Simulwatch - Gunsmith Cats/Riding Bean/Bubblegum Crisis/Crash/AD Police/Parasite Dolls [all complete]

HWR

CCG’s Reaper
AUKN Staff
Yeah AD Police is getting an SD BD from Rightstuf I believe and it isn’t too pricey either.
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
For the record, I've corrected my earlier post. I meant to say that Naoyuki Onda was also the character designer for Ergo Proxy, not Texhnolyze.

I was looking the latter up on MAL to check for any Onda involvement, but, of course, the designs for that show were the work of Yoshitoshi ABe (apparently his preferred romanisation), of Serial Experiments Lain and Haibane Renmei fame. I just plain forgot that fact.
 
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Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Parasite Dolls ep1 - Rozen Boomer

37EE88B6-2235-476B-8189-04431A481E7E.jpeg

Tea for everyone!

Whilst I don't think PD ever quite achieves that 'this one goes up to 11' feeling that the AD Police OVA did, it does bring some good ideas to the table and I think is generally a bit more sophisticated than I remember, even if it doesn't always manage to capitalise on that. Perhaps this shouldn't come as a complete surprise; the script is credited to Chiaki J. Konaka, one of the main writers on classic headscratcher Serial Experiments Lain. The reveal that 'thrill kill' VR divers are using the berserk boomers as avatars was a nice touch (somewhat predicting the later graphic novel Surrogates?), but I'm surprised that the series shies away from showing Bazz/Buzz's confrontation with his 'wife'.

Buzz’s ’no guns’ policy certainly makes him a refreshingly different kind of protagonist, given what the setting is like, but the unceremonious way he leaves his android in a heap on the floor doesn’t make him massively endearing. There’s no obvious sign of a struggle, but perhaps it's left to our interpretation whether she actually attacked him or whether he just deactivates her pre-emptively to 'put her out of her misery', assuming there was no possibility of a cure. My recollection of the show in general is pretty hazy - I'd forgotten that there was ever anything wrong with the house boomer, instead having it in mind that the final scene was supposed to be Buzz learning to face the fact that his wife is gone, and he can no longer pretend that this machine is her.

In any case, this episode definitely gets across the ‘boomers as a commodity’ element of the setting.
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Parasite Dolls ep2 - Don't Look Now

pd1.jpg

pd2.jpg

kek.

This was an interesting episode, but it feels like they've tried to squeeze a lot into a very short space of time and, for me, it didn't quite come together as satisfactorially as it could. In the end, I actually had to watch this one twice before I felt like I really got a handle on it (the first time, I missed Eve’s master/handler/pimp’s comment about her having someone else’s emotions copied into her), but even at that, I don’t think Eve’s demise at the end meant much to me. She has an almost vampiric arc that sees her apparently gaining humanity as she has more sexual encounters, and her visions of the little girl are creepy, but it doesn’t seem to add up anything that carries emotional weight

I do like the atmosphere of this one though. It has a strong giallo vibe (someone been watching Perfect Blue?), with the emphasis on dreaming and surreal fantasy elements that certainly allows for some striking visual moments - particularly the phallic snake monster emerging from the cat. It also struck me that Michaelson is the only one to show any reaction to the sight of the mangled boomer at the start. While it’s easy to say the AD Police OVA is voyeuristic, it does seem to find a sense of horror in its scenes of violent death. Parasite Dolls treats the destruction of a boomer as something jarringly matter of fact. There is a point being made being made here, I’m sure, but I’m not certain the series gains a lot by making us so complicit in leering at broken bodies, even artificial ones. Maybe my thoughts here are being coloured by something from the third episode.

Perhaps by virtue of having watched it through twice and having more time to scrutinise things, Genom sending this massively sophisticated cyber monster out to randomly kill android sex workers, in the hope of finding Eve seems like ridiculous overkill. With all their resources and influence, would it really be so hard for them to make her disappear?

I also kind of don't get what Michaelson and Angel see in Buzz, who now appears to be a low-key harem protagonist.
 
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Neil.T

Time-Traveller
Catching up on some bits and pieces again. 🙂

Parasite Dolls ep2 - Don't Look Now

pd1.jpg


pd2.jpg


kek.
More language-related observations from me here. In the Japanese dialogue, our man in the Prof's pictures is saying "Papetto Masutaa? Fuzaketa namae da na."

That verb, fuzakeru in its present tense, is typically used to accuse someone of messing around, or perhaps playing a prank. That line would therefore transliterate into something like "Puppet Master? It's a messing-around name, isn't it?"

Fittingly, take a look at this preceding screenshot:
IMG_20200201_132520571.jpg
The scrolling white text in the upper middle of the monitor begins:
"In years gone by, pranksters had to do things the hard way".

The second paragraph reads:
"Nowadays, however, all you need to dish out naughtiness is an email account, possibly a Web site and an unhealthy measure of sociopathic tendencies. Without question, the Internet is the medium du jour for wags."

