Guaporense and Zotis Review Animation

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Darkside Blues (1994)

Directed by Nobuyasu Furukawa and Yoshimichi Furukawa
Written by Mayori Sekijima


I forgot about this anime for a long time. I remembered it only vaguely and could not find it. When I was looking for recs for you, Guap, I came across it again, thankfully. It's been years since I watched it, so I wasn't sure how my old impression would hold up now that I understand a little more about the technical side of the medium. It does hold up, very well. The animation quality is excellent, and it's a great story. In the future an evil corporation owns most of the Earth, but Kabuki-cho, A.K.A. The Darkside of Tokyo, still remains free. Terrorists try to overthrow the corporation, and getting mixed up in the conflict is a small gang of resistance fighters called Messiah who are lead by a beautiful young woman named Mai. A mysterious stranger from a realm of darkness calls himself Darkside and protects the town of Kabuki-cho.


It's a really beautiful movie with great atmosphere, excellent music, and strong emotional scenes. The characters are deep and interesting. I consider this an essential anime. This anime should not be obscure, but sadly even most of the die hard anime buffs have not heard of it. It's up there in terms of quality with works like Vampire Hunter D and Appleseed.






"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



After all the OVA's I've watched, and how superior they are to mainstream series, I just scoff at people who "watch more anime" than me because they really don't know jack squat about good anime.

Like when we had the animation MoFo list, and some people were saying they watch a decent amount of anime. They have no idea...
Very few Westerners have any idea of how big of a culture Manga and it's cinema offshoot, anime are. As I explained above,the number of pages of Manga sales in Japan are larger than book sales in the US, even though Japan's population is 40% of the US's: There are many hundreds of thousands of mangas and hundreds of thousands of manga artists, there is more manga to read than live action films produced in the whole world.

The impact of manga on Japanese culture has been compared often to the impact of popular music on Western culture (i.e. Jazz, Blues, Rock, Pop, Metal and Hip Hop), like popular music it's a huge world that's dominated by young people and consists of stuff that's usually more aggressive, visceral and less "elegant" than classical art (i.e. Beethoven and Tolstoi) but has more appeal to the average person.

Anime is smaller than manga but still pretty big. For instance, in terms of shows of cute girls doing random cute things (like K-On! and Azumanga Daioh) these are produced in Japan at the rate of 20 seasons per year.

The canon of essential anime includes a similar number of titles than the canon of essential Hollywood movies (about 100 titles each) and since these titles are OVA's and series for the most part it takes a longer time to watch all of them than the canon of Hollywood: In number of hours, Japan produces 6 times more animation per year than the US produces in terms of Hollywood movies.

Anime is also about 6-7 times bigger than Western animation, it's a huge medium that most westerners are not really aware off.





71) Reason for watching: It's the sequel to M.D. Geist also said to be ultraviolent and ultraviolent animation is always great.

Review: This is a good example of extremely violent animation. That's a good description of it. The plot is pretty confusing, in my opinion, but overall it still is pretty standard plot which follows the 1st movie story: the world has now been completely f*cked up by Geist's decision to release the "hounds" over the Earth and only a tiny portion of humanity still resists extermination.
WARNING: "\" spoilers below
Geist doesn't waste time and by the end of the movie manages to kill those renmants.
Geist is a complete anti-hero and the movie's "villain" if there is one is also the protagonist. I like that: a movie where the villain wins and kill everybody is interesting. At least I had never seem animation quite like that before this and Genocyber.

The art and animation are excellent IMO, very good stuff to watch. Better than the 1986 first movie (for obvious reasons), this was made in 1996 and now it was made digitally, which means that it's colors lost their "organic" feel from being hand painted but the animation became more fluid and detailed, although the changes made to Geist's power armor made it look a bit silly with those wings and stuff.

Overall worthwhile but not for people who are not fans of superviolent anime, since that's what this is and nothing more.



Well I'm not sure if I watched the English dub for M.D. Geist II, and if that's what ruined it for me, but I also thought the plot was really stupid and it wasn't well drawn or animated. There is a lot of stills with the camera panning instead of actual motion. I got the impression that someone was cashing out on the success of the first one (due to it's cult following). I was so appauled by M.D. Geist II that I couldn't even get through the whole thing and turned it off half way. I may have to take another look at it (and be sure to watch the Japanese version), but my impression was that it was not worth watching.



I don't think it's worth watching 2 times though. Its way weaker than the 1st one, I liked it mostly because of its exceptional level of violence.



72) Is the Order a Rabbit?



Why I watched it: As a big fan of the CGDCTs genre I couldn't leave this title unwatched.

Review: Now, this is the stuff. Hardcore slice of cuteness delivered intravenously. Its said that there exists two eras of animation: the era of the 1980's and 1990's of hyperviolent stuff and the 2000's and 2010's era of cutesy stuff. Of course, these are gross generalizations because only 7% of the animation that Japan produced over the past 5 years is CGDCTs and it's hard to find OVAs from the 1980's and 1990's as violent as Genocyber.

