Monday, March 2, 2009

of Sketchbook: full color`s

(let's do a bit of updating...
=P -after a crap load of absence...)

Sketchbook: full color's is one of those anime where you wouldn't notice it's existence until someone around you talks about it. Even if someone mentions it, by reading the synopsis of the series makes the general public wonder: Why would this be interesting?

Many slice of life genre are hard to appreciate, since it requires the audience to understand the general situation the story is in, the references they bring up, and the jokes that go along with the references. It is even harder when this is in a foreign language -such as Japanese.

Sketchbook: full color's is unlike many common slice of life animes we call great -like Azumanga Daioh, or Lucky Star. Rather than using common references, like otaku, or moe, this anime relies on finding comedy in our ordinary lives. Even in the society of city cats, there are discoveries to be made that might go unnoticed by us humans.

What viewers should take notice in Sketchbook is not the animation itself -for instance, the movement of the characters, or the expressions of the characters (all unique and great)- but take a look at the surrounding environment -the countryside suburb of Kyuushu. Take a look at the colors the artists used to portray the town, the mountains, the skies, the change in season, and many others. The nice use of color in this animation really sets the mood for the entire anime.

If there were some kind of fluke in animation, it was not on the level that made me go "eew". Generally, I was taken away by the visuals within the anime.

By god, the ambience is great in this series. What more, the soundtrack to the anime is superb. What makes it nice is the fact that the music is nicely selected with the situation -from jazzy to classical notes. Nice to have as walking music. Recommends buying the OST if you are given the opportunity to -support stuff you like!

This is where people cringe at, and where I start ranting that they do not appreciate the beauty of the series.

Each episode is divided into a sub story of that particular day. There isn't really a continuation or a reference to older episodes, and people might cringe at this. However, I will state that the episodes are like living day by day of our own lives. How often do we talk to our friends and recall past events -not too often. Within each episode there are references to normalcy in life, as well as stuff relating to nature -something I do enjoy (thank you Kurihara sempai). This "relating to nature" topic ties well with the animation, as I stated previously, the background imagery is superb.

Then you have moments with the cat's interpretations of life around them. This is a rather unique idea, since animals are only used for the cuteness factor (or evil factor, like Azumanga's biting cat). It's strange to listen to these cats talk about their lives, and how they view human life, but in a sense, that is also comedy. I mean, how often have we looked at some animals and wonder how they view us (other than a food source).

Maybe a little too weird, but it's not as weird as people in Haruhi, or Lucky Star, or Hidamari Sketch. The variations in the character behavior (including the cats) are rather funny, and it's somewhat surprising that they get along well. Not pertaining to this anime series, I do have some downsides -b/c I do keep up with the manga. Some characters are truly casted away, and in the manga, they do have significant characteristics that might be fun to watch animated.

Take life a little slower, appreciate the things around you, and take a moment to smell the roses... These are the things that this anime teaches the general viewers. I mean, our lives are so hastily lived, that we might miss the beauty that is around us. Overall, I think people don't like it because it might be too real, and unexciting. We watch anime to in expectations of being amused for being highly stereotypical, and over exaggerated -like Hollywood. However, I need to state that our lives are not portrayed that way, and laughing at those kinds of situations sure is fun (I know I laugh), but we need to step aside and laugh at more common things. By facing away from reality, we might be missing a lot

Overall, I got a serious kick out of this anime. Not only is it fun to watch, but it also made me rethink my surroundings. If you have the chance, read the manga, b/c the 4-koma style jokes are much more apparent and bolder in the manga than in a series.

This is probably one of the better slice of life out there. While Aria might be up there, people should still consider watching this one as well -although I know many would hesitate (which is fine, because we all have different opinions.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

of Macross Frontier

(will post some awesome Macross picture later...)

The Macross franchise spans for a good 25 years of Itano Circus, valkyrie dogfight, and the power of music and culture to rule the hearts of many -as well as many saying that it rivals that of the Gundam franchise. The newest installment of the Macross Franchise is Macross Frontier, aired on April 3rd, 2008 to September 25, 2008.

The story is set (for those who are keeping track of the timeline) 14 years after Macross Seven, where the 25th New Macross-class Colonial Fleet, dubbed Macross Frontier, were heading towards the center of the galaxy to find their promise land. No one on the fleet itself, will never imagine that they will be the target of a cynical experiment...

Animation: 8/10
One of the good things that came out of Macross Zero were the CG dog fights -as one of my friend puts it, one of the BEST fight scenes he has ever seen. Macross Frontier holds the same CG dogfights, and it is quite spectacular to watch -it is almost like you have an air show happening in front of your screen. The details on the valks, the enemies, and the surrounding are to the point.

However, the quality of animation in the human parts are not consistent, having wonderful animations in some of the concert scenes, but having very odd disfigurement in some of the joke scenes. Although I didn't view this as a problem, some viewers did.

Sound: 10/10
In Macross, the one thing you can expect, other than crazy missile launching techniques, is the fact that there are going to be plenty of insert songs. My gut intuition states that it's one of the best soundtracks to ever come out of anime -definitely better than Macross Plus and Seven, in my opinion. The artist May'n and Megumi Nakajima really bring out some nice songs to listen to. I can definitely thank Yoko Kanno for discovering these two songstresses and creating/inputting in on the sound of Macross F.

If you have the opportunity to actually buy the soundtracks for this series, do a favor and buy it -grant it, that you have to like the series or the series to buy it.

Story: 6/10
In the beginning, I REALLY did not think that it was progressing slowly, rather, it had a nice flow of action packed sequence, and then a rest period, where we got to see the daily lives of the casts -I mean, the world is not supposed to be fill with action, even in Macross.

However, as a fan of Macross, it tried to play too much on bringing back the element and magic of SDF Macross/DYRL, just like how SEED tried to bring back elements of Mobile Suit Gundam. They also tried really hard to tie in Macross Zero into Frontier, a novel idea to connect the series, but it didn't work in my favor. By the end of the series, it really felt rushed -I really didn't see how it would end when so much things are unexplained.

So in the end, I will say this -It really did have the potential to go above and beyond Macross and create something new for the Macross universe, while retaining the element of the triangle love affair, music and the power of culture, and space opera. Another opinion, there wasn't that many death in the cast members, where they should have.

Character: 7/10
The characters are rather stereotypical for a mecha series and Macross, playing on the fact that they are trying to repackage SDF Macross. There were moments where other viewers hated Ranka for being her -an innocent little girl. It was sorta odd how many viewers hated people for being themselves throughout the series... By no means though, some of the character developments are rather annoying to watch -at least not on the level of Eureka Seven.

Value and Enjoyment: 8/10
I don't know when I will re-watch the entire series, but there are definitely certain parts of the series I am willing to watch OVER and over again. Having the OST and some of the insert songs really did give me enjoyment to the two artists who gave it there all to create such awesome songs. The mechanical designs that came up in Frontier are awesome; for instance, the transforming armored valkyrie, or the transforming Monster (although not a new idea supposedly). I did enjoy the series, if I forgot about the story of the series...

Those who have no footing into Macross will probably enjoy this series more, because they are not influenced by the past -although it might be hard to figure out what the characters or the story is referring to, as well as the awe and the "Oh My god" moments of the story (mostly tying Frontier with Zero).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Welcome to my media section

This is where I rant and rave about recent animes I am watching, or review previous series... Reviews from this blog will probably go up on anidb...