The last thing we watched, cartoon/animu edition

meiam

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I'd totally forgot that. Which is weird because Paranoid Android is one of their most notable songs(with a really weird Music VIdeo). Then again, I haven't watched Ergo Proxy in Years.
There's a couple of really out there western song used for anime ed, I still remember going WTF at the first jojo ed using roundabout.

 
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PsychedelicDiamond

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On that note,

Texhnolyze

Another dystopian anime series, this one having the distinction of sharing quite a bit of talent with one my favourite shows, Serial Experiment Lain. In terms of style, writing and themes, Lain just ticked a lot of my boxes, in a very specific way, so I was wary whether writer Chiaki Konaka and designer Yoshitoshi Abe would be able to recapture what I found so enthralling about SEL. That said, while Texhnolyze is very much a different beast from Lain, it's nevertheless pretty impressive in its own right. Arguably surpasses it in many ways, even if it doesn't feel as specifically tailored to me.

Texhnolyze is set in the underground city of Lukuss (Yes, I know "Lux" in the english dub, I watched it with german subtitles), a squalid, violent place where survival is not to be taken for granted. The city is ruled by a mysterious elite just called "The Class" but administred by a mafia or yakuza style organization called the Organo who are in a state of perpetual conflict with a religious order called the Salvation Union and and effectively anarchist street gang callen Rakan. One of the main sources of conflict between these groups is their stance on the process of Texhnolyzation, describing the augmentation of the human body through technological implants requiring a substance called Raffia that is mined in Lukuss.

This plot element, despite the series being named after it, simultaneously is and isn't central to it. Where you might be lead to believe that Texhnolyze is going to explore the familiar old science-fiction topic of human augmentation in the familiar old way, its actual ambitions are much higher, and much more abstract. Following an ensemble cast of characters, the most central one probably being street urchin Ichise who lost multiple of his limbs and had them replaced with aforementioned implants, it gives us quite a few different perspectives on life in Lukuss. Other viewpoint characters include a high ranking Organo official, the informal leader of the Rakan, a mysterious surgeon and an even more mysterious traveller from the surface world .

It takes a while to see where Texhnolyze is actually going with all this. For a lot of its run, it might come off as just an exceptionally grim and moody story about a gang war for dominance in a dystopian society presented with a surprisingly legit, almost tarkovskian, slow arthouse sensibility. And if it had just been that, it would have still been a pretty exceptional example of it, but Tex aims higher. Texhnolyze has very similar existentialist ambitions as Lain, even though it puts greater focus on society than on the individual.

Lain tried to make sense of the role of the individual in an interconnected world, taking inspiration from the more psychedelic early days of cyberspace utopianism that attracted hippie thought leaders like Timothy Leary or Robert Anton Wilson to the point of casually referencing personalities as obscure as John C. Lilly. So it's noteworthy that the world of Texhnolyze is a purely analogue one. Where Lain flirted with the idea of identity being liberated from the body, Texhnolyze never entertains the idea of an escape into the aether. Most of its world has kind of a 1920's - 1930's retro look to it thats in contrast to its inherently futuristic concepts.

Texhnolyze could perhaps be understood as a refutation of transhumanism, but it is definitely a vision of humanity finding itself at a dead end. It's core conflict, which becomes clear once it starts to wrap up, is about the futility of attempting to prolong or transcend human life as opposed to facing death with dignity. And honestly, that's some heavy stuff for any piece of genre fiction to tackle and even if Texhnolyze didn't pull it off as well as it did, I'd still have to give it credit for trying.

Fortunately though, Tex is both exceptionally well directed and very well written. Forgive me this overly quirky description, but the series feels like an exceptional adaptation of a classic science fiction novel that doesn't exist. Aside from a visual presentation that takes inspiration from the type of high brow european cinema that you rarely ever see in animation, there is something very distinctly literary to its way of storytelling that's only really possible in a serialized format.

