udon business after his father dies. We also get to see a glimpse of this mans past that may or may not have been great, I am interested in finding out what happens.

Shuumatsu no Izetta: An alternate history story set during WWII about the princess of a small independent nation under threat of Nazi invasion and a young witch who she befriended as a child. I am interested to see how this series depicts magic and the ways in which it will affect war and politics.

Matoi the Sacred Slayer: It’s a magical girl story about a girl who doesn’t want to be a magical girl. Not only that, but it also seems that being a magical girl may involve serious consequences when you just want to live a normal life. I need to see where this goes.

Flip Flappers: Coming in here, we have something with some incredible animation quality and what appears to be another magical girl show, and this one also seems to have a dark twist, and it comes on very suddenly. I want to watch more, even if that just to see some great animation and some cool fight scenes.

Magical Girl Raising Project: What’s up with all the magical girl stuff this season? Anyway, this one involves a girl and her childhood male friend and there journey together as new magical girls where it looks like they’re going to have to fight to the death to maintain their magical girl status. Fun!

Now onto things I think I’ll give a try, but overall am Less Interested in:

Bloodivores: This series has some super generic elements in it, but I do like the cliche plotline of “the framed person” and so I hope this series defies my expectations of it.

3-Gatsu mo Lion: What I thought was going to be a completely serious series turned out to have some spontaneous and out of nowhere moments of ridiculous off the wall comedy that upset the serious tone and takes away from the experience, I hope this series doesn’t turn put to be super inconsistent like it was this first episode.

Trickster: Edogawa Ranpo “Shounen Tanteidan” Yori: I’m not quite sure how I feel about this one to be honest, but I think it has some potential, I don’t really have much else to say about this one though, other than that it has an overly long title.

Let’s get into some series I haven’t watched yet, but are On My Radar.:

Yuri!!! on Ice: This series seems to have made some pretty good impressions on people, but I think I’ll wait a little bit before jumping on the band wagon.

Soul Buster: A 15-minute series that appears to have some action in it. It may be cool, it may not be, but I want to at least check it out.

Here we are, at series I Dropped:

Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru: This series just doesn’t seem for me, but if you’re a fan of shows involving cute guys doing cute things, then you might wanna give this one a go, but that just isn’t for me.

Gi(a)rlish Number: This series just didn’t seem to have that interesting of a concept, not to mention that every character is painful to watch, I just really don’t see much value in this one.

Onto the section about Shorts:

Ones I will keep watching include Nazotokine and Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desukara Season 2.

Ones I dropped are Cheating Craft and Kiitarou Shounen no Youkai Enikki.

And there’s my opinion on this current season. Now I just have to wait until it ends so that I can marathon theses shows. Have a series you’re liking and I don’t have? leave it in the comments and I’ll be sure to respond.

Initial Review: Denpa-Teki na Kanojo

denpa-teki-na-kanojoIt’s rare to see a short series go in deep on an idea, but that’s what Denpa-Teki na Kanojo does. The main theme that this 2 episode series explores, is the effect of trauma on the human mind and a person’s sanity; the series shows the ways in which a traumatic experience can completely change a persons demeanor, actions, thought processes, worldly view, and outlook on society. Each episode is around 40 minutes long and each discusses its own case, and shows in great detail the damage that trauma can cause people. The series also presents itself as a mystery which also adds to the enjoyment of the series as you never know quite what is happening or who the bad guy is. We see actions have repercussions and the characters seem to behave in a somewhat realistic manner with few exceptions. Insane people seem to behave like how an insane person would behave, and a troubled person seems to behave how a troubled person would. There’s also a little bit of romance in this short series, so if you’re one of those people who like to ship characters, you can certainly do that here. The only problem with this short series to me, is the fact that the characters themselves aren’t explored as much as they could be, but the series more than makes up for that with its stellar execution of its story. I would love to see more of this series, if only to see these characters experience more unnatural events and some progression to some eventual goal, but as the series stands, it is definitely an excellent watch with plenty of story to tell; a definite must watch for those who are a fan of mysteries or psychological stories. This series really surprised me with how well it was able to present its ideas and come through with a very interesting and compelling narrative, and so I give this short series a:

9 out of 10.

Initial Review: Kuromukuro

kuromukuroI don’t think I’ve seen a series as inconsistent as Kuromukuro, and I can say that the series has some amazing elements, and some questionable ones. The series is fairly generic in its plot, as a fairly standard mecha shows in which some evil entity invades the earth and the only way to fight them is with giant robots, and it sticks to this idea very strongly with the mech and pilots both gradually get more powers and such as the series goes on. The series has a fairly decent romantic subplot going on between our main characters, Yukina Shirahane, and Kennosuke Ouma which leads to some fairly well executed drama towards the end of the series. I like to see series set up their drama and this one does that, and it does that well in this sense which is nice and refreshing after seeing so much “forced drama”. The series does a fine job of connecting its cast members together and fleshing most of them out while also not being right in your face about who they are specifically, save a few details. Where the series does struggle however, is with its consistency. There are some moments of forced drama, some crazy deus ex machina moments, and some points that don’t make any sense at all, and this really shows through in a series that isn’t trying to be outlandish and creative. What the series does it does well, but because it isn’t trying to hide its faults they show through very clearly and this is damaging to the series as a whole. The series had some nice ideas, like how they had a samurai from 400 years ago be revived in modern times; they had him react in a way that seems reasonable to what might actually happen, such as being confused at just about everything, and not really understanding much about anything in the begin. We do see him learn about the new world and develop an understanding of it over time, which was nice to see. The series also briefly touches on the idea of artificial life, and looked like it had some things to say about it, but ultimately fell through on discussing it more than a few minutes. The series had some ideas to spread, but didn’t execute very many of them in an interesting and meaningful manner, and this hurt the series as well. The series itself was actually pretty enjoyable to watch, although it may not be very memorable, it was still a nice ride while it lasted. While it could have expanded on some interesting ideas it had, and had the story been tighter this series could have been something more than just a fun ride in the moment. If things were consistent and well planned out the series could have been a lot deeper than it was and have given me something to think about, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The series was enjoyable to watch and kept me interested for the full 26 episode run time, but I wouldn’t say the series is a standout, and so I give this series a:

7 out of 10.              Update