Irregular Reconnaissance is a chance to catch up and chat about the geeky aspects of entertainment. In Irregular Reconnaissance: Anime we chat about anime. You guessed that already, huh?
What anime have you been watching lately? Share your thoughts and finds in the comments below? Which titles are a must watch? Which are a miss?
Here’s a quick tour through my recent discoveries, loyal watching and which titles I’m thinking about quitting.
Episodes 1 to 6
What a discovery! Rideback goes straight onto my recommendation list even if I’m not sure who the target market is. (Wikipedia says; Seinen but I’ve seen no evidence of that).
Rideback begins with a ballet dancer having a disaster, something snapping in her foot and the cinematics making it pretty clear her lifelong goal of being a professional dancer is over. The beginning also makes it clear that a mysterious organisation called GGP has taken control of the world before returning most of it to life as usual.
We pick up again as Rin Ogata, the dancer, enters college and stumbles into a greasy campas gargage in attempt to avoid a rain storm. There she encounters the Ridebacks. Ridebacks are essentially motorcycles with robotic arms. It’s love at first sight and this delicate young woman turns out to be an incredible Rideback rider. It’s pretty clear that her dexterity as a ballet dancer transfers over to the Ridebacks.
At the same time the terrorist vs GGP tension climbs. The use of Ridebacks becomes political and sure enough Rin and friends find themselves involved. When I have a spare minute I try and watch more Rideback.
Xam’d Lost Memories
Episodes 1 to 12
I had technical problems with the first disc. I had to watch the first chunk of Xam’d episodes in English. While it reminded me why I sometimes like dubbing over subbing (actors translate meaning and tone in a way subtitles don’t always) I was much happier when I could finally switch over (with disc 2) and watch in Japanese, with English subtitles, as I usually do.
Xam’d Lost Memories starts well but then gets a little flaky only to pick up again. It starts with a weird terrorist attack. Some strange energy blasts open a school bus and brings the sleepy Sentan Island into the war between the North and South. The blast was, in some ways, the fault of Akiyuki Tekahara, a school boy who let the wrong person onto the bus. The blast changes Akiyuki forever; giving him a strange infection that he struggles to control.
The “infection” is a sort of bio-mecha that transforms his body and gives him great fighting strength. Xam’d Lost Memories looses pace as we follow Akiyuki fleeing the scene and learning to better control this ability. The action picks back up again when we discover at least one of the military powers are up to no good with an entity that might be related to the Xam’d.
Blade and Soul
Episodes 4 to 6
I had such high hopes for Blade and Soul. I fear the series isn’t living up to it.
Some of the problems I have with Blade and Soul are with the female characters. I think some of them are supposed to be mysterious but when they’re treated as big boobed fanboy objects this really detracts from that goal. Other female characters are supposed to be laddish and approachable but when there’s one dimensional and, again, fanboy treats then it’s hard to relate to them.
I was pretty close to quitting Blade and Soul. The last episode I watched, six, perked things up a little. There’s less emphasis on boobs and more on the politics of the region. It’s an interesting set up! We’ve factions at war. We have factions within these factions – including the “Flower Monks” who are clearly a bad bunch. Episode 6 has bought Blade and Soul a stay of execution because it introduces another power player and really stokes up the politics.
Rise of the Yokai Clan series 2 part 2
Episodes 21 to 26
I really enjoyed the Rise of the Yokai Clan. I watched with interest as our heroes fought their way into the capital and tried to deal with the rise of the big bad and her master plan. The series is well animated, interesting and filled with great characters.
I’m surprised and disappointed by the ending. I won’t get into too many details in the interests of spoilers but it is almost as if one side, in effect, gives up and goes home. What was the point?
It’s worse than that. The nature of the ending suggests that we won’t get any close in series 3, if there’s a series 3. Did budget get pulled at the end? A last minute decision not to continue the series?
Magi: The Labryinth of Magic series 1 part 2
Episodes 21 to 25
This anime has always made me scratch my head in confusion. I’m never entirely sure what story they’re trying to tell with this anime version of Arabian Nights.
The good news is that there’s more focus and more clarity at the end of the series. There’s a straight forward battle between the main heroes and baddies. There’s some insight into what the baddies are trying to do (and why). The wild card character, Sinbad, also enjoys a little more clarity.
Episodes 29 to 40
I’m watching these early Dragon Ball episodes out of nostalgia. It feels like travelling back in time. That might be appropraite given how the latest rumours for the most recent Dragon Ball computer game speculate on another Super Sayian who may, or may not, be a time traveller.
It’s hard to imagine a series like this becoming a cult hit if it was released today. If it wasn’t for the nostalgia drive I think I would have given up too. That said; I’ve seen Dragon Ball before. If I hadn’t then I think I’d be investing in the Dragon Ball Collection as part of my anime eductation.
Episodes 142 to 156
I tend to put the crazy One Piece adventures on the TV when I know I’m going to be multi-tasking. Just as Dragon Ball feels like a trip back in time so does watching these “early” One Piece episodes. At this stage in Luffy’s adventures the crew is looking for a famous liar and monkey minions so their pirate ship might be able to fly as well as float. Why? Plot reasons! That’s why.
Episodes 13 to 24
Casshern Sins won’t win any prizes for animation. The post-apocalyptic world is so simply illustrated it is almost surreal.
The second half of Casshern Sins works to reassure us that Casshern, as suspected, is no bad guy. We should be more concerned about the return of the mysterious robot he killed – an act which ended the world. A lot of time is spent building up to big events and I’m not sure those encounters then ever manage to deliver.
Was the Braiking Boss the big, behind the scenes, villain or was he actually the good guy all along? I don’t know and I’ve now watched the whole series.
All reviews based on real-life anime fandom. Titles here include those streamed legally online and those provided on disc for review by Manga UK.