Rate the last anime you watched out of 10

Aaron

Combat Butler
I watched all of Elfen Lied (plus the OVA).

This was another one that took me a very long time (about 14 years) to finish off. I owned the first few volumes of the original ADV release, but I found it too depressing (and TBH, the violence made me feel uncomfortable) and gave up on it. I saw the BD cheap fairly recently and decided to give it another go.

Overall - I liked it. It is a depressing series and I still found the violence/gore unpleasant, but the main storyline is interesting. The ending wasn't very good, but the rest of the story kept me interested. Aside from the violence, there's also some other pretty heavy stuff (especially in the flashbacks).

Every now and again, the series forgets what it's supposed to be and throws in some lighthearted harem-type scenes. These are generally quite sweet and contrast nicely to people getting sliced up.

The character design is pretty repulsive to me - most characters have got those weird downturned eyes, like in Clannad and Muv Luv. I read it's supposed to make you feel sympathy for the characters, but I always think they look gross.

Kohta (the main male character) was awful , but most of the other characters were decent. My favourite was probably Nana, but aside from Kohta, no one was really too bad. There was also some guy who was supposed to be some kind of elite assassin, but was completely useless, on a Team Rocket level.

The sound was messed up on the BD release, meaning the dub track is badly muffled and just sounds weird. I had to watch it with subs, which isn't my usual choice, but I didn't mind too much.

The OP is some maudlin choir-type stuff, but I absolutely loved the song on the ED. It sounds almost exactly like So Yesterday by Hilary Duff and really contrasts with the OP (much like how Lucy contrasts with Nyu).

Pretty depressing, a bit too gratuitous (with violence and nudity) and heavy in parts, but an interesting show - 7/10
 

Girls wIth Guns

Pokémon Master
From Up on Poppy Hill

WOW. I've had this BD hanging around for ages, but I was never really in a rush to watch it. I'm not really interested in romance and the description of this made it sound like that was the main focus.

There's an element of romance in there, but it's not overwhelming. For most of the movie, a lot of the focus is given to the potential demolition of a dilapidated building - this sounds like it should be a boring story, but I was really interested and invested in it.

The relationships between the characters almost take a back seat to the trials and tribulations of the battered old clubhouse and I'm glad. There's some light teenage romance stuff, some family drama, some sadness, all the stuff I expected - it's all very gentle and enjoyable.

There are plenty of quirky and fun side characters - my favourite was probably Sachiko (who I just found out was voiced by Aubrey Plaza in the dub, which was a perfect bit of casting).

Obviously, it looks amazing, because it's a Ghibli movie. Boats, towns, THE CLUBHOUSE, everything looks incredible. The soundtrack is lovely too (including some nice songs).

I really, really enjoyed it. It was a sweet, relaxed story with excellent visuals and sound. 9/10

The romance in Poppy Hill is the reason why I have it ranked in my top 5 favorite Ghibli movies, after Marnie, Nausicaa, Mononke, and Howls. For me, the best part of the entire movie is in the very last scene where they are all on the tugboat and his step-dad winks at him like "Go for it, Dude!"


[/QUOTE]
This is an unfashionable view, but I actually like Tales from Earthsea and don't really understand why it gets so much stick. (I do know it's regarded as a poor adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin's novels, but I've never read them and have no plans to; I'm judging the film purely as an animated film, and not even necessarily as a Ghibli one. I don't care at all for the snobbery that sometimes surrounds their films.)

This is an even more unpopular view, but I like Earthsea more than either Princess Mononoke, Laputa or Nausicaa.

I hope Earthsea does something for you third time around, dude. And look out for singer Aoi Teshima again: Poppy Hill was her second Ghibli film after Earthsea. She also voices female lead Therru if you're watching in Japanese.

I also really like Earthsea, it is about #11 in my favorite Ghilbli films list, well above Kiki's, Spirited Away, Totoro, and Ponyo, all which rank fairly low on the list for me. I have never read the novels, either. Earthsea was a huge favorite of both my daughters when they were younger and really into Ghibli stuff. Also, Earthsea has my favorite "Ghibli Princess" in it - I so love Therru!
 