I mentioned that, if one were to edit Ergo Proxy together and removed its individual intros and outros, it could never pass for a single cohesive movie. You could very well do that with Texhnolyze and end up with something that's certainly sprawling and exhaustively long, but nevertheless a cohesive whole without any jarring narrative digressions or one off stylistic indulgences. The closest thing it has to an Ergo Proxy style digression is a pair of episodes taking place on the surface, which, if anything, clarifies and brillianty visualizes the main theme of the series, rather than distracting from it.

Texhnolyze, as you can tell, left me pretty impressed. Of course I have my share of minor issues, as I would have with any production of this kind of length and scope. There's a number of kind of gratuitous action sequences that are choreographed and play out in ways slightly at odds with the series grounded, gritty tone. A certain current of masculine machismo that it could have been just a smidge more self aware about. Some aspects of the setting that could have been explored just a little bit more thoroughly. But those are all pretty minor complaints for a show that I do think is up there with the best of serialized animation.

Texhnolyze isn't the most approachable show, though I'd argue it's still a comparatively more conventional watch than Lain. While some of its directorial decisions definitely do harken back to it, pacing, plot progression and just general structure are very different from SEL's airy, ethereal presentation and more reminiscent of what fans of the genres would expect from dystopian science fiction and gritty noir, albeit the more cerebral kind. It's an ambitious show presenting heavy ideas, some of which are not exactly pleasant to think about, but if you're into that type of thing (think less Blade Runner and Dark City and more Element of Crime and Alphaville) there's a good chance you're really gonna be into this.
 

BrawlMan

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Green Lantern: Beware My Power - Bought this yesterday, and saw it earlier just now. Great movie and actually the darkest GL movie, but in a good way. This Green Lantern is John Stewart in the movie. They actually take his character in a different direction, and is not exactly like the one in Justice League. At first he is reluctant, and suffers from PTSD. I wish a little more could have been done, but they do close out a good character arc. The action scenes are always top-notch, but get really brutal in this one. Still can't top Emerald Knights, but nothing can. It's good movie, and I enjoyed it.

 
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Piscian

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Rebels is good, it took me a while to warm to the new cast but eventually they get there. Some faster than others. Except for Chopper, fuck that guy.
Its a great insult to the show, but I generally argue that you could start rebels around the middle of season two snd miss nothing. I loved the show, but the first season really focuses on putting together the main cast and giving Ezra a back story. Where I think it fails is that feels like a kind of low stakes Saturday morning cartoon in season 1. From I wanna say episode 2.15 or so rebels, for all intents, becomes a direct sequel to Clone wars. It carries the same mature themes, characters and plotlines over from clone wars. Season 1 isnt bad by any means, but I started rewatching it recently and I couldn't talk myself into rewatching season 1. Its very much the phantom menace of the series imho.
 
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Gordon_4

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Its a great insult to the show, but I generally argue that you could start rebels around the middle of season two snd miss nothing. I loved the show, but the first season really focuses on putting together the main cast and giving Ezra a back story. Where I think it fails is that feels like a kind of low stakes Saturday morning cartoon in season 1. From I wanna say episode 2.15 or so rebels, for all intents, becomes a direct sequel to Clone wars. It carries the same mature themes, characters and plotlines over from clone wars. Season 1 isnt bad by any means, but I started rewatching it recently and I couldn't talk myself into rewatching season 1. Its very much the phantom menace of the series imho.
Eh, its kind of like season 1 of TNG. Watch it once, and only once. After that you can start likewise as you say halfway into season 2 and get right into it.
 

Bob_McMillan

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Green Lantern: Beware My Power - Bought this yesterday, and saw it earlier just now. Great movie and actually the darkest GL movie, but in a good way. This Green Lantern is John Stewart in the movie. They actually take his character in a different direction, and is not exactly like the one in Justice League. At first he is reluctant, and suffers from PTSD. I wish a little more could have been done, but they do close out a good character arc. The action scenes are always top-notch, but get really brutal in this one. Still can't top Emerald Knights, but nothing can. It's good movie, and I enjoyed it.
Haven't watched it yet, but I have seen clips and I was genuinely shocked at the direction they went. Props to them for adapting such a batshit crazy storyline.
 
