Archive for April, 2012

Lupin III: The Woman Named Mine Fujiko – 02

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

I probably won’t be able to write tomorrow seeing that I return to duty, but I like the new Lupin series. I didn’t even know Takashi Koike was involved, but I was impressed with the first episode, so I decided to keep watching. The second episode didn’t really let up in terms of quality, either. I hope the series keeps up the grit I’ve been seeing the past two episodes, because it is something one rarely sees in a Lupin III series.

I watched some Lupin III episodes back when I was younger, and I wasn’t impressed with the bungling misadventures of Lupin and his friends. However, in stark contrast to that, Lupin was a competent and intelligent thief in the very first episode of this Mine Fujiko series: his verbal fencing with Mine Fujiko and their maneuverings throughout the episode were fun to watch. The series seems to retain the insouciance of Lupin without making him seem like a joke character, which was what the original manga was all about anyway.

The second episode didn’t have less of that grit. Although it dealt with Jigen this time around, the story was actually quite captivating: it wasn’t until the end where Cicciolina’s motivations were cleared up, and it turned out to be no less than a tragedy.

I often feel empathetic toward stories that have one character seek their inexorable damnation through the people they love the most. I think I love the duality between love and sacrifice that evince itself through these situations: that’s probably the reason why I like the Cowboy Bebop movie quite a bit, because Vincent Volaju was a bit like Cicciolina.

This season has been quite a pleasant surprise.

Sakamichi no Apollon – 01: two words – WATCH IT.

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

There’s always something in a first episode that insinuates greatness in an anime. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s akin to a sliver of pain and happiness that touches the heart. I felt that from the very first minute I tuned in to Sakamichi no Apollon. Perhaps it’s because it’s been years since I heard YUKI in an anime series; perhaps because it’s been years since I’ve seen Shinichiro Watanabe direct an anime, or perhaps it is because of a multitude of factors combined.

I had been touting Sakamichi no Apollon as probably going to be the year’s best even before I saw one episode of it because of its staff, and after the first episode, it seems that I’m not wrong. Although quite unlike Watanabe’s previous two series in that it’s not rooted in action and violence, the characters and the dialogue remain to be sparkling yet minimalistic at the same time, approximating Hemingway’s works. It’s beautiful, in every sense of the word, from its fluid ‘action’ scenes to its character build-up.

It’s so good that to even attempt to summarize it would be to do it a disservice as words cannot, at least for me, express how beautiful it coalesced the characters and the plot together. But if one were to watch only one series this year, I suggest one watch this. I doubt that Watanabe would let up with his excellence, as he had never done so with his two previous masterpieces.

Final words on Ano Natsu: sorry for the delay

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

I actually finished Ano Natsu de Matteru weeks ago. Sadly, however, I haven’t been able to log on for quite some time due to issues with my connection. It ended very well, save for the Men in Black hijinks, but it was a nevertheless very well done series. The video of the friends spending their summer together despite their separation with Ichika was honestly tearjerking, and the uncertainty and sadness with Ichika being spirited away from Kai was quite overwhelming.

This was my feeling when I finished Ano Natsu. 🙂

I was happy with how it ended, though, and how it subtly showed Ichika’s return. I had no expectations whatsoever with the series, but it was honestly one of the best Winter 2012 had to offer. I honestly doubt it would end up as one of the best of the year, however, especially with the strength of the Spring season. It was a series one could say little about, but it was a great series simply because it did everything in its ability exceptionally well. It was great with its handling of its characters; it was great with evocation and although the plot was barebones the rest were enough to carry the series beautifully.

And yes, it was better than Ano Hana. Any dissenting opinions? 🙂