Monday, April 27, 2009

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood eps 1-4


It feels like I've been waiting ages for this....well, more realistically, I’ve been hoping for a remake of the anime the more and more I read the manga. I will admit, I did enjoy the first series, plus it was what got me into FMA afteral. However, when its compared to the manga, it’s pale in comparison. The characters are much more developed, the story makes better sense and is much better in quality, and has the perfect balance of comedy and drama. It is very well crafted and one of the best series I have ever read! So I had been longing for a remake, wanting to see this great series done justice properly. And it looks like I will be getting my wish (along with thousands of other fellow fans). I would have posted my thoughts on this sooner, but I wanted to wait for more eps to be released before I did that.

For starters, the opening theme is kick-ass, and the lyrics fit the series to a T, and its awesomeness is doubled just because YUI sings it. *YUI fan* The ED is pretty decent too, and I liked the style of animation that was used. As for the BGM, they decided to get a new composer for this series. I don’t mind this at all, in fact I kinda like the idea they decided to get someone new. I thought the soundtrack for the first series was quite fitting for FMA, which had a militaristic-feel and other times it sounded just like the kind of music you would find in an old black and white film. The main reason why i’m glad that they changed the composer, was that I felt that much of the soundtrack from the previous series would have been repeated in the remake if they had gotten the same composer, so it’s nice to hear something new. Plus I had high hopes for this guy, afteral, if Hiromu Arakawa herself liked the guy was was thrilled to have him work on the series, so that was a good sign. As for the new composer, I really like it so far from what i’ve heard, the tracks complement the scenes very well. I think i'm starting to like this soundtrack better than the first series, but I won't fully judge it just yet, not until the soundtrack CD is released. It still needs to undergo my “can-this-OST-stand-alone-from-the-animation?” test (being the OST lover that I am).

The well. I really liked the animation style from the first season, more-so than the artwork from the manga. So when I heard they would be designing the characters to look closer to the manga, I wasn’t all that thrilled. I think the idea to change the style was a smart move, that way at a glance you can see its different from the first series. As for the animation in the actual episodes, the widescreen, the effects, and everything where....*blink* WWWWOOOOOOOOW, its *definitely* a step up from the first TV series (I mean this in a good way). However, I still can’t get over the look of the characters at times, even after watching the first 4 episodes. The choice to use a yellow color for the outline of Edward's hair (along with many of the other characters) looks interesting, yet odd. Perhaps i'm still used to seeing his hair with a black outline like the first series? While I’m still on the topic of animation, here's an amusing thought. If you think about it, in the end, the FMA anime will have had 4 different animation styles (not counting OP/EDs). I mean, the first TV series, the movie, the OVAs, and now the 2nd series, had all used very different animation styles. Its odd how it turned out that way.

As for the voices, I’m so happy they got the same VAs for Ed and Al back. I can’t imagine anybody but Paku Romi playing Ed! (screw Vic, she ROCKS!!!) Unfortunately they couldn’t get the whole previous cast back, which I find a shame. Its strange hearing the voice of Urahara (from Bleach) coming out of Roy’s mouth. Then its really weird hearing new voices for many of the characters. Ah well, its still wonderful to hear Paku Romi and Rie Kugimiya provide Ed and Al's voices again. I’m still dying to hear the voices they will pick for the Xing characters and Armstrong’s older sister (these voices I am the most curious on at the moment), unfortunately we won’t be able to find out for long a while....

As for the story (which is the main reason for the remake in the first place) has been following the manga rather well so far. The first episode was invented for the anime, but all is forgiven, something needed to be done to show people that this is a new series. If they started out with Lior (just like in the manga/first FMA series) it would lead many to think "Hey! Its a repeat for the first series!". Even if it was an anime original, it was still a damn good episode (mostly due to the great special effects). Episodes 2-4 there based on the manga. I'm not too pleased with how quickly they went though the manga material presented in episodes 2 and 3 (Ed and Al's flashback and and Ed's confrontation with Cornello in Loir), and I kinda wished they did things differently. Even though I was somewhat disappointed by eps 2 and 3, mostly by the rushed pacing, they did an excellent job with episode 4. I was wondering how they would be handing the Tucker/Nina story, the first series did such a great job with it afteral. Thankfully I found the pacing was perfect in this episode, and they even managed to throw in just enough scenes with Nina and Alexander so that the viewers will feel sympathetic for them for when...*that*....happens. I was very pleased at how the whole episode was executed, and if I dare say, the best manga-to-anime episode yet. I have high hopes now for when they get later into the series and start to cover more material from the manga. Even though this is the best adapted episode so far, its still depressing as ever *sniff/cries* Much to my pleasure, they kept the scene where Scar kills Tucker!!! *throws confetti* God how I always hated Tucker, he's on my list of Top 10 anime characters I hate the most. It has always irked me how they kept him alive in the first series yet he died in the manga. I'm already loving the remake just for this alone.