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Bob_McMillan

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Season 1 isnt bad by any means, but I started rewatching it recently and I couldn't talk myself into rewatching season 1. Its very much the phantom menace of the series imho.
Sure was nice of them to put all the boring shit into a single season, instead of peppering them in between amazing arcs like with TCW.

But seriously, in a way, Season 1 being more or less meh adds something to the experience. I always love it when a show slowly improves and ups the ante over time, to the point where you're just amazed that you ended up here from such humble beginnings. My siblings rewatched most of Avatar last week, the final fight against Ozai really blew their socks off after being pretty bored in Book 1.

EDIT: Now that I'm thinking about Rebels, while I enjoyed the show overall, they never quite made the jump to being the Rebellion I wanted to see. Bunch of dirty Rebel scum fighting the Empire with any means necessary. Hopefully, that is what Andor will be.
 
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PsychedelicDiamond

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Bakemonogatari

First of what is, by now, a long running anime series of a teenager helping various people, mostly girls, with supernatural possession. While that's not exactly the type of premise that would get my attention, the series is noted for its unique visuals and dialogue.

And they're unique, alright. Bakemonogatari reimagines the Japanese cityscape as a metaphysical space where mind, matter and mythology intersect. Primary colours, stark lighting and mundane objects and backgrounds emphasized and abstracted through various means. Entirely empty, aside from the main characters. It's difficult to describe.

Same goes for the editing style, which underlines the digressive, often deadpan dialogue.

It's very odd that this show exists, was widely popular and spawned a long running franchise. Everything about it screams "vanity project", mainly the fact that I don't really think it has much going for it beyond its value as a purely stylistic exercise.

See, it's not that there isn't some potential to the way it uses its main premise of teenagers being possessed or haunted by various spirits as a metaphor for real life issues like body image problems, jealousy, repression or parental neglect but I don't think it does an especially good job. For a show that has so much talking, it stays disappointingly close to the surface in dissecting its underlying themes.

And at this point, I'd argue it has a bit too much talking for how little it's saying. The dialogue is widely praised, and it sure can be very witty, but, and I concede that maybe a lot of it is lost in translation, I don't think it's all that interesting for how much there is of it. It's striking visual style seems at times almost wasted on its lack of actual dynamic movement. I'd argue that what relatively little it has in terms if actual action made for some of its best parts.

There's also the fact that, for how much Bakemonogatari insists on its own artistic legitimacy, its handling of relationships and sexuality is often laughably juvenile. For how much talking it has, and for how much it emphasizes elements of romantic and sexual attraction between its adolescent main characters, it appears mostly incapable of portraying the nuances of human relationships realistically.

The way it handles sexuality is also just plain awkward. Frequently it tries to milk humor from sexually inappropriate behaviour that might have worked in something less artsy and more self awarely vulgar, but in this show some casual treatment of its female cast just comes off as jarring and occasionally crossing into outright poor taste. It also doesn't help that I got the impression it kept getting worse about this the longer it went on.

With a few adjustments, I could see myself really liking Bakemonogatari, but those adjustments would have to be fairly major. It has a strong cast of characters, a fantastic visual style and a premise that could technically touch on some interesting issues in some interesting ways. But it feels too preoccupied with the form and not enough with the content of its deadpan banter. As if penned by someone way too convinced of their own writing talent. It's all very stylish and witty and creative, but it doesn't elevate the premise much beyond "guy helps hot chicks with their demon problems."

So, I dunno, there's a load of content in this franchise, does it eventually get better or can I just expect to not particularly like the rest of it either?
 
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meiam

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I pushed myself trough the first season of bakemonogatari solely based on the strength of the visual but the writing really left me cold for the same reason, it felt like two character talking in circle and saying nothing in the end every episode. Maybe its some sort of super advanced writing that I couldn't appreciate, but I really don't think so. This is made extremely awkward when it comes to some of the sexual charge theme it touch on. I'm not saying you can't talk about pedophilia, but make sure you have something worthwhile to say about it, especially if you're going to spend an entire episode on that subject by literally having a young adult character talk to a pre pubescent girl about how its totally normal for him to be sexually attracted to her.

I think the light novel genre is just not my cup of tea, despite having a ton of them being adapted into anim with high production value , there's very few that I actually enjoyed.
 