WMD

Death Scythe
Genius Party and Genius Party Beyond

As @Neil.T wanted to hear my thoughts on this figured I'd give a slightly longer write up than I would've done in the your journal thread.

Basically I watched both back to back so this is still a fresh first impression of all if it. Overall I really enjoyed them. They're a pretty quirky bunch of short films and I'd be hard pressed to say theres any unifying theme other than maybe celebrating life and the myriad if journeys through it.

Genius Party is a cracking introduction. An eclectic music video with a mad narrative of living stones that can see the beauty in the world and then it all goes mental.

Shanghai Dragon was a fun sci fi romp but the weird and unnecessary exposition at the end kinda ruined the magic of it.

Deathtic 4 Now this one I really enjoyed! It had a Nightmare before Christmas aesthetic that I really enjoyed and the story of a group of underdog hero zombies trying to preserve this one living creature was really charming and it had some good humour too.

Doorbell had a interesting premise of a character who keeps encountering other versions of himself. Definitely put me in mind of the Lain simulwatch were currently doing. I also really liked the twist that the version we are following isnt the original but that he is now also chased by new versions of himself. As a metaphor for adolescence and growing up into who we become it's pretty cool.

Limit Cycle was the most cerebral entry and as I much as I loved it I can't say I followed it all properly on this first watch. I will definitely have to watch it again to digest it all. Also this only being subtitled made it really hard for me to keep up and try to enjoy the animation properly. I realise this is the one Neil most wanted my thoughts on so I think I'll rewatch this one again in a couple of days and then come back to assess it properly.

Happy Machine was a really interesting entry of a baby alone in a strange world of creatures who goes through many of lifes hurdles of trust, betrayal, grief, friendship. It's also Yuasa so it looks amazing in his style.

Baby Blue is a more slice of life entry about the anxiety of having to let go of the past and move ahead into a new future. It's interesting that this first collection ends with the saddest story but it still gives a glimmer of light and hope in the darkness to end on.

Gala was a really fun short and quite frankly would be one of the better candidates here to be developed into it's own feature length film. The way the story plays with scale is amazing and it's a pretty stunning watch.

Moondrive feels like a bit on an anomaly here. Its dirty and pretty much every character is a baddie or at least very selfish. The woman of the group is also treated pretty horrifically by everyone. The journey is fascinating to watch though and the animation is great.

Wanwa The Doggie is a crazed fever dream of a small child. Enthralling, confusing, scary, hopeful all at once. It was probably the least engaging story of the collection for me.

Toujin Kit was right up my street. A weird steam punk world where a silent protagonist illeagally brings plushies to life with some sort of alien lifeform and gets raided by the government. Sign me up for the full series of this!

Dimension Bomb is a breathtaking spectacle to end on. There are some shots in this worthy of Shinkai. It's mostly to dark electro music and the narrative gets so wrapped in visual metaphor you're not quite sure what is happening but it was so glorious and wonderful to watch all the same.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Limit Cycle
. . .
I realise this is the one Neil most wanted my thoughts on
Oh not at all, dude. I really wanted to hear your thoughts on the whole thing! 😀

That was a great read. I'm watching Paprika right at this moment for the simulwatch, but I'll read your post over again tonight and then bounce some opinion back at you. Finally a fellow Genius Party viewer to chew things over with a wee bit. Exciting stuff! 😁

Have you got the CE or the standard of it, btw?
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Nice one. Same here. Got it in the AL Xmas sale one year. Was it an EB pre-order? It might've been. 🤔
I forget now.

I havent really looked at the book yet but I'll hopefully get to that in the coming days.
It's a chunky book, dude! You'll be a while on that. I read mine a few years ago now, over days off during the festive period.

Nice I'll hopefully watch that tomorrow night.
Just finished it. Amazing film. Seen it so many times.

I'll attempt a post for it. 'Tis my favourite Satoshi Kon film after all.
 