The sort of stuff you find in here can be found in and also was first published in Manga Time Kirara and it's spin-offs, this in fact was first published in Kirara Max spin-off magazine. Basically the "cute girls doing cute things" manga magazines. Although K-On!! Was published elsewhere.

This is pretty much the most hardcore cute girls doing cute things (CGDCTs) animation I ever experienced. It consists of three basic building blocks:

1- Girls: about 99% of all characters in it are girls. The only male character with substantial screentime is the white rabbit.

2 - They are cute. Really deformed to maximize all cuteness you can conceive of extracting from such character designs:


The whole environment they are also maximizes cuteness, with the cutest looking city and buildings as well as cute clothes and of course, the reason I watch the animation, cutest voice acting.

3 - They do random cute things.


Plot? None.

Character development? Almost none, at least explicitly. Of course we know and learn the characters personalities from the way they act as their personalities are very distinct if not a bit cliche: there is the small cutest girl, there is the big one, strong and with big bobs who likes weapons, the childish and airhead main character, etc.

This is the stuff. Cuteness pornography in its purest form.



The sypnopsis of Is the order a Rabbit? Is pretty indicative of its contents:

"Kokoa Hoto just moved to town to start a new life at a new school. While looking for the boarding house where she is supposed to live and work, she stumbles across a cafe called Rabbit House. She's excited, imagining it's filled to the brim with rabbits that she can cuddle. Instead she finds out that it is a very ordinary coffee house with only one rabbit named Tippy, who doesn't even always act or sound like a rabbit should, and a quiet girl named Chino Kafuu. Kokoa learns that Rabbit House is actually the boarding house she was looking for. She is to be their new waitress. Now Kokoa must balance school and work life while also learning all about things like customer service, coffee art and much more from her new friends. As Chino's father says, things are going to get very lively in Rabbit House!"

Also, its categorized as a comedy but actually it has almost no jokes.

Well I'm not sure if I watched the English dub for M.D. Geist II, and if that's what ruined it for me, but I also thought the plot was really stupid and it wasn't well drawn or animated. There is a lot of stills with the camera panning instead of actual motion. I got the impression that someone was cashing out on the success of the first one (due to it's cult following). I was so appauled by M.D. Geist II that I couldn't even get through the whole thing and turned it off half way. I may have to take another look at it (and be sure to watch the Japanese version), but my impression was that it was not worth watching.
Also, I would add that I first watched this back in 1997 when I was like 8-9 years old, so that now it feels nostalgic, its like the nostalgia of watching Star Wars 7.



73) Paranoia Agent (2004)



Why I watched it: Well, I wanted to finish the Satoshi Kon filmography and also I wanted to watch the stuff in the top 80 anime list I computed from 49 top anime lists from several blogs, this was there.

Review: Satoshi Kon, the most overrated animation director of all time. Why? Well, his work is not specially impressive, just your standard westernized psychological stuff, the stuff that Westerners like more than the Japanese (in Japan, Kon's work is not as relatively popular as in the West, he is not regarded as one of the major animation directors in Japan).

Overall, though, its not a bad series. However, I couldn't feel like something was missing. It lacked anything exciting, instead it was boring and felt too cliche, just too close to mainstream culture instead of being something that explores the artistic possibilities of animation.

Still, its well directed, animated and acted, I didn't like the character designs, they are too close to live action go exploit the artistic possibilities of animation. However, Satoshi Kon disliked otaku style art, such as the art in manga like Is this Order a Rabbit?, instead favoring a more realitistic style, which I would have found more interesting 4 years ago rather than now. I think that now my tastes converged more and more to proper otaku tastes (hyper violence and hyper cuteness) rather than the tastes of a Western live action movie fan who is the target audience for Satoshi Kon. And Kon explicitly criticizes my beloved Japanese lolicon manga culture in that series.



I watched the first episode of Paranoid Agent some years ago, and it did not appeal to me at all. I found it really boring, and so I didn't watch any more. I also found Millennium Actress boring, a bit of a second attempt at producing what he did with Perfect Blue. In my opinion Perfect Blue is the only time he really achieved true greatness. Perfect Blue is his masterpiece. Paprika was a very good movie too, but it didn't have as strong a narrative or characters as sympathetic and real. I have watched Perfect Blue about 15 times. I still have not watched Tokyo Godfathers though. Kon also wrote the segment "Magnetic Rose" from Memories which is a great piece.

If all of his work was of the level that Perfect Blue was, then I think he would be one of the greatest film makers of all time. But reflecting on his work overall I think you're right Guap, that he is not as great a film maker as Miyazaki.