Piscian

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Bakemonogatari

First of what is, by now, a long running anime series of a teenager helping various people, mostly girls, with supernatural possession. While that's not exactly the type of premise that would get my attention, the series is noted for its unique visuals and dialogue.

And they're unique, alright. Bakemonogatari reimagines the Japanese cityscape as a metaphysical space where mind, matter and mythology intersect. Primary colours, stark lighting and mundane objects and backgrounds emphasized and abstracted through various means. Entirely empty, aside from the main characters. It's difficult to describe.

Same goes for the editing style, which underlines the digressive, often deadpan dialogue.

It's very odd that this show exists, was widely popular and spawned a long running franchise. Everything about it screams "vanity project", mainly the fact that I don't really think it has much going for it beyond its value as a purely stylistic exercise.

See, it's not that there isn't some potential to the way it uses its main premise of teenagers being possessed or haunted by various spirits as a metaphor for real life issues like body image problems, jealousy, repression or parental neglect but I don't think it does an especially good job. For a show that has so much talking, it stays disappointingly close to the surface in dissecting its underlying themes.

And at this point, I'd argue it has a bit too much talking for how little it's saying. The dialogue is widely praised, and it sure can be very witty, but, and I concede that maybe a lot of it is lost in translation, I don't think it's all that interesting for how much there is of it. It's striking visual style seems at times almost wasted on its lack of actual dynamic movement. I'd argue that what relatively little it has in terms if actual action made for some of its best parts.

There's also the fact that, for how much Bakemonogatari insists on its own artistic legitimacy, its handling of relationships and sexuality is often laughably juvenile. For how much talking it has, and for how much it emphasizes elements of romantic and sexual attraction between its adolescent main characters, it appears mostly incapable of portraying the nuances of human relationships realistically.

The way it handles sexuality is also just plain awkward. Frequently it tries to milk humor from sexually inappropriate behaviour that might have worked in something less artsy and more self awarely vulgar, but in this show some casual treatment of its female cast just comes off as jarring and occasionally crossing into outright poor taste. It also doesn't help that I got the impression it kept getting worse about this the longer it went on.

With a few adjustments, I could see myself really liking Bakemonogatari, but those adjustments would have to be fairly major. It has a strong cast of characters, a fantastic visual style and a premise that could technically touch on some interesting issues in some interesting ways. But it feels too preoccupied with the form and not enough with the content of its deadpan banter. As if penned by someone way too convinced of their own writing talent. It's all very stylish and witty and creative, but it doesn't elevate the premise much beyond "guy helps hot chicks with their demon problems."

So, I dunno, there's a load of content in this franchise, does it eventually get better or can I just expect to not particularly like the rest of it either?
I tried, I sat through two or three episodes and it did not appear to have a clear plot and the dialog was estoteric meandering and juvenile.

I keep meaning to give it another chance as theres a massive fanbase with a wiki on what order to watch the series in, but I havent managed to talk myself into it.

Im ok with shows having abstract dialog, like FLCL for instance, but you gotta really fill that space with something interesting going on. This show reminded me of those last two episodes of NGE where they ran out of budget and its all flat abstract backgrounds.

Theres clearly something magical that has drawn a big fanbase, but Ive yet to penetrate the wall of nonsense.
 
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Specter Von Baren

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I tried, I sat through two or three episodes and it did not appear to have a clear plot and the dialog was estoteric meandering and juvenile.

I keep meaning to give it another chance as theres a massive fanbase with a wiki on what order to watch the series in, but I havent managed to talk myself into it.

Im ok with shows having abstract dialog, like FLCL for instance, but you gotta really fill that space with something interesting going on. This show reminded me of those last two episodes of NGE where they ran out of budget and its all flat abstract backgrounds.

Theres clearly something magical that has drawn a big fanbase, but Ive yet to penetrate the wall of nonsense.
I feel like artsy stuff is something that you really REALLY have to limit to small doses. It's a lot like how a jump scare in a horror movie can be really good for releasing tension but it needs to be used at the right moment as a tool for a specific situation and not a hammer that's looking for a nail. Artsy philosophical stuff needs buildup to get to, which is why you usually only have one near the end of a story.

