The last thing we watched, cartoon/animu edition

twistedmic

Elite Member
Legacy
Sep 8, 2009
2,542
209
68
I mean, when A) people constantly whine about "filler" and B) the animation bubble can only be sustained by cutting budgets and making things cheaper, fun world-and-character building episodes are naturally dying.

Like, seasons used to be 26 episodes back in the day, these days they're 13
I’m generally not a fan of the thirteen episode long series or seasons. It’s just not long enough to tell a good story.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BrawlMan

Gordon_4

The Big Engine
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
4,607
3,871
118
Australia
I’m generally not a fan of the thirteen episode long series or seasons. It’s just not long enough to tell a good story.
I think thirteen is fine, but it’s got to be a very tight story. Like you cannot waste a single line or scene. Twenty six can tell a great story and flesh out a world or setting.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BrawlMan

wings012

Elite Member
Legacy
Jan 7, 2011
780
227
48
Country
Malaysia
I’m generally not a fan of the thirteen episode long series or seasons. It’s just not long enough to tell a good story.
It depends on the story being told really. There's plenty of 24/26 or 52 episode animes that just potter about doing fuck all for weeks on end.

I think my bigger issue is not really the length, it's just that most 13 episode type animes tend to be quick adaptations. Most of them aren't even attempting to tell a good story, they are simply adapting from a much longer form medium(manga or light novel) and fitting what they can. They usually exist just to boost the sales of the original medium rather than trying to stand on their own legs. And whether it gets another season or not is completely up to the whims of the original IP holders or whatever else cursed way that anime production functions.

Setting aside light novel and manga, there's also been more attempts at these 'multimedia franchises'. Often there will be an anime tied in somewhere, but fundamentally they just want to push a lootbox/gacha mobile game and sell heaps of merch, with the anime being random window dressing. I think there's been a few such anime that managed to come out, while the games got delayed or canceled.

I think the last decent 13 episode thing I watched was Akudama Drive. It's incredibly chuunibyou and incredibly pulp, but it's full of action scenes galore and it's just a fun original show. 13 episodes works well if it's an original work conceived for the length, without any extra ideas of leaving things open to be a multimedia franchise or whatever dogshit.
 
Last edited:

TheMysteriousGX

Elite Member
Legacy
Sep 16, 2014
7,014
5,192
118
Country
United States
Speaking of "filler", after being delayed a week via Golf Tournament, Episodes 7 and 8 of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury center around world building, a venture capitalist trade show, complex tensions of weapons manufacturing as related to the oppressed, and starting up a corporation

Somehow, these are some of the most compelling episodes of anime this season. G Witch is special
(It's the gay, it makes it spicier)
 

Kyrian007

Nemo saltat sobrius
Legacy
Mar 9, 2010
2,413
474
88
Kansas
Country
U.S.A.
Gender
Male
Got bored of waiting for the second half of the first season of Spy x Family, and started watching it. And two questions are popping up.

Why do anime series always change the beginning and end themes halfway through a season... and why, with only a few exceptions (I'd guess, I can only think of one) that "prove the rule," are they never as good as the previous or original theme? I started wondering this years ago when watching FMA: Brotherhood, and wondering why anyone would EVER change its opening theme.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Drathnoxis

BrawlMan

Lover of beat'em ups.
Legacy
Mar 10, 2016
19,552
8,067
118
Detroit, Michigan
Country
United States of America
Gender
Male
Why do anime series always change the beginning and end themes halfway through a season... and why, with only a few exceptions (I'd guess, I can only think of one) that "prove the rule," are they never as good as the previous or original theme? I started wondering this years ago when watching FMA: Brotherhood, and wondering why anyone would EVER change its opening theme.
Because everyone thinks they can do better, or because it's standard now. Jojo is another one that gets this right starting at Stardust Crusaders. Diamond is Unbreakable has 3 opening and closing themes. The same with Golden Experience, except the ending credits has the same song twice, but different visuals as the series goes on. Stone Ocean actually breaks the tradition, but that might change with the final segment of the series.
 

Specter Von Baren

Annoying Green Gadfly
Legacy
Aug 25, 2013
5,006
2,409
118
I don't know, send help!
Country
USA
Gender
Cuttlefish
Last anime series I watched that had 26 episodes was Darker Than Black and you can see the merit of the argument that 12 episodes isn't long enough to tell a good story by how poor the second season was.

Here's the thing about episodes or storylines that aren't about the main plot: they're only filler if they don't influence the main characters or reveal aspects about them. DTB is mostly episodes that aren't about the central, season finale, storyline but they teach how the world works and you learn about the characters through them.
 

Chimpzy

Simian Abomination
Legacy
Escapist +
Apr 3, 2020
10,258
5,589
118
Got bored of waiting for the second half of the first season of Spy x Family, and started watching it. And two questions are popping up.