Anyways, even though they are going though the manga material featured in the first series rather quickly, I bet ya the animators are just as itching to get to the new material not featured in the first series as much as I am. They couldn't just skip the manga material that was in the first series, its needed in the story later on (much of it anyways, some of it can be simply glossed over real quick like Loir and Youswell).

Ah yes, one last thing before I get to mention it: the eye catch, I hate it, its annoying as hell >_< ....why oh, why do we need someone to say "FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST" *head/desk* I hope Funimation will do us a favor and when they release the DVDs here in the states, they will edit out the guy saying that. Speaking of which...i’m glad they gave this remake of Fullmetal Alchemist an actual name. I didn’t like how the Japanese refer to this series as “Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Fullmetal Alchemist” seems kinda repetitive, and then some folks where calling it “Fullmetal Alchemist 2”. I thought the latter title was a bad idea, it was giving people the wrong impression thinking its somekind of sequel to the first series when its not. Thankfully Funimation gave it a better name that won’t confuse people as much “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”. I think the “Brotherhood” part would fit the first series much better, but at least we have a way to differ the two series now. Knowing the international community, I bet they will follow Funimation and use the same title for this series as well in international releases.

On that note *holds up can of Sunkist soda* here's to hoping that this new FMA series will capture the greatness of the manga and that it will blow the first series out of the water.

If you're curious, I plan to compare this FMA series to he manga (first FMA series too) on my website. I started working on it already, I just need to get off my lazy butt and work on it some more....I'll post a link when i finally get it going.

Thoughts on: Black Lagoon

These past few weeks, instead of watching only one series at a time like I normally do, i've been juggling several different series and watching them all at once (not counting the series currently airing in Japan where I have to wait for eps weekly). In between these series, I was craving for an action series where I didn't have to wait every week for a new episode. I was thinking about trying to watch Soul Eater again, but I didn't like the idea of getting involved with a 51 ep long series just yet, I was hoping to stick to shorter series for now until school gets out. Then I was talking to this one guy and he mentioned Black Lagoon. It was then when it hit me, it was an action series, 24 episodes (broken into two seasons), plus I had been wanting to check it out for some time as well. So it was the perfect choice...

What made me want to pick this series up in the first place was that I heard it had gotten inspiration from Cowboy Bebop, and some folks even said it had somewhat of a CB-like flair to it. Upon hearing this, and loving Cowboy Bebop, I had to see it for myself. It turns out people where right, it may not be an exact carbon copy of the classic series, I was never expecting that, but it does have the same feel. Its like Cowboy Bebop in our present era reality without the kickass soundtrack, without the artistic look, and mostly focuses on the explosive action scenes, gunfights, and even decides to try and go its own way.

Other than the CB similarities, its still a great series. What I liked about it was how realistic the stories where (minus the badass main female lead going around and shooting everybody up), and many of the eps where short 2-3 ep mini arcs. Then, of course, the action scenes where awsome and very well done! One great example is the chase scene in ep 9 where the folks of the Black Lagoon company where trying to get away from the terminator maid. (Yes, a maid with unlimited weapons who's tough to beat, going around and shooting people, don't ya just love anime?) It was incredibly well-animated and it has got to be one of the best car cases i've ever seen in anime! (Perhaps i'm simply still just hyped after seeing this ep not too long ago?) I also find it amusing that here I was just commenting on how realistic this series was, then here I go talking about the terminator maid (don't worry she's not a robot, she's human, an ex-soldier to be exact,, but she sure is alot like the terminator). Ah well, this series still has a pretty realistic feel to it.

Another interesting factor is that the whole series has a very American feel to it. Like an action Hollywood film in animated form. Complete with numerous references to American associated events, people, places, etc. In one episode, one of the characters pulled out a pack of American named-brand cigarettes (it was "Natural American Spirit" don't remember if it actually read that in the series.....and no I don't smoke, but my parents do and they drag me along when they buy their cigarettes, so I know this brand is real because I saw it). It was quite nice watching a series like this, because I felt very at home watching it. Which is a nice change from all these series that usually take place in Japan and/or have characters with a very (or somewhat) Japanese-like lifestyle. The opening is also in "Engrish" as well. Its pretty damn cool and addictive, despite the fact that the singer barely knows any English yet she's trying to sing in English. The awsome techno beat and great images makes up for that.

