Archive for the ‘Anime’ Category

Hiatari Ryoukou: an underrated masterpiece

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

I first heard of Hiatari Ryoukou! back in 2006. I had just ended my first year in university, and its first few episodes were released by MJN. I had never heard of Mitsuru Adachi before, but I read its synopsis and was impressed by that enough to try its first few episodes.

hiatari_ryoukou_094832_8

Despite its dated animation (it was originally aired last 1987), I was hooked. I was hooked because the series relied on crisp characterization and sparkling dialogue to make up for its characters’ lack of facial expressions. I liked the frank and upfront nature of its main characters, and I absolutely loved the subtlety in their dialogue. Sadly, MJN subbed only up to the eighth episode.

I never forgot about Hiatari Ryoukou, however. I had been much impressed with its first eight episodes that I looked up Mitsuru Adachi and religiously watched his anime series (except H2, because I heard it was bad). Touch was good, while Cross Game is one of my favorites. I kept on waiting, however, for future Hiatari Ryoukou releases.

I recently resumed my anime watching after I did away with my review and board exams. To my surprise, I discovered that HR had been subbed by ray=out until the 24th episode! I started from the first episode (having last watched the series back in 2006), and I grew to appreciate the series even more. The dialogue between the different characters was absolutely scintillating in its subtlety and suggestion – and that’s just from the first twelve episodes.

Though people are more familiar with Adachi’s later works (except Touch, which had preceded this series), there is a reason why the few who have watched this series feel strongly positive about it. In contrast to his other series that I’ve seen, this has less focus on the sport baseball. This series places more emphasis on its characters’ interactions, and that is why one should watch this with proper focus. Adachi masterfully illustrates and presents to us the slow conversion of Kishimoto Kasumi toward the charms of the equally confident and equally cheeky Takasugi Yuusaku.

And unlike more modern series, its major characters aren’t evil. They are determined to win the person they love, but they are upfront and frank with regard to their actions. For example, Keiko, a character besotted with Yuusaku, reminds the protagonists that Kasumi has a boyfriend whenever the two of them would seem to cross the line. Yet she does this matter-of-factly and without malice. Yuusaku, who is also interested in Kasumi, tries his best to take care of her but never crosses the line: in one episode, he even offered to take Kasumi’s pictures to send to her boyfriend.

I like this series because it is a throwback to the time when love was not adulterated, and when competition between prospective lovers wasn’t a vipers’ tangle. The main characters are sincere with their feelings, and show their love in their own special ways, but never undermine the emotions of others. That’s why I pray that more people should watch it.

It is that good.

(Also, please support ray=out! They’re currently searching for competent QC staff to help finish the series. They also accept donations. 🙂 )

Why I also like Rebuild of Evangelion

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Just when I said I was going to write about anime, real life again interrupted. I admit, I was also lazy, with a lot of my write-ups started with fire but ending up embers.

Rei_smile_(Rebuild)

Her smile makes everything all right

It’s been almost fourteen years since I’ve become addicted with anime. From the humble beginnings of Gundam Wing, I’ve managed to watch a lot of anime into my college years. In fact, I’ve even managed to insert some anime-watching during medical school! I’ll probably never get over my love for anime.

One of the earliest anime series I’ve watched was Neon Genesis Evangelion. While I didn’t like it as much as Gundam Wing or Elfen Lied, it was among the series that made me realize that anime was so much than children’s cartoons. In contrast to the faux-happiness of series like Pokemon and Monster Rancher, it felt realistic.

It was violent. It was, at times, horrible. But it was and is a mature series. Like many other fans, I fell in love with Rei Ayanami; like them, I cringed at Shinji’s indecisiveness. I also felt flummoxed at its ending.

When Rebuild of Evangelion was announced, I was ecstatic. I wanted to see a different Evangelion: I wanted to see an Evangelion made by a non-depressed Anno, and he didn’t disappoint. The second movie was perhaps the highlight of the series: Rei had become truly human, and one of the most enduring un-realized love stories between Rei and Shinji had suggestions of actually becoming reality.

The third movie, however, was an utter disappointment in that regard. I was back to the Third Impact. I was back to the struggle against even more powerful angels, and I was back to an emotionless Rei. But I was content with this Evangelion.

Why?

This Evangelion was more realistic. I couldn’t curse Shinji anymore because he no longer hid from reality. His animus was no longer a coward. He was afraid, but he fought to make things right, in the previous movie and in this one. This was much unlike a Shinji tossed around by the people around him. This was a Shinji, at least, who chose. Even if he was distraught and devastated at the end of the third movie, Shinji chose for himself. Ultimately, that is why I like this iteration of Evangelion. These are more similar to teenagers conscious with their actions and the repercussions their actions entail: Asuka remained angry at Shinji, but she wasn’t that embittered. Even when he went against her, she still tried to save him, and didn’t physically molest him.

Rei, on the other hand, even chose for herself despite being another clone. She chose to go against the Angels. The teenagers are no longer mere pawns: they are human characters, and that is why I also like Rebuild.