And the third begins:
"Of course, not all hoaxes were created equal."

The parts that were readable off my TV screen are all in perfect English. I wonder where the text was culled from. 🤔


Moving on to Gunsmith Cats, I really can't add anything to what's already been covered in this thread, but as a motor sport enthusiast, I will point out one little detail from the opening sequence:
IMG_20200205_133037612.jpg
It's a technique used for downshifting while braking at the same time called "heel and toe". Although, in this case, it's more like "high heel and toe". 😅

And to end on...
Gunsmith Cats Ep 3

I'll also need to check and see if the Japanese version specifically namechecks The Terminator
Just for reference's sake, it does indeed — in the very same scene at the start of the episode when Roy is filling Rally and May in on the details on Radinov.
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Parasite Dolls ep3 - Let Us Not Go to Camelot.

Honestly, I’ve been putting this one off. It‘s not a complete disaster by any stretch, but I do think it’s a mess. It’s painfully obvious that this was supposed to be a longer series, and I think it suffers even more heavily than Crash did for the lack of time to develop everything properly. Barely anything that happens in this episode feels like it’s really been earned, it just feels like they’re desperately trying to get in as many of the ideas we’d have seen in the unrealised, completed version. We‘re still getting exposition dumps with important character details while the end of the entire series is mere minutes away, for goodness sake.

There’s also that thoroughly nasty rape scene near the start. It’s nowhere near as explicit as other OVAs we could mention, but Parasite Dolls seems to have ambitions to be a serious, relatively highbrow kind of thriller and, frankly, I think it deserves better than this cheap bit of oversexed Grand Guignol. It’s actually one of my clearest memories from the first time I saw the series, so maybe that’s the point.

The one character note here I think does kind of work, is that Michaelson now has the same ambivalence about seeing a mangled boomer that everyone else seems to. Saying that, I'm not sure how I feel about this in context. In the sonambulatory world of the show, it seems like Michaelson was a good reminder of how abnormal other people's reactions were - without that, perhaps something's been lost. Even Buzz gives up his no-kill policy in order to join in putting that last cap in the bad guy, following the final reminder that people created the boomers to be helpful, which might have landed a bit more heavily if we'd had time to become invested in Eve or Kimball.

On a more positive note, the production seems to have been kicked up a notch for this episode. I'll get into possible 'whys' later, but there's a level of visual polish present here that wasn't in the two previous instalments. In terms of its art design, Parasite Dolls picks up on that very noirish brand of cyberpunk that seemed to be popular between the late 90s and mid 2000s, presumably much escalated by the success of The Matrix, and this finale perhaps gives us some idea of what, ideally, the staff wanted the rest to look like, with its glowing street signs and deep, high contrast shadows. In terms of digital special effects, there is a slight feeling of them throwing everything they've got at it, to the point of execess, but mostly it works.

Something that's been in my mind the whole way through is that the character art has that kind of realistic, yet unflattering, appearance you see in a lot of things from that era (perhaps playing to the US market? It's definitely got an American graphic novel vibe). I can't help feeling it owes something to the work of Yasuomi Umetsu, who character designer Naoyuki Onda worked under on Megazone 23 Part II.

A veteran animator and occasional director who never quite became a household name, Umetsu was briefly back in fashion around this time. His realistically propotioned art and intense attention to mise en scene was a perfect fit for this wave of gloom-fi, seeing him helm the vaguely infamous Kite and Mezzo OVAs, but he's probably best known for the Presence segment of Robot Carnival 15 years earlier. A short about a man who creates an automaton in the form of a beautiful girl, only to destroy it when he becomes terrified of her, I find it hard not to feel that was one of the things the Parasite Dolls team had very much in mind when writing the series.

And so that's it then. Or is it? By complete chance, I happened upon this blog, which offers some very interesting speculation on the show's production. I'm not sure if any of what they're putting forward has ever been explicitly confirmed, but it the part about AIC running out of money, then the final OVA was only being produced due to the (moderate?) success of BGC 2040 in the US certainly seems plausible.

I am a little baffled by the authors closing comments though. Even if it's no longer flavour of the month, cyberpunk anime (and shows adjacent to it) continue to be produced, Bubblegum Crisis has never really disappeared from view and, in a world where Megazone 23 can be revived, I would not be at all surprised if we haven't heard the last of the Knight Sabers.
 

WMD

Stand User
So I just binge watched AD Police To Protect and Serve and figured I'd add my thoughts here.

First off its interesting to note where this show comes down on the Voomer/Boomer debate. Both are actually correct but mean different things. Voomers are what the robots are called out of the factory. If they go rogue, berserk or whatever then they get designated Boomers and the AD Police steps in to terminate them.