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being highest) Black Lagoon wins me over with a 9 for its action awesomeness. Its not a masterpiece like Cowboy Bebop, but I definitely enjoyed watching it. Madhouse did an excellent job with this one, and they still have yet to disappoint me (okay, so the storylines in the Battle Angel Alita OVA and X movie sucked, but the animation was kick ass in both, plus they're both older anime so you can't expect too much).

As i'm typing this, I have only seen the first season and I have just now started watching the 2nd season. Perhaps I will type up my thoughts on it later after I view it.....

Thoughts on: Shigofumi

I walked into this series hoping to find a similar air of mystery much like what xxxHolic had (one of the reasons why I like that series so much). Disappointingly, I felt only the first two episodes had that feel I was hoping for. Even though this series didn't turn out what I was expecting, I still enjoyed watching it.

Basically in a nutshell, Shigofumi is based on a series of light novels. It is about a mail carrier named Fumika who delivers letters to people from people who had died. When the series starts off, its very episodic. Usually the episode goes we see somebody and eventually Fumika delivers a letter to this random somebody. Of course, its not that basic, honest. That somebody has a story to tell, and some of those stories happen to be more interesting than others. Some of these stories made me stop and think for a moment. As the series progresses we learn more about Fumika, like who she is, where she comes from. Who has a very unusual back story (as well as parents who are insane).

I really liked how this series was written, they even managed to throw in a few surprises as well. Not the best series I have ever seen, nor do I plan to watch it again anytime soon, but it is definitely worth a viewing, at least once. It reminds us just how fragile we are and that everything can change in one moment. The only thing that I really hated about this series was the opening, it’s a song by Ali Project. Its not very often I find a music artist who can truly get on my nerves, and Ali Project is one of them. There’s just something about the sound of their music that just rubs me the wrong way. Well, I will admit though, I did like the opening song they did for Noir, it’s the only song by them that I have heard I have actually somewhat liked so far.

Overall, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being highest) Shigofumi has impressed me enough to give it a 9. If you haven’t seen it yet and you're the type of person who likes a dark series with a mystery behind it, check this series out.

I want to say more about this series, but there's just some series where I feel like saying a lot while others I’m just at a loss for words to express my thoughts on it.

(And yes, I couldn’t resist adding the quote to the pic above...)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thoughts on: Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai (aka Munto TV)

Well, KyoAnimation has done it again. Instead of giving people what they really want (Haruhi Suzumiya season 2) they decide to tackle a different project, but this time they got downright lazy. This time they decided to continue their OVA series they started years back, Munto, or as they really call it.....(er, do I really have to retype that ridiculously long title?)

What I liked about this series was that KyoAnimation decided to try their hand at something original this time, instead of visual novels, novels and 4 panel comics. I also decided to check it out after seeing the first OVA, and I really enjoyed watching it. However, after viewing this series, it had some major problems.

The first being (and why I say they where lazy this time) is the fact that they recycled the first 2 OVAs they made back in 2003/2005. That's right, the first 3 eps where the first OVA, then eps 4-6 where supposedly the 2nd one. And instead of a third OVA, they decide to turn it into an actual TV series. Boy, talk about lazy. As a result, the animation style changes 3 times throughout the series. I saw the first OVA about a month ago, so I skipped the first 3 eps (I really didn’t want to watch it again with it still being fresh in my head). So I can’t say what exact changes where made between the original the first eps of this series. Although, I heard some scenes where added and that they enhanced some of the special effects (and got new voice talent too, and redubbed it). I even found a actual comparison someone had made between the two versions for the animation (be warned, the folks at this site like to post hentai material).
>>See it here<<

I also think that reusing the OVAs was a bad move on KyoAni’s part though...

The OVAs never really took the time to explain things properly, resulting in plot holes. By adding the exact same OVAs into this series, they carried over these plot holes. I think it would had been best if they just simply reanimated the OVAs, this way they could had fixed the problems with the storyline from the OVAs, and it would flow more smoothly instead of being a jarring mess like it was. Much of the time I felt like the animators where all like “Plot holes? What plot holes?...ooooo, look at the pretty animation we just drew in these new episodes! Look! Look!”