I watched the first episode of Paranoid Agent some years ago, and it did not appeal to me at all. I found it really boring, and so I didn't watch any more. I also found Millennium Actress boring, a bit of a second attempt at producing what he did with Perfect Blue. In my opinion Perfect Blue is the only time he really achieved true greatness. Perfect Blue is his masterpiece. Paprika was a very good movie too, but it didn't have as strong a narrative or characters as sympathetic and real. I have watched Perfect Blue about 15 times. I still have not watched Tokyo Godfathers though. Kon also wrote the segment "Magnetic Rose" from Memories which is a great piece.

If all of his work was of the level that Perfect Blue was, then I think he would be one of the greatest film makers of all time. But reflecting on his work overall I think you're right Guap, that he is not as great a film maker as Miyazaki.
I would put him in my top 20 animation director but not top 10. Miyazaki is top 1.



Where would you rate Mamoru Oshii and Masaaki Yuasa? Actually, could you post your top 20 animation directors?

I would also put Rene Laloux very high up there.



My top animation directors:

1st - Hayao Miyazaki
2nd - Hideaki Anno
3rd - Isao Takahata
4th - Masaki Yuasa
5th - Mamoru Oshii
6th - Tsutomu Mizushima
7th - Akiyuki Shimbo
8th - Ryutaro Takamura
9th - Yutaka Izubuchi
10th - Nobuhiro Ishiguro
11th - Kunihiko Ikuhara
12h - Makoto Shinkai
13th - Junichi Satou
14th - Seiji Mizushima
15th - Koichi Ohata
16th - Junichi Satou
17th - Mamoru Hosoda
18th - Yoshifumi Kondo
19th - Naoko Yamada
20th - Hiroshi Hamasaki

Satoshi Kon ain't in top 20. Neither is any Western animation director, because I find that Western animation lacks the aesthetic edge to achieve the potential of the medium.

I didn't put Haibane Renmei's director there because the main creative artist is Yo****oshi ABe, who is credited as character designer.



74) Symphogear GX (2015)



Reason for watching: I like the art style and I think the costumes are cute and really silly (which is a plus).

Review: These days its hard to find something truly entertaining. While Symphogear might be tremendously silly it is something that I found entertaining to watch. What is it about? Well, its about girls in ludicrous costumes fighting other girls with ludicrous attacks in a ludicrous fashion. Although I found the 3rd version of it to be significantly inferior to the first and second versions. The best was the 2nd season which was still pretty mediocre compared to other anime series. However, despite being pretty mediocre in its writing and animation I found myself quite entertained by it.

Also, this stuff is very musical. The whole thing consists of fight sequences with J-pop music inserted. I am finding myself enjoying it quite a bit, as j-pop is more melodic and emotional than Western pop music, although also being extremely silly sounding. But sillyness is part of the genre's charm. And some tracks were slightly heavy, reminding my a bit of Baby Metal.

Although the animation is pretty bland and the direction is nothing special. Well, obviously you shouldn't watch this erotic action show for its artistic qualities. It has lots of explosions and a pretty generic plot although I was disappointed with the villain which I found to be pretty unconvincing but yet they tried pretty hard to make her appear 3 dimensional.



I'm only familiar with a few of those directors off the top of my head. I'll have to get some to-watch goodies off their filmographies.



Some of my favorite work from each of my top 20:

1st - Hayao Miyazaki
(Nausicaa)

2nd - Hideaki Anno
(EVA)

3rd - Isao Takahata
(Grave of the Fireflies)

4th - Masaki Yuasa
(Ping Pong)

5th - Mamoru Oshii
(GitS)

6th - Tsutomu Mizushima


7th - Akiyuki Shimbo
(Madoka)

8th - Ryutaro Takamura
(Serial Experiments Lain)

9th - Yutaka Izubuchi


10th - Nobuhiro Ishiguro


11th - Kunihiko Ikuhara
(Yuri Kuma Arashi)

12h - Makoto Shinkai
(5 Centimeters per Second)

13th - Junichi Satou


14th - Seiji Mizushima
(Full Metal Alchemist)

15th - Koichi Ohata
(Genocyber)

16th - Hiroyuki Imaishi


17th - Mamoru Hosoda
(Summer Wars)

18th - Yoshifumi Kondo
(Whisper of the Heart)

19th - Naoko Yamada
(K-On!)

20th - Hiroshi Hamasaki



Appleseed (1988)

Written and directed by Kazuyoshi Katayama
Based on the manga by Masanori Ota (A.K.A. Masamune Shirow)


I like this a lot more than the newer movies. I have seen the 2004 movie, which is decent, but I wasn't a fan of the computer animation style. It made the characters seem a bit clunky and stiff in their movement. I've also seen Appleseed Ex Machina and I thought the plot for that was really lame although the computer animation was much better and there was an incredible amount of detail in the animation. The 1988 OVA had much more appeal to me in it's plot and animation. The characters are charming and it was an essential classic from the era.