Why do anime series always change the beginning and end themes halfway through a season... and why, with only a few exceptions (I'd guess, I can only think of one) that "prove the rule," are they never as good as the previous or original theme? I started wondering this years ago when watching FMA: Brotherhood, and wondering why anyone would EVER change its opening theme.
Afaik they also sell the songs in the OP/EDs. So my guess is they do more than one OP/EDs so they have more stuff to sell.
 
  • Like
Reactions: meiam and BrawlMan

PsychedelicDiamond

Wild at Heart and weird on top
Legacy
Jan 30, 2011
1,751
520
118
Akira (1988)

One of the most succesful and most influential anime films of all time. For some reason. Knowing fully well how ignorant this is going to make me sound, I was very underwhelmed by it. Maybe there was just no way this was gonna live up to my expectations after how long it has been hyped up as the holy grail of cyberpunk anime. While it's undeniably a visual marvel and was, at that point, probably only second to Blade Runner in its depiction of what we now recognize as a cyberpunk dystopia, it... well, it was no Blade Runner.

Where art and animation are still very, very impressive when you get down to what the movie is actually about, it embodies a lot of what I consider to be some of the most tedious tendencies of shlocky 80's sci-fi action. 2 hours are a decently lengthy runtime for an anime movie, yet Akira still feels like it cut out a lot of much needed character development, world building, just general downtime to fill itself to the brim with constant action sequences. Accordingly all the subtext behind its slick cyberpunk visuals, all the nuclear anxiety, political corruption, extremism and so forth feel like token attempts to add meaning to a movie that can't go for two minutes without having something explode.

I dunno man, the whole movie felt, to me, like a Paul Verhoeven production, but without the self aware humor. I loved the world it created, I just wish I could have gotten myself to care more about the things happening and people living in it. The core conflict between Kaneda and Tetsuo, two teens in a biker gang, the latter of which ends up developing psychic powers, could have been emotionally involving, had it actually gotten more development. Which is basically what I could say about almost every single aspect of Akira. Technically the story has a lot of moving parts, between gangs, scientists, politicians, anti government rebels, an officer of the army staging a military coup but none of it is fleshed out, instead it's just a constant barrage of guns and explosions.

I'm gonna be honest, I'm not especially familiar with late 80's anime. See, I've only gotten seriously into anime fairly recently, which leaves me with a lot of classics to catch up with. I think the only other anime movie from that time period, ironically even the same year, as Akira that I have seen was My Neighbour Totoro, which is its complete opposite in practically every way. And also something I got a hell of a lot more out of.

Theroretically, Akira feels like something that should have been up my alley. I'm a sucker for all things cyberpunk, the megacities, the neonlit skycrapers, the futuristic bikes, the oppressive corporate iconography, the slick vehicles and technology. But I expected something like Blade Runner and what I got was something more akin to an 80's grindhouse movie that somehow managed to have art direction on par with Blade Runner, brought to live with obscenely expensive animation.

I'm just so underwhelmed. You know, when you finally watch something that's widely considered a classic, there's always somewhat of a high chance it won't match your expectations. But usually I can at least see why those movies have the reputation they have. But Akira left me very cold on everything but a technical level. It stretched about 30 minutes worth of plot over 2 hours worth of movie, and filled the rest with gunfights and explosions. It almost makes me wish the productions values hadn't been so high, because maybe then they would have had to come up with things other than action scenes to fill their runtime.
 
Last edited:

BrawlMan

Lover of beat'em ups.
Legacy
Mar 10, 2016
19,552
8,067
118
Detroit, Michigan
Country
United States of America
Gender
Male
Akira (1988)

One of the most succesful and most influential anime films of all time. For some reason. Knowing fully well how ignorant this is going to make me sound, I was very underwhelmed by it. Maybe there was just no way this was gonna live up to my expectations after how long it has been hyped up as the holy grail of cyberpunk anime. While it's undeniably a visual marvel and was, at that point, probably only second to Blade Runner in its depiction of what we now recognize as a cyberpunk dystopia, it... well, it was no Blade Runner.

Where art and animation are still very, very impressive when you get down to what the movie is actually about, it embodies a lot of what I consider to be some of the most tedious tendencies of shlocky 80's sci-fi action. 2 hours are a decently lengthy runtime for an anime movie, yet Akira still feels like it cut out a lot of much needed character development, world building, just general downtime to fill itself to the brim with constant action sequences. Accordingly all the subtext behind its slick cyberpunk visuals, all the nuclear anxiety, political corruption, extremism and so forth feel like token attempts to add meaning to a movie that can't go for two minutes without having something explode.

I dunno man, the whole movie felt, to me, like a Paul Verhoeven production, but without the self aware humor. I loved the world it created, I just wish I could have gotten myself to care more about the things happening and people living in it. The core conflict between Kaneda and Tetsuo, two teens in a biker gang, the latter of which ends up developing psychic powers, could have been emotionally involving, had it actually gotten more development. Which is basically what I could say about almost every single aspect of Akira. Technically the story has a lot of moving parts, between gangs, scientists, politicians, anti government rebels, an officer of the army staging a military coup but none of it is fleshed out, instead it's just a constant barrage of guns and explosions.