Suisei no Gargantia: the first three episodes

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

I wanted to celebrate my return to anime by watching Mushishi Zoku Shou, as it seems to be the runaway selection for anime of this year. I have also obtained its ten episodes. I only realized it was subtitled in Chinese only when I opened it, so I have to download those episodes once more (although if you guys know where to get *.srt files of the series, please share your information).

As with most medical clerks, I have had a massive backlog of anime series, but the only complete one I haven’t touched before was Suisei no Gargantia, so that’s where I’m re-starting my hopefully more consistent anime blogging. I may not sustain this seeing that residency training or further studies lurk in the distance, but I’ll try to make up for lost time.

Suisei no Gargantia, from its first three episodes, is a generic sci-fi and mecha action series. Beyond that I really have little else to comment: I’m not watching Mushishi or Tatami Galaxy, after all. It’s not something I would recommend, but it’s not bad.

The absence explained: the journey to becoming a medical doctor

Friday, September 5th, 2014

I looked at my previous posts and the last one I made was nearly a year ago. I’ve clearly put anime on the back-burner, but it’s for a very legitimate reason: the physician licensure examination began two weeks ago. There are a few things more important to me than anime, but being a licensed doctor is a lot more important than writing anime articles (for now).

I'm actually a doctor now.

I’m actually a doctor now.

In all honesty, I didn’t care much about medical school. That was primarily the reason that I was able to produce articles during the time period between 2009 and 2012. I stopped writing because I had to deal with menial work during my year in clerkship. The work was not only physically draining, however, but also mentally exhausting. At certain unlucky instances I would not have sleep for 40 hours; and particularly benign duties (24 hours long, plus 12 more hours of post-duty work) would allow me three hours of troubled sleep. I didn’t have time to watch anime, or be productive whenever I got home at the end of a 36-hour shift; and I would sleep early the next day in preparation for another 36-hour shift.

When I finally graduated in medical school I decided to properly prepare for the boards. I may not have had the passion for medicine as most of my peers, but I had enough responsibility to stick by my decision, which was to become a medical doctor, and I was going to be a medical doctor out of gratitude for a damn fine father. Gratitude is miles different from love, however: even now, I still honestly cannot say I love medicine.

I got my backlog of classic novels out of the way during the first two months of my post-graduate internship, and then started to prepare for the licensure examinations as rigorously as I knew how, which was to read as many reviewers as I possibly could with my spare time from duty. I had that much to catch-up to: all those barely passing marks came to bite me in the back, and I had ‘studied’ medicine for four years without really learning anything much. I’d say I cruised through it, rather than really studied it. I wrote a lot of articles about anime, and wrote pretty consistently because I spent time doing things other than studying. I could have passed as a part-time writer, DotA player, and overall bum, but not as zealous medical student. That description was for my classmates.

In the ten months I had left prior to graduating as a post-graduate intern (or PGI), I slowly culled the classics and literary reading from my backlog and kept on adding medical reviewers. This determination reached its apex during January through April this year, where I would read reviewers every spare time I had in between duties. My parents also acquiesced in enrolling me in a review center, just to bolster my chances of becoming a medical doctor.

The reader may think it quite queer for someone to be so determined at something one does not really love: I think this can be explained by my personality quirk which is the possession of an intense fear of failure. I think I am a serious person for the most part because I have this fear, as I don’t want to disappoint myself and others important to me.

When the formal review started, another four months passed with nothing more than reading through the different subjects. The breaks I allowed myself were: first, between five to six hours of sleep; and second, occasional excursions to the nearby mall for some novel food.

I could not allot any time for anime during all this time, and the reasons why are now quite obvious.

The results of the licensure examinations came out yesterday, and I am now a licensed physician. It’s time to start writing about anime once more. 🙂

Is this the strongest season in two years?

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

I may have been selling myself short with Infinite Stratos 2. With Kyoukai no Kanata, Coppelion, and Samurai Flamenco, this might be one of the stronger seasons of recent years. I’m totally sucked in by attractive, bespectacled women as well.

kyoukai-no-kanata-ep-3-seventhstyle-006-614x345

And the newest anime I’m watching goes to…

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

The first anime I watched after Psycho-Pass wasn’t some classic or critically-acclaimed series.

It was Infinite Stratos 2.

After all this time, I’m still in love with Charlotte Dunois. I love a beautiful, smart, and demure lady. Whereas all the others are passive-aggressive toward Ichika, Charlotte has been consistent with her emotions for Ichika.

I’d love to meet a girl like her.

Psycho-Pass: just when I thought I didn’t like anime anymore

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

In great examples of media that feature an opposition of ideals, the villain (or antagonist) is just as important as the hero. The Dark Knight is one of the more recent examples of this: although Christian Bale’s portrayal of Batman was cerebral and well-acted, it was undoubtedly Heath Ledger’s Joker who stole the show. He was irrational, brutal, and yet extremely effective. I even sincerely believe that as far as villains go, his was the best (and consequently, the worst): most people would agree, as he had won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. An actor portraying a supervillain winning an Oscar was unprecedented, yet most people were in approbation of the choice. The Dark Knight was nominated as one of the best pictures of 2008, and is recognized by many to be one of the best, if not the best superhero film of all time.

tumblr_mc3pglluVh1qbi1c6o1_1280

Psycho-Pass possesses the same dynamic: in a futuristic world that is half-Neuromancer and half-1984 (as Makishima connotes), crime is prevented before it has even occurred. The series undeniably borrowed elements from The Minority Report (written by Philip K. Dick, and also alluded to by Makishima) as well. The story begins relatively innocently, with an intelligent rookie joining the Public Security Bureau. As the crimes progress in severity and brutality, however, the idea that a mastermind acts as a puppet-master to all the heinous crimes recently committed surfaces. As the story unfolds, he was a familiar figure in Kougami Shinya’s past (the Batman of this series).

