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Short Reviews: Part 10

July 28, 2009

blog review 5

Up next are reviews for; Cat Soup, Mononoke, Blue Drop, Baccano! and Sky Blue/Wonderful Days.

Cat Soup: I really didn’t know what to think of this OVA but gave it 3/5 for sheer insanity.

There’s no point to me breaking this review down the way I usually do, as there is no discernable plot and little to no dialogue! An odd short OVA from JC Staff, Cat Soup is just something a little bit different and I watched it purely out of curiosity a while back. Clearly whoever came up with this was on some sort of hallucinogen, as the entire thing is completely trippy, and sometimes a little disturbing. The plot (if you can call it that) seems to be about a little cat trying to recover his sisters’ soul………or something. The journey they undertake is just a parade of weirdness, but in a good way! The animation is very simplistic, but distinctive and the music is fairly odd as well. Tis just weird, but its an experience!

Mononoke: What a great little series. I gave it 4/5, it only missed out on 5/5 as there are lots of unanswered mysteries – mostly regarding the Medicine Seller himself.

PLOT: This is a collection of short stories following the Medicine Seller as he travels and exterminates mononoke. A straightforward plot premise, but each of the arcs are very distinct from each other.  I loved the blend of horror, mystery and twisted humour displayed in this anime. All of the characters are memorable in their own right and its also nice to have a mainly adult cast for a change! Some of the stories have quite disturbing elements, but not enough to turn you off watching. This series is a must for anyone who enjoys classic Japanese horror stories.

ANIMATION: This is one of the 1st things that attracted me to this anime. The animation is quirky, colourful but very attractive and fitting for the tone of the show. The character designs are different and memorable – none of your standard bishies or moe-blobs though! Extremely detailed backgrounds and great detailing in the costumes too, all makes this show very striking visually.

MUSIC & VOICE ACTING: The OP is some sort of weird accordion jazz number, which grew on me as I heard it a few more times. I liked the ED from the start though. Insert and background music did a good job of adding to the mysterious atmosphere. Voice acting was great though! The Medicine Seller in particular was excellently cast, Takahiro Sakurai (Suzaku (Code Geass), Kanda (D.Gray-Man)) is using his ‘Kanda’ voice here, but the way he delivers his line is full of sarcasm and the sense that he knows so much more than he’s letting on which is just purely Medicine Seller ^_^

Overall an excellent series that is a bit different from the norm and I enjoyed it fully.  I’ve heard that Mononoke is actually a spin off from another series called Akayashi: Japanese Classic Horror, and that the Medicine Seller 1st appears in one of the arcs of that show called Bakeneko – which I have yet to watch, but plan to at some stage.

Blue Drop: Pretty average series, suffers from bad pacing in places, but has interesting character driven drama – 3.5/5

PLOT: Well I was sceptical about the shoujo-ai + sci-fi plotline at 1st glance, but it turns out that Blue Drop is quite a character driven anime.  In fact the alien aspect of the story is more or less completely sidelined for the majority of the series!  It was sidelined so much that I felt it was actually unnecessary and the series would have worked just as well, if not better, if it were not included at all. The shoujo-ai storyline is probably the strongest plot element followed by the usual school based drama. The characters are extremely well fleshed out; even the side characters get a decent amount of development. This was one of the best things about Blue Drop as most short series don’t get a chance to do this much character development.  But on the whole the plot left me feeling there was something missing, namely a sense of urgency.  The finale is entirely too rushed and the antagonists are barely developed at all!  I just felt the story would have been better without the aliens – or if the alien thing was the central focus.

ANIMATION: The animation is quite nice – very fluid with good use of CGI for a change. Character designs were appealing and I loved the design of the space ships. However backgrounds were quite plain and the characters seemed to be afflicted with some sort of skin disorder that causes them to go blush every 10 seconds!

MUSIC & VOICE ACTING: I loved the OP, its very pretty and I think I’ll be downloading it soon. The ED was nice too, but just not as memorable as the OP. There is a very strong voice cast here; I particularly liked Hagino’s voice. Mari could occasionally be irritating with her genki-girl routine though.

All in all, not a bad series but it could have been better with better writing or if it was a slightly longer series. As it is it suffers from pacing problems but is still a good watch.

Baccano!: Absolutely brilliant series which gets an easy 5/5

PLOT: I loved the way this series was put together; all the skipping about the timeline and perspectives was just brilliant and added greatly to the entertainment value. Watching how all the main characters lives subtly intertwine reminded me of the LOST flashbacks to an extent, which isn’t a bad thing!  For quite a short show this has a large cast of characters, but all of them are fairly well fleshed out and memorable in their own right – quite an achievement in only 13 episodes! My favourites had to be Ladd, Isaac & Miria; who were a joy to watch!

ANIMATION: A high standard of animation quality was maintained throughout – loved how much blood was on display too! Character designs were great, no confusion about who was who in this show, all were quite easy to distinguish. Really liked the way they did the OP too, as it helped keep all the characters names fresh in my mind ^_^

MUSIC & VOICE ACTING: The music is wonderful – loved the jazzy score which fits the 1930s setting perfectly, particularly liked the OP, but the ED was nice too. The voice acting is really were this show shines – its a fantastic cast and each and every character is wonderfully done.

Overall an excellent show – the OVAs were just as entertaining, fleshing out some of the minor characters and introducing even more!

Sky Blue/Wonderful Days: a pretty film, but doesn’t have a lot of depth- 3.5/5

PLOT: Very linear plot, not a lot of characters or character development but somehow this film still manages to be captivating! Just goes to show that you don’t need to have a complicated script to create an interesting movie.

ANIMATION: As this is a movie the animation quality is of a high standard, but even for a film this is a beautiful piece to watch. There is excellent use of CGI throughout – its refreshing to see CG used correctly! Character designs are simple but attractive.

MUSIC & VOICE ACTING: The music is one of the stronger aspects of this movie. The score is beautiful and really enhanses the mood – which is important as there isnt much dialogue! What little dialogue there is is very well acted – no complaints about the voice acting here (I watched the Japanese dub).

Overall a good watch, but not a must see in my book.

These reviews are getting shorter the further back I go!

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