ActionFaust

Death Scythe
Genius Party and Genius Party Beyond
While I never really got on with the Genius Party films I think the concept of anthology movies/series is pretty awesome. Would love to see a similar project with newer directors like:
Naoya Wada (Japan Sinks 2020 episode 1)
Toshiro Fujii (18if episode 3)
Nakaya Onsen (Fate/GO: Babylonia episode 18)
Yuzuru Tachikawa (Mob Psycho 100)
Kiyotaka Oshiyama (Flip Flappers)

Heck maybe even Hakuyu Go (Mob Psycho 100 II episode 5) if he feels comfortable returning to the industry
 
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Aaron

Combat Butler
I continued neglecting all those part-/never-watched series I've amassed over the last 20 years and watched a series I only bought on BD fairly recently - Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (2012).

If 1980s WWF was an anime, this would be it. Ludicrously muscular men ranting and raving about how tough they are, before slapping each other around and doing weird poses, while some questionable ethnic stereotypes look on (and a guy in a big hat does commentary).

It was a wonderful series (but probably not quite as bizarre as I was expecting). It's got a distinctive visual style, with some shots looking really weird. The story is interesting too. It covers two parts - Phantom Blood (which I'd already read ages ago) and Battle Tendency(which I've only partially read).

Phantom Blood was the better half for me. The first Jojo is a very likeable protagonist and Dio is an excellent villain. Speedwagon is great too - all he really does is look startled and give running updates on what's happening. The story is mostly serious, with a few sad parts. There were a few unintentionally funny bits, mostly thanks to the great Speedwagon.

Battle Tendency was still good - I just preferred PB. The second Jojo is a bit of a dick TBH and the enemies/supporting cast aren't as interesting as PB's, but the story is a bit more varied in BT. There are a few bits of what I think were intentional comedy (a couple of scenes involving animals towards the end of the series), which were...something. There are also some rubbish Nazis, who didn't really add anything other than silly German accents.

The dub is decent. I really don't know why US dubbing companies choose not to use actual British people to dub British characters. They could have got the guy who plays Phil Mitchell to be Jojo, but they went with Adam from Power Rangers. Big missed opportunity there.

It was a fun series overall. Very macho, very silly and very fairly bizarre - 8/10
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (2012).

If 1980s WWF was an anime, this would be it.
That is actually one of my favourite-ever quotes already! 🤣

The story is interesting too. It covers two parts - Phantom Blood (which I'd already read ages ago) and Battle Tendency(which I've only partially read).
I'm in pretty much the same boat as you, then, dude. I read (and enjoyed) Phantom Blood courtesy of my local library, would you believe, and I'd been reading Battle Tendency on publisher Shueisha's Manga Plus app, but I fell behind with it, and now I've missed several chapters. Oh, well.

I've never seen any of the anime. I can't help but think that manga is actually a better format for Jojo, because every panel can be a pose.

And it often is. Like...
Ha! You thought this was a spoiler, but it was me, Dio!


Sorry, I've just always wanted to try using that line. 😅
 

Aaron

Combat Butler
My reaction to @Neil.T's spoiler:

 

Onosume

Reviewer
AUKN Staff
Finished Gundam ZZ last night. The silly first half is pretty terrible and the Moon Moon stuff is just downright weird and turns the show into a bad knock off of Scooby Doo. There's definitely some good bits in there in the second half that do elevate it a bit for me and the final few episodes were back on form, but overall the series is a bit of a mess. Worst Gundam series I have seen so far. 5/10
 

Onosume

Reviewer
AUKN Staff
I cannot stand Kamille. On any level whatsoever.

Yeah that's fair. I think in general Gundam struggles with creating convincing lead protagonists. They're usually either stoic emotionless heroes or utter brats. While I found Judau's "adults suck" attitude tiresome after a while, I would say he's better than Kamille, who I felt was billed as "just another Amuro".
 

WMD

Death Scythe
Yeah that's fair. I think in general Gundam struggles with creating convincing lead protagonists. They're usually either stoic emotionless heroes or utter brats. While I found Judau's "adults suck" attitude tiresome after a while, I would say he's better than Kamille, who I felt was billed as "just another Amuro".

Indeed though I do like how their 3 stories thematically compliment each other. Amuro (the war generation) was bound by honour but lost their ability to let go. As such he knows who he is but is always brought back to the fight. And in the end consumed by it.