Anyway onto the show. Frankly the animation is a little simple, especially compared to other entries in the franchise, also the sound track is a little 70s/80s b movie. Having said that the one area this show absolutely shines is in its character breakdown and analysis.

This show is all about its 2 leads, Kenji and Hans. The show examines how memory builds our own self image, which then affects how we behave. This in turn determines how others perceive us. The show does a great job over its 12 episodes of pushing our characters sense of self.

What's interesting about this is that the show isn't really a crime procedural at all. There arnt even crimes to solve in the first 2 episodes. It's all about learning who our 2 leads are before the show breaks them down. The crimes they do solve, the allies they have, the antagonists they face and the overarching plot are all about examining the lead characters.

The show is very different to what I was expecting (and very different to other entries in the franchise). And quite frankly it's far from perfect. But underneath the cosmetic simplicity is a fair attempt at crafting an interesting and emotionally complex show.
 
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Neil.T

Time-Traveller
First off its interesting to note where this show comes down on the Voomer/Boomer debate. Both are actually correct but mean different things. Voomers are what the robots are called out of the factory. If they go rogue, berserk or whatever then they get designated Boomers and the AD Police steps in to terminate them.
Wow, how about that. It's funny, because before I first watched Bubblegum Crisis/Crash back when I did, that was the impression that I had: that there was a distinction between Voomers and Boomers. I presumably read it somewhere, but I've no idea by now where that was. 🤔
It's nice to finally know that I didn't imagine it or something. 😅

Was it the dub you watched, WMD? Is that distinction ingrained in the story, would you say, or is it something that was perhaps added for the dub? I'd be curious to know.
 
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WMD

Stand User
Wow, how about that. It's funny, because before I first watched Bubblegum Crisis/Crash back when I did, that was the impression that I had: that there was a distinction between Voomers and Boomers. I presumably read it somewhere, but I've no idea by now where that was. 🤔
It's nice to finally know that I didn't imagine it or something. 😅

Was it the dub you watched, WMD? Is that distinction ingrained in the story, would you say, or is it something that was perhaps added for the dub? I'd be curious to know.
Yeah it was the dub. So at the start of each episode before the OP song would start there was this piece of dialogue that would intro every episode a bit like the dialogue that would intro episodes of The A Team. This dialogue, setting up the world, would explain the difference between Voomers and Boomers. Whether it's been changed from the original I dont know. There aren't any mouth flaps to match so there isn't really a reason to change it.

If one was more correct I'd have to go with Voomers as during this sequence the word in English appears on screen and shows us it's actually an acronym for VOodoo Organic Metal Extension Resource which doesn't really make sense but there you have it. I dont remember Boomers ever being on screen in English but there definitely was a moment where some japanese text on screen was translated as Boomers in the signs subtitle.

The wikipedia page for the show also mentions the distinction for what it's worth.
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
it's actually an acronym for VOodoo Organic Metal Extension Resource
Yeah, it's a bad acronym, isn't it? 😅
I remember reading that one as well. (Again, not entirely sure where, because I don't think it's ever used in either Crisis or Crash. 🤔)

In any case, it took me all of a few minutes (with a wee bit of help) during breakfast to come up with something much better: Versatile Organically Operated Metallic Endoskeleton Robot.

How about it? 😀
 
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WMD

Stand User
Yeah, it's a bad acronym, isn't it? 😅
I remember reading that one as well. (Again, not entirely sure where, because I don't think it's ever used in either Crisis or Crash. 🤔)

In any case, it took me all of a few minutes (with a wee bit of help) during breakfast to come up with something much better: Versatile Organically Operated Metallic Endoskeleton Robot.

How about it? 😀
That's infinitely better and actually means something relevant!
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Another slightly random thought. That scene in Parasite Dolls with the newly alone Buzz playing the sax in his apartment seemed kind of familiar, but I couldn't quite place it. Maybe it's a stretch, but I was looking at shot composition in Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation the other day and I spotted this:



Same energy?
 

WMD

Stand User
Another slightly random thought. That scene in Parasite Dolls with the newly alone Buzz playing the sax in his apartment seemed kind of familiar, but I couldn't quite place it. Maybe it's a stretch, but I was looking at shot composition in Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation the other day and I spotted this:



Same energy?
I havent actually seen that film. Did the guy playing sax trash the room? That would be very similar to Buzz playing after destroying the Boomer maid.
 

HWR

CCG’s Reaper
AUKN Staff
Another slightly random thought. That scene in Parasite Dolls with the newly alone Buzz playing the sax in his apartment seemed kind of familiar, but I couldn't quite place it. Maybe it's a stretch, but I was looking at shot composition in Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation the other day and I spotted this:



Same energy?
Damn good film right there.
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Scan from a 1990 issue of Newtype with a print ad for AD Police File 2 - interestingly, it uses artwork of The Ripper that I've never seen elsewhere.

 
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