I've never watched the series myself, I liked some designs I'd seen and as has been said, it has some really great visuals, but it seemed very... abstract in how it would sequence events. Almost like there's scenes missing, and I just wasn't interested enough in what was going on to invest in it.
 

09philj

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With a few adjustments, I could see myself really liking Bakemonogatari, but those adjustments would have to be fairly major. It has a strong cast of characters, a fantastic visual style and a premise that could technically touch on some interesting issues in some interesting ways. But it feels too preoccupied with the form and not enough with the content of its deadpan banter. As if penned by someone way too convinced of their own writing talent. It's all very stylish and witty and creative, but it doesn't elevate the premise much beyond "guy helps hot chicks with their demon problems."
My friend described Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai as "like Bakemonogatari but good". I've not gotten round to Bakemonogatari yet but I have watched all of Rascal Does not Dream... and I did really like it. It's not the most visually exciting series but it being low key suits the generally understated tone, and the dialogue is nice and sparky.
 
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Piscian

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My friend described Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai as "like Bakemonogatari but good". I've not gotten round to Bakemonogatari yet but I have watched all of Rascal Does not Dream... and I did really like it. It's not the most visually exciting series but it being low key suits the generally understated tone, and the dialogue is nice and sparky.
I watched an episode or two of rascal I have concur, that has a somewhat compelling premise about isolation in japan, but it definitely seems like it requires some patience.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
I watched an episode or two of rascal I have concur, that has a somewhat compelling premise about isolation in japan, but it definitely seems like it requires some patience.
I loved Rascal. It isn't really slow, each arc is only like 3 episodes and the series as a whole is only like 12, but its a character based series, its really not actiony at all. Fortunately its got really really strong characters and their relationships are well well done, like I can't think of a fictional relationship that is better then the one in that show. Misunderstandings come up that would be a full episode of something else and its resolved with them just talking about it briefly like adults.
 
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09philj

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I loved Rascal. It isn't really slow, each arc is only like 3 episodes and the series as a whole is only like 12, but its a character based series, its really not actiony at all. Fortunately its got really really strong characters and their relationships are well well done, like I can't think of a fictional relationship that is better then the one in that show. Misunderstandings come up that would be a full episode of something else and its resolved with them just talking about it briefly like adults.
It's nice to just have an anime about people who are into each other, and show it, and have an actual relationship.
 

Piscian

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It's nice to just have an anime about people who are into each other, and show it, and have an actual relationship.
what you dont like Rent-a-girlfriend where the protagonist just cries until girls have sex with him?
 

Gordon_4

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Hey, Arnold!

A Nikelodeon classic that likely needs no introduction to this audience but I found t by happenstance on Amazon and started watching it for a little nostalgia. Then my kids came in and got right into it. So six weeks later and we’ve binge watched all five seasons. Boy oh boy does like, ninety percent of everything in this sucker hit different when you’re an adult and parent.

What’s interesting is that despite the paradigm shift portable phones would provide to basically all of these situations - the show dates itself pretty hard with Helga’s dad selling beepers - it still feels like most of the things that Arnold and his friends go through are both relatable and timelessly honest. Mark of very good and sincere writing.

I recommend.
 

Bob_McMillan

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So apparently Haikyuu will be ending it's anime series with two movies instead of, I don't know, two or three seasons.

Really not a fan of this. Of this trend of anime shows getting canon movies in general. They might be amazingly animated, but I have yet to watch one that made me feel like it NEEDED to be a movie. They say there's 110 chapters of the manga left, really can't see that fitting into two movies satisfactorily.
 
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Specter Von Baren

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So apparently Haikyuu will be ending it's anime series with two movies instead of, I don't know, two or three seasons.

Really not a fan of this. Of this trend of anime shows getting canon movies in general. They might be amazingly animated, but I have yet to watch one that made me feel like it NEEDED to be a movie. They say there's 110 chapters of the manga left, really can't see that fitting into two movies satisfactorily.
We've known how much of a bad idea this is since at least the OG FMA movie yet it continues to be done...
 
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