Monday, 5 October 2009

Fall Anime 2009

I wanted to hold off reviewing the new anime that's come out, but frankly I’m dying to get some of this off my chest. Besides the only ones left on my to watch list are the ones I know will be good, if there are more notable ones then I thought I might make another post, but otherwise nah.

The Sacred Blacksmith

Now you might have wondered why I didn’t I put up a synopsis for this back when I first talked about it and the reason is fairly simple. It sounded stupid. Still I felt like giving it a chance and watched the first episode.

Oh god.

It’s not bad enough that I regret watching it... It’s just bad all over, but in a frustrating way. There’s some pretty poor writing going on here folks, and it’s pretty easy to tell when they ran out of ideas of what to do next. “Uh oh, this scenes getting a little serious, better throw some breast jokes and panty shots in there” it is basically the comedic equivalent of relying on fart jokes when your main material starts to drag.... This is not a good sign.

Anyway, the girl is a knight whose duty it is to protect the citizens of an independent trade town (Something tells me we will never learn why this is, or how it can survive in a political climate where debates take the form of stabbings). Ok, so if she’s a knight she must be able to fight right? WRONG. When did it become easy for anyone to become a Knight? I’m also pretty sure Knights are not a medieval equivalent of a police force. Suffice it to say she sucks balls when it comes to any sort of fighting.

Oh! Before I forget, the single funniest scene right? It serves as an introduction for our location and main character right? Basically this foreign guy from some empire is getting pissy cause this merchant won’t lower his prices, declaring he should because he knows some serious people... First thing, if you’re trying to buy goods yourself you are not very rich. So our girl comes to the rescue right and pretty much flat out threatens this dude... So not only does she fail as Knight, but she also fails at being a peace keeper... Threatening should be the last thing you do, reserved for people who could be actual criminals, not your visitors! Just cause someone is acting like an ass doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to start taking your sword out.

So the local people like her cause she’s nice and has breasts (This isn’t a joke... its actually part of the conversation) but then all of sudden there’s this big dude swinging his sword breaking random things. Now I want you to imagine this guy, he’s clearly not bathed in awhile, his dirty hair is all over the place, he’s wearing a bashed up breast plate and his left arm is completely broken. So when you see this guy just yelling madly and breaking random boxes for no reason, what do you do?

In the land of stupid you introduce yourself and ask him to stop three times... No joke, she does just that. If I saw that dude and was a peace keeper I would have jumped him straight away, knowing what a crazy person looks like. She gets his attention and he proceeds to beat her down because she’s pretty weak, where upon her sword shatters. So now our ‘hero’ shows up and cuts the crazy guys sword in half with a katana, and the girl remarks that she’s never seen a sword like that before.


After the fight the hero leaves the girl and she’s pretty broken up about having her sword broken. She also overhears the hero’s name, Luke, when a little girl carrying a sword case follows him. Down an alley he remarks that her sword was weak.

Hang on...

The girl goes see a blacksmith about repairing her sword since it’s a family treasure, I don’t think we learnt now... but basically she’s the heir to some noble family and the heir has always been a Knight, so that’s why she’s been calling herself a Knight, because I can’t actually imagine the kind of person that would knight her. The blacksmith promptly tells her that’s never happing cause they can only make new swords, and repairing old swords is an ancient technique that has died out. Bullshit! You’re a blacksmith! Your job is to literally make and repair things! This is some crazy world alright, anyone can become a knight and if your hammer brakes you’d better get a new one, cause it’s straight up impossible anyone could ever fix that.... Anyway she scraps that idea and decides to track down this Luke guy with an amazing sword, cause he’s also clearly an amazing blacksmith.

Wait a second...

She finds his house and asks him to remake her sword, he says no. They have a little spat about this and that, and she basically says that her sword is her partner and wants it to last forever. The little girl with Luke instantly becomes my favourite character for simply pointing out that ‘forever’ swords are impossible. Now this shows pretty keen on the whole sword thing... But hang on, isn’t a knight supposed to be trained in at least like... five other weapons? You know what I would take to a sword fight? A Mace. I don’t know why, but many people over look how devastating a mace is, its like one of the worst things anyone could ever hit you with. It’s also not something you can simply block, not unless you like a broken sword that is (And arm). What about knifes? Axes? No, there are only swords in this world! Nothing else!