Kamille is the next generation, always looking upto the previous generation but unable to live up to their percieved heroics. He loses his identity in trying to prove something that doenst need to be proved.

Then Judau is the generation removed from war, who has no interest in it. He only fights for those he personally cares about and in the end is the only character able to leave the war and find a peaceful and happy life. Because he sees value in life, not in fighting and killing.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
@WMD:

Right. So. Genius Party... 😁

I dug out that issue of NEO magazine (issue #168) to read over the review again. It's by one of their longtime writers, Andrew Osmond. I usually enjoy reading him, including the piece he wrote for the booklet that came with AL's original CE of A Silent Voice, but I found some of the criticisms in his review here quite surprising. I'll drop in the odd quote here so you can read them for yourself.

For what it's worth, as I mentioned before I once had a go at ranking the Genius Party shorts in response to a review by @Cold Cobra.

Links are right there above, but here's a copy/paste of my list:

1. Dimension Bomb
2. Toujin Kit
3. Shanghai Dragon
4. Baby Blue
5. Doorbell
6. Moon Drive
7. Limit Cycle
8. Happy Machine
9. Genius Party
10. Deathtic 4
11. Gala
12. Wanwa the Doggy

I don't even agree with my own list anymore! I'd likely move 'Limit Cycle' up two or even three places now. Then I'd also maybe have 'Moon Drive' and 'Happy Machine' the other way around. Maybe.

Osmond cautioned in his NEO review that "Many readers will find two of the shorts unwatchable." Incredibly for me, these are apparently 'Limit Cycle' and 'Dimension Bomb'!

'Limit Cycle' is the first that Osmond was especially critical of. He wrote that it's "like the dense bits of Serial Experiments Lain turned up to 11 for 20 minutes. The visuals make more sense if you ignore the subtitles and play REM's 'Daysleeper'."

He says that first part like it's a bad thing. 😛


Coming off the back of that, he writes: "The equally plotless 'Dimension Bomb', by respected animator Koji Morimoto, is a deeply annoying troll of a film that could only make sense as a backing visual in a nightclub."

That absolutely baffles me, because I love 'Dimension Bomb'; it's my favourite out of all 12 shorts. I love the abstractness of the visuals, the darkness of them, and how they're set to the music. They even glitch up at a couple of points like the video's gone corrupt. I swear there's a bit of FLCL mixed in there, in the sequences where the human figure blows through streets and across various landscapes like a scrap of rubbish; it seems reminiscent of Naota being run over by Haruko on her Vespa in episode 1, but mixed with the scratchy line drawings of Hajime Ueda's manga incarnation.

'Dimension Bomb' shares several traits with the short film 'Beyond' that creator Koji Morimoto previously made as part of The Animatrix anthology, a spin-off project of The Matrix franchise. That short told the story of the discovery of an abandoned lot that had a bug in its coding leading to some broken physics that a bunch of neighborhood kids liked to mess around with.

A fun little fact about 'Dimension Bomb' is that the eccentric girl with the fish-shaped birthmark, Kuu, is voiced by musician and anime composer Yoko Kanno. She makes for a fun and quirky character.


I thought you were right on the money with 'Toujin Kit', WMD. It's my own second-favourite, and a quite close second at that. The silence and the greyness of it all, broken only by the liveliness of the plushies, is very compelling to watch. Osmond, too, praised it.


And you also enjoyed 'Deathtic 4', didn't you? Osmond was less enthused. He liked the gags but felt it was brought down by "charmless characters".

I've read the CE book, but I forget what the explanation was for the dialogue being in Swedish. 😅


AUKN's reviewer Cold Cobra rather liked 'Doorbell'. I did too, but Osmond branded it "soporifically low-key."

It's apparently directed by a manga artist with no previous animation experience. I had thought that the piece had an intentional 1990s retro aesthetic, but this is mentioned nowhere in the book.


One last notable Osmond criticism was for Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe's contribution. "Some serious animation fans may complain that 'Baby Blue' ... is too conservative and mainstream in its style", he wrote.

