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Manga (maybe Anime): Random Babbling

Discussion in 'Booktalk' started by The Shaman, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    I didn't see a thread like this, so I thought - hey, why the hell not?

    I read most of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Kurosagi ****ai Takuhaibin - damn you forum filter!) last week, and I have to say that I'm rather impressed. I came across it by pure chance - it was the mangatraders.com manga of the week - and while it started a little slow, it has a certain appeal to it. The series follows five graduates of a hardly-famous Buddhist university (I don't know more about it either) who decide to make a living fulfilling the last desires of dead people. Well, most of the time they fail to make a decent living off of it (I know, I didn't believe it myself) but that doesn't mean they don't do it regardless. The series has some nice (often dark) humor and that hard-to-define style that imo make a good read, even though as a horror (which I heard it's supposed to be) it's rather bland. Still, it boasts a memorable set of characters and some nice episodes (the muppet takes the cake), although there doesn't seem to be an overarching plot just yet.

    Strangely, the one thing that impressed me most was not a character or plot twist, but a minor historical detail. The author, poked in one of, as it seems, Japan's historical taboos: the country's WWII conduct. Now, it was relatively mild, but any manga which makes a mention of, say, Unit 731 and does not attempt to sugarcoat it completely deserves an honorary mention. A bit too many series seem to think that nothing in Japan's recent - and not-so-recent - history could be, shall we say, less than endearing for other countries. Even an otherwise-classic series such as Monster goes there at times. Not that KCDS doesn't at times get etnocetric, but by and large it's quite tolerable. It kinda reminds me of the parts of XXXholic that I've read, although I've never really gotten into the Triple X. I suppose it's because either a) XXX is a part of an overarching series of comics, or b) I just find the leads annoying.

    Other than that, I managed to find and watch one of the Slayers OVA series - the Excellent episodes (their OVA titles read like an article from a thesaurus). It was my first encounter with Naga, and while it didn't quite live to my expectations, it was pretty enjoyable. Then again, it's Slayers, how could it not be? Lina Inverse = win. The only bad part about it is that it's imo too short - yes, after three seasons, a movie and several short series. But hey, as I said, it's Slayers.

    Strangely enough, they didn't expand it into a halfway-decent manga series. While normally adaptations and sequels, regardless of genre, are a waste of time and energy (if not money), Slayers actually has a few comic chapters that are quite good... two volumes in total IIRC. Talk about a teaser.

    Well, that's pretty much it for now. I'm planning to look at some Area 88 this week; it was supposed to be quite okay, and as an added bonus the series was the basis for one of the great arcade games.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2007
    The Magister likes this.
  2. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Haven't read any manga in a long time. I think the last one I read was Ghost in the Shell. I'd seen the movie years ago, and liked it (didn't like the sequel at all though), but I thought Masamune Shirow's manga was in many ways superior to the movies - mainly because it had a LOT of humour and never took itself too seriously (*cough* Innocence *cough*). I tried reading Man-Machine Interface but was was again very disappointed. In many ways it's to the original manga what Innocence was to the original movie: far too wordy, far too full of itself, and really not that engaging.

    I started reading Akira some time back but had to stop due to being busy with other things. I want to go back to that one actually - it's much more mature and complex than the movie, though just as with Ghost in the Shell I like the manga and the movie a lot, for different reasons.

    I hate to admit it, but I like Slayers. For something that, by all appearances, is nothing more than a sword-and-sorcery teen comedy, it's got a very good sense of humour, and the second season (Next) in particular manages to mix slapstick comedy and emotional drama like no other animation (Japanese or otherwise) that I've seen. Pretty good stuff overall. And some of the Naga episodes are hysterically funny - The Scary Chimera Plan has one of the best spoof openings I've seen :lol:
     
  3. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    Ghost in the Shell is okay, but I prefer the Standalone complex series (ok, to be honest I've only seen part 1) as it takes longer to develop the plot and thus have time for some nice character expositions, a little humor, and all that. If you liked the GitS manga, check them out. Oh, and as you can imagine, they have a first-rate soundtrack. The movies suffer from having to cramp in too much plot in not enough time - it's not as bad as the second Rurouni Kenshin OVA, but it's still not easy to grasp. I had the misfortune of watching the second movie first... big mistake. I understood more about the plot of GitS II by watching GitS I afterwards.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  4. Enagonios Gems: 31/31
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    I used to love watching Samurai X.
     