And yes, in terms of gorgeous animation (outside the fact that the OVAs they reused where dated) KyoAni delivered yet again. At the same time, those bastards pull another one of their lame marketing tricks and eps 10-12 is actually going to be a movie that they will be showing in theaters. Smooth move KyoAni, another way to milk money from your adoring fans I see...ah well, I still plan to watch it. Seeing how the series ended at an odd number of 9 eps and things still haven’t been resolved quite yet.

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being highest) I give it a 7. For that fact that its a series that looks pretty yet has a plot that's alot like swiss cheese. Overall, I really liked this series and its ideas, they had alot of potential. Yet I feel they totally blew it with the way the executed the story. I think this whole series was nothing more than a marketing move to make more money, because KyoAni knows that they can sell anything now at this point, as long as their name is attached to it....

Now with this series out of the way, will we be seeing another season of Haruhi now KyoAni? *poke*

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thoughts on: Slayers Evolution-R

Well, I just finished watching Evolution-R not too long ago, yet why do I have the incredible urge to punch somebody right now? Perhaps its because this “season” of Slayers annoyed me just as much as the second season of Tsubasa Chronicle did....Okay, maybe it wasn’t THAT bad (considering how the second season of Tsubasa was udder trash), but it was still pretty bad.

From what I was hearing around the net, both Revolution and Evolution-R where not in the original novels that the Slayers series was based on. Hell I heard even Try wasn’t in the novels and was invented for the anime. Even though these episodes where filler, there is a big difference between them. When they where still working on the first 3 Slayers series 10 years ago back in 1995-1997, the novels where still being published at the time. Supposedly the first 2 seasons are based on the first 8 novels. I don’t know the whole story, but I bet JC Staff made Try to allow Hajime Kanzaka time to finish the novels, or it was a marketing ploy to make additional episodes to make more money from the series, or perhaps both. Even though these episodes where filler, I thought they maintained the quality that made Slayers so great in the first place (plus, they had the same writing staff as the first 2 seasons). Now here it is 10 years later and they finally decide to give us more Slayers. Knowing Hollywood and their sequels they make many years later, and how the sequels are poorer in quality compared to the first film, I had low expectations for Slayers. I knew it would be impossible for these new seasons to be just as good as the first 3, but I had my hopes up that JC Staff would still be able to give us something decent to watch.

Revolution I thought was okay for the most part, I thought they managed to recapture the feel of the first Slayers series pretty well. The writing was still pretty shabby and had its flaws, but it was expected for a 10 year hiatus. Although, now i’m beginning to think that my hype for new Slayers episodes at the time made me overlook any possible flaws which would be like the ones I saw in Evolution-R. As for Evolution-R, what really irked me the most was the inconsistent writing. I don’t know if its because its been a while sense I saw the first 3 seasons of Slayers, but the writing in Evolution-R sucked. Characters seemed to act out of character sometimes, the original plot they thought of seemed awkwardly executed, there was times where things did not make sense at all, Naga from the Slayers movies showed up then just disappeared (and her soul had been transfered to a suit of armor *cough* Fullmetal Alchemist *cough*), and the ending was predictable and it made me want to take a hammer to someone’s head for their lack of creativity.The whole series started off okay, but it seemed like the more it continued the worse it got, and it did not help how some of the characters kept changing attitudes on a whim. And the ending to the whole mess...*face palm*

SPOILER FOR THE END OF EVOLUTION-R AHEAD (be warned, this ending pissed me off BIG time, and I’m still pissed about it right now...then again, this whole “season” bugged me, but the ending was the kicker)

***I mean seriously?!? Its obvious that if they would try to resurrect Rezo that that demon dude Shabranigdu (sp?) could come back to life. I realised that this would happen about little over half-way though the series. Then what irked me the most about the ending was the fact that Lina casted the Giga Slave spell AGAIN, so he could beat the guy AGAIN, just like in the first season. Like WTFASDFHGJKKGHFDDGHJGJHGJK!?!?!??! Are the writers really that UNCREATIVE!?!?! Christ!!!! Instead of all these stupid, poorly written episodes with this S**** of an ending, why couldn’t they give us something that was in the novels!! I mean, THERE ARE STILL 7 NOVELS THAT CAN BE ADAPTED INTO ANIME FORM FOR GOD SAKE!!! SO STOP GIVING US S*** LIKE THIS JC STAFF AND GET ON WITH IT!!! AND YOU BETTER DO THE SAME GOD-DAMM THING FOR ZERO NO TSUKAIMA WHILE YOU'RE AT IT! THAT SERIES HAS GONE DOWN THE TUBE TOO THANKS TO YOU!!!!***