Makishima (or the Joker) is a bit of an anarchist, although like Joker he enjoys destruction in and of itself. The whole series is essentially a cat-and-mouse game between these two characters. Like The Minority Report, however, the Sibyl System that holds together the society that everyone currently enjoys actually comes from dubious sources. The question of ‘free will’ looms over the characters, and like Louis Salinger of 2009’s International, Kougami has to go beyond what is defined to be ‘law’ in their place to actually enforce justice.

I love the literary allusions, from Rousseau, Kierkegaard, Foucault, and even Jeremy Bentham. Is it truly all right to sacrifice one man for the good of mankind? Is he not a human being all the same? The series offers no easy answers, and the ending, while by no means surprising, is actually a revisit of the themes that pervaded Nolan’s Dark Knight: sometimes, the only ones who could dispense justice are the ones that go beyond the law.

It’s a brilliant series that has restored my faith in anime once more. It’s been a while since I truly wrote about anime, and while not as special to me as Tatami Galaxy, Psycho-Pass is a great anime to watch, to think about, and to enjoy.

No longer an anime fan

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

I’m no longer an anime fan.

I have no excuses.

I’m an anime fan has-been. I don’t have Internet right now, so all I do is read books and go to work. Being a medical doctor is harsh. There’s really little time for anything else than duty, and that sucks.

I still love anime, though. I saw the first episode of Psycho-Pass and was quite impressed with it. I honestly miss my analyses on Tatami Galaxy, however – or my excursions on Code Geass years ago. I want to have an Internet connection, but I have to make do with reading instead. All I can do now is go online at certain times, and that really doesn’t bode well for anime watching. Currently, I am taking back my life, trying to decimate the backlogs of novels to read.

Anime should be next. I’m quite hopeful, but I need an Internet connection to do that. It’s frustrating.

I’m coming back

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

I think Summer 2013 will force me to return to watching anime.

I’ve ignored anime for too long.

But with the coming of Tsukihime, and even a new season of Spice and Wolf and the last season of Full Metal Panic, plus great manga adaptations such as Otoyomegatari, Yankee-kun to Megane-chan, and Yotsubato, I don’t think I can hold myself off any longer. Of course there’s also a new series helmed by Shinichiro Watanabe, and a new season of Sailor Moon.

OMG IT’S JUST LIKE 2010!!!

Chuunibyou and my chuunibyous

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

It’s weird, because another package arrived for me in the post office about a week ago, and I think I’m elated because I still couldn’t sleep despite not having had more than two hours of sleep yesterday night. I had, after all, gone for roughly 36 hours of straight work with a bit of dozing in between. It was indeed quite tiring, but after I got the package from the post office I think I was excited, although I couldn’t really show it. That’s what a lack of sleep does to you, I think.

I got another ballpen. What else is new with me, anyway? Due to our regimented schedules, however, it seems that that would be the last package I’d obtain from the post office, at least for the next two months. I can’t really get out of the hospital unless it’s past five in the afternoon for non-duty non-Sundays, and whenever I could get out at ten in the morning the post office would be closed because it’s a Sunday. I have to do what I just did over again if I do try and purchase something from eBay, and I really don’t believe windfalls come in pairs. I was already lucky enough to escape unscathed today.

Besides, I have a lot of ballpens already. I need to stop. Once again, I’m back to what I’ve been writing about this particular topic over the past year. I know I have got to stop, but sometimes I’m just driven to stupidity by that obsessive-compulsive brain of mine. I hope coffee remedies this.

More importantly, however, I just watched the first episode of Chuunibyou per the suggestions made in a previous post. It was interesting. I would gladly watch another episode tomorrow, even despite the fact that I have less than a month to prepare for our final exams. I’m hoping this comprehensive reviewer would do the job for me, since a recent article noted that bulk-reading, highlighting, and re-reading aren’t very effective ways to store information in the brain. Practice tests offer better retention, although I don’t think you can retain anything without of course opening the book at first. At least I’m re-introducing myself to anime, right?

I realized that I must have been a pretty restricted fellow. I was just an asshole at the age of the main characters of Chuunibyou, but I never believed I was something other than human. Sometimes my best friend would act as if we were Mack Bolan, but that was it. Even then I thought it was already pretty weird for being a high schooler. The heroine in this series, on the other hand, is unique. Believing in Evil Eyes and whatnot was simply something I never really grew accustomed to in my life. I just played video games. I guess even buying vintage stuff isn’t really weird. Not like that. Not like her.