  5. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    It is a classic, definitely. The manga is great - iirc the first manga series I read to the end, 28 (I think) volumes altogether. If you've only watched the TV series, get the first OVA any way you can: it's 4 episodes of awesome and probably the best anime I've watched so far.

    I don't think I'll ever get used to calling it Samurai X though... I presume that's the name the series was given in the US. Technically, however, Kenshin wasn't a samurai, so I can't help but think that the title was given to milk the samurai fandom.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  6. Trellheim Gems: 22/31
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    Only anime I'm watching is the OVA based on the game Tales of Symphonia. I was expecting a rip-off or something made for bigger fans than me, but it turned out great.
    However, I liked Kratos' English voiceactor (Cam Clarke) better than the japanese blues guy.
     
  7. Faye

    Faye Life is funny. Veteran

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    Ghost in the Shell is my favourite. Jin-Roh is good as well, so I definitely love Mamoru Oshii's works. Admittedly Innocence was abit too much. I also love Satoshi Kon's works: Perfect Blue, Millenium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers and Paprika.
     
  8. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Satoshi Kon is an excellent director. Millenium Actress is a fantastic film. I've not seen Paprika, but given his excellent track record until now I'm looking forward to seeing it.
     
  9. Faye

    Faye Life is funny. Veteran

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    I agree. Millenium Actress is his best work yet. Paprika was sort of a hit and miss though. And Perfect Blue was one of the most disturbing movie I've watched. Excellent :thumb:
     
  10. The Magister Gems: 26/31
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    Anime? Let me think...

    First thing that comes to mind is Fullmetal Alchemist. Decent plot/story, amazingly detailed world and characters.

    I'm watching R.O.D the TV and Gunslinger Girl right now.
     
  11. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    FMA is one of the rare series that combine maintream appeal with a solid plot that can be appreciated by both new and experienced readers. I gave up on watching the anime - it's relatively long - but I still follow the comic, despite its rather poor artwork, at times. Some of the drawings are so stylized that it's annoying, especially as FMA is not some weekly series like Naruto or Bleach.

    I've watched a part of ROD and was thinking of going back to it. GSG was okay, but I found the ending very disappointing in some ways. Unfortunately, I must admit that I haven't watched any of Satoshi Kon's stuff. I've heard a good comment or two about Millenium actress, but I haven't seen it.

    Anyway, I finished reading the chapters of Area 88 that I found, and I'm left a little ambivalent about it. It's interesting enough that I would read more of it if I can, but I don't consider it exceptional in any way. Also, I found the dogfight sequences a little hard to follow - but then again, depicting aerial combat in a comic is quite the challenge :) .
     
  12. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    Neon Genesis Evangelion, anyone?

    My favorite anime of all, followed very closely by Outlaw Star, Cowboy Bebop, and Full Metal Alchemist.
     
  13. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Cowboy Bebop! :thumb:

    I remember getting hooked just by watching the opening credits. The visual and musical style of the anime is unique. I really don't like the main story arc though - it seems very intriguing when it first gets brought up, gets fascinating in the Jupiter Jazz episodes, and then gets rushed to a disappointing conclusion at the end.

    The movie's excellent as well, though not quite in the same style as the series.
     
  14. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    I've watched only the first 5-6 episodes, and I didn't really catch on. It may get better eventually and one of these days I will get to watching the whole of it, but what I saw so far wasn't exactly on Cowboy Bebop level. Outlaw Star isn't bad - unfortunately, I only saw the episodes up to 13 or so - but it's not quite CB either.

    Neither of these is bad, mind you - it's just that Cowboy Bebop is just that good. The end was imo okay (although they kind of leave you hanging) but even without it, the series had some incredible moments. The part when Faye finally went home was - for me at least - one of the most bittersweet moments in anime that I've seen. It was the kind of thing that makes you look up, sigh, and start to sing sad songs. "Amazing" is an understatement.