I concede that that could be argued when comparing it to his pair of Animatrix efforts, 'Kid's Story' and 'A Detective Story', but perhaps visual experimentation was simply not Watanabe's intent this time.


Osmond's opinion of the Dead Leaves-esque 'Moon Drive' was pretty similar to ours, though. He said that it "feels like a Hiroyuki Imaishi anime ... but has too little adrenaline to offset the meanness and pointlessness."


Bottom of the pile for both of us, by the looks of it, was 'Wanwa the Doggy' I've watched it twice, and... god, it's just a headache to me. 😅

Which is a shame, because it's the work of Shinya Ohira, whose name came up during the FLCL simulwatch:


There's no particular moral or anything to take away from any of this, I don't think, other than how obviously subjective it all is.

(And yes I put 'Gala' second from bottom on my list. 😬)
 

WMD

Death Scythe
I'll start this reply with an attempt at ranking them myself:
  1. Toujin Kit
  2. Dimension Bomb
  3. Deathtic 4
  4. Genius Party
  5. Happy Machine
  6. Gala
  7. Limit Cycle
  8. Moon Drive
  9. Baby Blue
  10. Doorbell
  11. Shanghai Dragon
  12. Wanwa the Doggy
Limit cycle could well move up that list once I give it a rewatch and can take it more. Honestly though Wanwa is the only one I'd cut if I had to. It was visually striking sure but didnt do anything for me. Sure Baby Blue and Doorbell drop down because they are SOL rather than something wacky but I still felt they hold real value in this collection and both had an interesting spin on the growing up metaphor.

Anyway now onto some reponses:
Osmond cautioned in his NEO review that "Many readers will find two of the shorts unwatchable." Incredibly for me, these are apparently 'Limit Cycle' and 'Dimension Bomb'!
That's insane.

'Limit Cycle' is the first that Osmond was especially critical of. He wrote that it's "like the dense bits of Serial Experiments Lain turned up to 11 for 20 minutes.
I mean that is literally why it's good and interesting.

Coming off the back of that, he writes: "The equally plotless 'Dimension Bomb', by respected animator Koji Morimoto, is a deeply annoying troll of a film that could only make sense as a backing visual in a nightclub."
To describe this as plotless entirely misses the point I feel. It was breathtaking to watch and part of the fun was trying to work out the plot under the layers of visual metaphor as it went along.

And you also enjoyed 'Deathtic 4', didn't you? Osmond was less enthused. He liked the gags but felt it was brought down by "charmless characters".
Sure they're lifeless slow zombies but to describe them as charmless is really harsh in my view.

One last notable Osmond criticism was for Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe's contribution. "Some serious animation fans may complain that 'Baby Blue' ... is too conservative and mainstream in its style", he wrote.
So Limit Cycle and Dimension Bomb are too out there but this one plays it too safe. Ok.

Osmond's opinion of the Dead Leaves-esque 'Moon Drive' was pretty similar to ours, though. He said that it "feels like a Hiroyuki Imaishi anime ... but has too little adrenaline to offset the meanness and pointlessness."
I mean I really enjoyed the aesthetic and the way the story was told. Not every story needs to go at 100mph. And in the end the group does get their comeuppance for their greed and general meanness. But I didnt enjoy the way the woman of the group was basically just an object and it was just left as that.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Ohh, interesting list, dude! 😁
I find myself thinking that I might have the title film 'Genius Party' too low down my list now. 🤔

Limit Cycle
I mean that is literally why it's good and interesting.
Yeah, I agree. I mean, I'm a fan of Serial Experiments Lain, so that's an easy sell for me. I'd honestly completely forgotten that the review had compared 'Limit Cycle' to Lain until I re-read it last night, actually, so it's quite telling that this short popped back into my mind during our simulwatch.

I know for a fact that I could never come up with such an unusual idea for an animation no matter how much time you gave me, and certainly wouldn't have the nous to make it into something that could hold a viewer's attention for 20 minutes, so hats off, I say. It's really stuck with me, both visually and in terms of the content.