Luke declines some more saying he won’t make any other swords other then Katana’s... That have a magical radiance too them... can cut through other swords... and are superior to all other swords...

Hey! This is a jab at the medieval age in the west! Gahh! F***ing hell Japan! No wonder everyone calls you racists, half the time you don’t even try to learn very much about other places. Oh sure you’ll use mythologies and ideas from other countries but you’ll mix it up so much it’ll be fundamentally Japanese. This goes way back to that stupid Knight vs Samurai argument... it’s both born from ignorance and arrogance from both sides. In a war situation their both holding the wrong weapons for the job, cause they’ve never fought each other... If they did they’d both develop ways to get at the others weaknesses and strengths... becoming totally different. Hell, here’s an example, if you’ve ever tripped into one of these arguments someone’s bound to mention a Knights helmet and how it creates blind spots... Who honestly thinks someone is going to use something that’s going to get them killed? First of all a full helmet was used when you were far away, to stop arrows, as you get closer to the fight there are these nifty latches that open the helmet bit by bit... that’s right, their like a moveable hood of a car. Lastly, that blind spot behind them? Did you know they got rid of that cause in a massive squall of combat that they tended to fight in pairs? Back to back?

Anyway, the clear undertones of this series really hurt it for me. The plot gets even stupider, and this is still the first episode. The problem for me is, if they just took out the whole were better then everyone attitude, and the completely retarded and pointless breast and panty shots... I might have been actually able to sit through the whole series...

If I did watch it, it would purely be for the sake of ripping on it... cause it fails at every point at being good.

Letter Bee

I have a surprise reader.

I liked this one. I really did. Yeah, I’m surprised as you are. The reason I didn’t show it amongst my previews is cause I had written it off... But I decided to check it out and was pleasantly surprised.

There are a few things that make this show promising and the first is a fundamental of any fantasy series. Mystery. What makes people come back again and again is their curiosity, and their own imagination... How many times have you seen people draw up these disturbingly detailed backstorys for characters we know nothing about... it’s because we love doing it, and can put what ‘we’ like into a show.

Letter Bee makes a good impression because its main mystery isn’t its plot, but rather the world the plot is living in. From the start your tossed into the wasteland between cities and towns filled with these mechanical monsters, and it makes you wonder... what’s it like to live there? How does society keep going in such a hostile environment? How are things different?

One of the differences with this strange land are the people of Letter Bee, who are the postmen... They’ll carry pretty much anything between the towns and are accompanied by a wolf like companion... and of course their handy gun. The reason I wrote this series off originally was actually because of this postmen angle... I’ve seen it done alot of times and figured it was just another cheap knockoff of the idea... but this one might actually have something.

The other thing I really liked is how the show deals with the past of the characters. In order to kill the monsters in the wastes the Letter Bee’s have to use these guns that use energy from their heart (Or soul)... And if they use it too much they die (I always like this plot element, cause it’s interesting to see how the characters deal with a power that’s slowly killing them). Shots fired from the gun work well but sometimes have unexpected backlashes. The shots from the gun are not only charged with a persons essence but also with some of their memories... and so in this way we learn things about the characters they wouldn’t otherwise talk about. I really like it, cause it skips out the whole part where the characters have to break the ice to one another before delving into their pasts, it gives us something meaty to mule over while at the same time cutting us off from the entire picture.

Now sadly there is a danger reader. I’ve seen promising series like this before and it simply comes down to wither or not their able to pull it off. I’ve seen many a good show run out of idea’s or hint at only one mysterious part about a character for nigh on ten episodes... The half way point should be the true test of this series... If it hasn’t lost itself by then it might be able to keep up... but if it doesn’t...

Well, at least Kemono is still amazing.

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