Sorry, had to unleash my rage there...I’m still pretty peeved about that ending. As stated, I was expecting “bad” with these new episodes of Slayers, and that's what I got. I’ll give JC Staff another shot though, perhaps the whole point of Revolution/Evolution-R was to get people into Slayers again before they get back into the actual novel material, which I really hope that was the case here. If they don’t and they decide to give us more money-making garbage like Revolution/Evolution-R i’m going to mail them a bomb as my expression on how they have officially killed such a great classic anime series with their love for profit.....

Overal, 1-10 (10 being highest) Slayers Evolution-R at the moment deserves a 4 just for pissing me off.
And Slayers Revolution, because its the first half of this "season" and because i'm pissed off still, I will doc points from it. So instead of a 7, it deserves a 5 just for being part of the crap-fest

Monday, April 13, 2009

Manga Update 4-13-09: Fullmetal Alchemist and D.Gray-man

WARNING: The following post contains possible spoilers for the recent chapters of FMA and DGM, you have been warned.

Thoughts on Fullmetal Alchemist chapters 93-94: God damn! Arakawa, you never fail to amaze me with the way you know how to tell a story! Sadly, it definitely feels like the series is drawing to a close, so I better enjoy it while I can. Especially if its been announced that the manga for FMA will be ending around 100 chapters. There's a few things I would love to comment on, however, I’m just gonna focus on the highlight of these chapters: Roy VS Envy. So now Roy knows Envy was the one who killed Hughes, and boy oh boy, Roy is not holding back one bit. He was totally kicking Envy’s ass! Its about damn time Envy got a good beating, he deserved it after all he as done. But then just right before Roy could finish him off, Ed and Scar appear and stop him because they think his act of vengeance had gone too far. As great as it was seeing Roy beat the tar out of Envy, Roy was getting a bit carried away there with his moment of revenge. I’m curious to see what will happen next, sadly i’ll have to wait for a whole month to find out....along whith everything else thats happening....*sigh*

One final thing before I move on, mind if I quote this rather humorous line from one moment from chap 94? When the military folks in Central where fighting against the guys from Mt. Briggs...

Officer- “It's not like they have tank!” *tank appears* “They even brought a -ARGH!!” *bam!*

Just brilliant! XDDD

Thoughts on D.Gray-man chapters 179-184: Its great to see Katsura Hoshino out of the hospital and getting back to working on DGM again. I would have read these newer chapters sooner but I got distracted by Captain Tylor, ToraDora, One Piece and my hype over the new FMA anime. (Which is a good thing, because it allowed chapters to build up, and I like reading multiple chapters at once.) Now that I have, I shall comment. =D
To start on, I still can’t get used to this new art style that Katsura is using, I really miss the old look of the art. It just feels awkward and the panels feel oddly placed. It doesn’t help the fact that I haven’t read DGM sense Nov, so there was a few times where I found myself sitting there scratching my head trying to figure out what was happening. I would also complain about how the series seems to have taken a dive story-wise, but thankfully it looks like its starting to get back on track. I say this because after the Noah’s Ark arc and the appearance of the first level 4 Akuma, the writing just didn’t seem as good. Sure the arc where everyone at the Black Order turned into zombies was funny as hell, but after the epic-ness that happened before it, its just pale in comparison. Thankfully, as stated, as of chapters 183 and 184, it feels like the story is starting to pick up again. Its also about damn time we get more development on Allen being the 14th Noah (I was wondering when the story was going to get back to that) There was even one moment when Allen woke up and he actually looked like the 14th! This isn’t a good sign, it looks like Allen is turning into the Noah (just as I thought would happen many chapters ago). The plot thickens.... *dun dun DUN!* (lots of other stuff happened too, but like FMA, I only covered the main highlight of the chapters)

Man I would love to say more, but I decided to only make this just a quick, fly-by post (there's other stuff I want to do right now at this moment). I’ll try and comment more next time...

Oh and, coming soon: a post on my thoughts on the new FMA anime so far! ^^

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


New preview for the new Fullmetal Alchemist anime is out!!! 5 more days before it airs folks, ONLY 5 MORE FIGGIN DAYS!!!! *insert fangirl excitement here*

EDIT: More awsomeness, it looks like YUI will be doing the opening, this makes me happy. I love YUI! <3