    Anyway, I must admit that I was honestly surprised today: the new Naruto chapter (yeah, I still follow the manga - sue me) is not half bad in itself. I must admit one or two of the pictures (the right panel here and the lower panel here) struck me as quite good - not just in execution, but in style as well. However, the way it looks we may be in for another multi-fight sequence, and these tend to be hellishly long - and oh-so-full of reminiscing. We already have Jiraiya vs Pain, which is taking long enough, but now we can expect more on Itachi vs Sasuke, Kisame vs Suigetsu+ and Tobi vs the 8. Unless Masashi comes to his senses, we are in for a picture-in-picture sequence that may as well last until the summer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2007
  15. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    S-o.....

    The new chapters of Claymore and Blade of the Immortal are out. While I was hooked on BotI in college and only found Claymore this summer, both are among my all-time favourites, and among the best examples that action sequences and plot don't need to be mutually exclusive. Now, I've waited for both quite a while, and my reaction is rather ambivalent - both are good, but after I have high expectation for a manga that only comes out once per month. That I have been previously awed by both definitely doesn't lower the bar either.

    I liked the Claymore chapter a little more, so I might as well start with it. So, the plot thickens - the youma the guards were suspecting shows up, and she's quite the big girl. Brazen one, too - some of the images are definitely not safe for work viewing. On the other hand, given her favourite pastime is ripping people in half and enjoying the shower, I don't think that her dressing style is such a big issue. I wonder if her unability to dodge Galatea's slash is a plot device (we wouldn't want a minor character to die so foolishly after we just had him reintroduced, now do we) or she wasn't very good at her job.

    Speaking of weird dressing styles, our crafty ex-nun gets a thumb up for her continued strong performance. Apparently she hasn't lost her cunning, and she even manages to stay cool when her plan backfires spectacularly. However, her new injury starts to make things a bit absurd. What is she, the Black Knight of Monty Python fame? It would be a pity if she came off so badass just to be killed by either of the two psychos. Miata manages to show that she's about as single-minded as a shark that just smelled blood, and Clarice, well, she does what she can be expected to do: basically nothing. This is the girl who gets Clare's position? She's a disgrace, even under the circumstances. Now, I know you're not in the charity business, darling, but how about you leave your little purge for later - say, after - and if you survive a fight with that monstrosity? Sid, on the other hand, is quite okay - he comes off as the same pervy, yet gutsy bastard as before, but it's good to know he has some standards. Unfortuntaly, he's out of his league, just like last time. All in all, the situation is promising - as long as we don't get treated to a chapter of soul-searching on Clarice's part, things could get rather interesting. I'm still rooting for the "sister" to pull through, though.

    Now, Blade of the Immortal was a bit disappointing, to be honest. We get a weird deus ex machina coming on the stage (the "Him" the old doctor referred to in 126), but I'd have prefered it if we had gotten an appearance of an old friend than another Itto-ryu the author pulled out of the hat. The fight is quite good, though - perhaps too good to be done justice by several panels, given the amount of action that goes on. Still, I preferred Doa in the savage and brutal role - what she lacks in quantity compared to the new guy she makes up for in style and originality. Now she's coming off as the intelligent one, and Rin is having her usual scruples again. At least she manages to keep the moralizing down... It's like Doa is there to highlight all the lines Rin hasn't crossed in her search for vengeance. Despite the promising cliffhangers, the end of the chapter is seriously disappointing - if they had a freaking map, couldn't they also find a more normal way to get in?
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2007
  16. Enagonios Gems: 31/31
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    Anyone ever see Ninja Scroll? It's quite old I think. A guy I met in the U.S around 10 years ago let me watch it at his place and I remember that it was pretty cool. The protagonist was named Jubei Kimagami iirc.
     
  17. The Magister Gems: 26/31
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    @The Shaman: I have the Claymore anime. Watched it recantly. While it was good, the format a watched them in led to a reduction in quality. And I mostly watch dubbed anime.
     
  18. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    I tried watching the Ninja Scroll movie and quit after about 10 minutes. I really didn't like the style, and I felt the excessive violence was cheap and inappropriate. The series is supposed to be much better but I've not given it a shot.
     
  19. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    Meh. As a guy once put it, it's a guy anime - blood, action and some eye candy. Reminds me of an anime version of "pro" wrestling. Still, it can be enjoyable if you're not looking for something great. The series is okay, technically, but I got tired of the plot in between.
     
  20. The Magister Gems: 26/31
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    Even if I wanted to it's rated R. Technically I cant even rent it.
    Looks like to much violence to me. I'd rather have a decent plot line.
     
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