Dimension Bomb
To describe this as plotless entirely misses the point
Again, I... couldn't agree more. "Plot" is not really the point of this one. Short animations are a rare opportunity to break free of constraints like the need for a story and wander into territory that wouldn't make for a feature film or a TV series — or perhaps even a single episode! (If you ever want to see a very pure example of that, try searching for 'Fumiko's Confession'. It's literally about two minutes long, and it's deliriously imaginative!)

I can honestly sit hypnotised watching 'Dimension Bomb', and have a grand time doing it.

Moon Drive
I mean I really enjoyed the aesthetic
So do I, actually, it's got this unusual look of being unfinished, like the production's still at the layout phase. That really catches my attention.

I do find myself agreeing with Osmond that it kind of falls into the cracks between being one thing or another, though. Perhaps the basic idea could be refined and redone more successfully with another try. This is something else I really like about short animation as a format: it can be used as a test bed for ideas. That was something that Japan Animator Expo did quite successfully, I think. It offered creators with an idea the chance to make a pilot episode of something that could be turned into a bigger production (like The Dragon Dentist), or to show a pitch of something that an animator would like to turn into a full series, showcasing the main ideas, like Eva mecha designer Ikuto Yamashita's 'Iconic Field'. (Full series WHEN??? And the same with Mahiro Maeda's 'Hammer Head'!!)

I didnt enjoy the way the woman of the group was basically just an object and it was just left as that.
I remember 'Moon Drive' being mean-spirited, but my memory seems to have discarded the reason why. That's not good. 😬


I notice that 'Shanghai Dragon' is at near opposite ends of our lists, dude. Again, I seem to have forgotten about the exposition part that you said spoiled it for you. 🤔


It's pretty surprising, isn't it, that the first three shorts don't have a lick of Japanese between them! 😆
The first is effectively a music video, the second is in Chinese, and the third's in Swedish!
 
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WMD

Death Scythe
"Plot" is not really the point of this one. Short animations are a rare opportunity to break free of constraints like the need for a story and wander into territory that wouldn't make for a feature film or a TV series
This is something else I really like about short animation as a format: it can be used as a test bed for ideas.
Indeed. Some stories dont need much time to be told. Sometimes it's fun to just do short experiments. That ultimately leads to innovation and new ideas.

There are several stories here that I'd be interested to see longer versions of:
  1. Toujin Kit - I cannot express enough how much I want to see a full length series develop this idea and world.
  2. Deathtic 4
  3. Gala
  4. Moon Drive
  5. Doorbell
Possibly Limit Cycle as well but that would almost certainly have to morph into something very different to work so may defeat the point.

Fumiko's Confession
Just found it on youtube. Haha that was something and very funny. A very good use of 3D modelling to send the camera flying through the world!

I notice that 'Shanghai Dragon' is at near opposite ends of our lists, dude. Again, I seem to have forgotten about the exposition part that you said spoiled it for you.
I certainly didnt dislike it. But I didnt especially like or empathise with the little kid who finds the pen. And it was more fun for me before they explain they were "looking for the imagination of children" and it all seemed a bit more random.

and the third's in Swedish
I honestly thought they'd made up a language for it like elvish in LOTR. 😅
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Just found it on youtube. Haha that was something and very funny. A very good use of 3D modelling to send the camera flying through the world!
It's fun, isn't it? 😆
I gave it 10 out of 10 on MAL, just because I can.

I honestly thought they'd made up a language for it like elvish in LOTR. 😅
I thought the same until I read in the CE book that it's Swedish. 😅
Maybe Elvish is based on Swedish as well.

Or on Sean Connery's pronunciation of "Elvis". 😛


I meant to ask you as well, dude: what did you make of the end credits of Genius Party (the first set of shorts)? I've read that the films that make up Beyond are the ones that didn't make the cut for the first installment, but that credits sequence seems to show glimpses of some additional animation unseen anywhere else. Could this be from something that didn't make it into either half? Perhaps something incomplete? It's not mentioned at all in the CE book.
 

WMD

Death Scythe
I meant to ask you as well, dude: what did you make of the end credits of Genius Party (the first set of shorts)?
I dont think I paid them that much attention to be honest. When I go back and rewatch Limit Cycle I'll have a proper watch of them.
 
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