I'm gonna be honest, I'm not especially familiar with late 80's anime. See, I've only gotten seriously into anime fairly recently, which leaves me with a lot of classics to catch up with. I think the only other anime movie from that time period, ironically even the same year, as Akira that I have seen was My Neighbour Totoro, which is its complete opposite in practically every way. And also something I got a hell of a lot more out of.

Theroretically, Akira feels like something that should have been up my alley. I'm a sucker for all things cyberpunk, the megacities, the neonlit skycrapers, the futuristic bikes, the oppressive corporate iconography, the slick vehicles and technology. But I expected something like Blade Runner and what I got was something more akin to an 80's grindhouse movie that somehow managed to have art direction on par with Blade Runner, brought to live with obscenely expensive animation.

I'm just so underwhelmed. You know, when you finally watch something that's widely considered a classic, there's always somewhat of a high chance it won't match your expectations. But usually I can at least see why those movies have the reputation they have. But Akira left me very cold on everything but a technical level. It stretched about 30 minutes worth of plot over 2 hours worth of movie, and filled the rest with gunfights and explosions. It almost makes me wish the productions values hadn't been so high, because maybe then they would have had to come up with things other than action scenes to fill their runtime.
As much as I like the movie, it's main problem is that you're looking at a cliff notes version of the manga: which fleshes out all those details. I know it would never happen, but any anime needed a remake, it would be this one to tell a better story. Make it into a TV series, instead of a movie. At the time when the movie came out, the original manga wasn't even finished yet. The creator was about 2/3 through the story.

 
Last edited:

Bartholen

At age 6 I was born without a face
Legacy
Jul 1, 2020
437
480
68
Country
Finland
Cowboy Bebop, episode 11: Toys in the Attic

Out of all the episodes I've watched so far, this feels probably the most like filler. There's hardly even a story or a connecting theme, and it takes place entirely on the ship. While a bottle episode tribute to Alien is a very fitting concept for the series, this just felt phoned in. It's basically a joke episode, and while the punchline is pretty funny, it definitely doesn't carry the whole episode. It doesn't even end properly. I guess they all just got better fine? It really cheapens the tension the episode establishes at the beginning, the rest of it felt like a case of "Friday at 2 pm and everybody wants to go home" in the writers' room. Eh, I guess even the most acclaimed anime of all time not every episode can be as amazing as Waltz for Venus or Ganymede Elegy.

In other animu stuff, I got a hankering to watch Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood again after like a decade. Turns out it has been taken off Netflix where I live yet again, but they've kept some of the live action movies which is weird. Eh, guess I'll have to VPN-fu my way around it.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: BrawlMan

thebobmaster

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
1,251
1,263
118
Country
United States
Cowboy Bebop, episode 11: Toys in the Attic

Out of all the episodes I've watched so far, this feels probably the most like filler. There's hardly even a story or a connecting theme, and it takes space entirely on the ship. While a bottle episode tribute to Alien is a very fitting concept for the series, this just felt phoned in. It's basically a joke episode, and while the punchline is pretty funny, it definitely doesn't carry the whole episode. It doesn't even end properly. I guess they all just got better fine? It really cheapens the tension the episode establishes at the beginning, but the rest of it felt like a case of "Friday at 2 pm and everybody wants to go home" in the writers' room. Eh, I guess even the most acclaimed anime of all time not every episode can be as amazing as Waltz for Venus or Ganymede Elegy.

In other animu stuff, I got a hankering to watch Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood again after like a decade. Turns out it has been taken off Netflix where I live yet again, but they've kept some of the live action movies which is weird. Eh, guess I'll have to VPN-fu my way around it.
If you have Hulu or HBO Max, they might have FMA: Brotherhood for you. I know I have them on there in the States.

ETA: I was wrong about HBO Max, but it is on Hulu.
 

PsychedelicDiamond

Wild at Heart and weird on top
Legacy
Jan 30, 2011
1,751
520
118
Saw the first three episodes of Chainsaw Man. It's alright, I guess. Can't really say any more at this point. So far I don't see why everyone is making such a big deal out of this, but, you know, maybe it'll surprise me.

Though honestly, I've been wondering about characters, especially protagonists, whose main motivation is wanting to have sex, or in case of that series protagonist, wanting to touch someones breasts. Like, if it was "I want to have a girlfriend" I'd get why that'd be a far fetched goal for some, but dude, it's sex. It's literally sold as a service. If that's all you want, pay someone whose job it is to offer it. Maybe then you'd realize how silly you were being for making that big a deal out of it and stop creeping on your boss and coworkers.


As much as I like the movie, it's main problem is that you're looking at a cliff notes version of the manga: which flushes out all those details. I know it would never happen, but any anime needed a remake, it would be this one to tell a better story. Make it into a TV series, instead of a movie. At the time when the movie came out, the original manga wasn't even finished yet. The creator was about 2/3 through the story.

Ah, well, I should have probaby expected that. It certainly felt like it was mostly a highlight reel of action scenes from something that was originally heavier on plot.

An adaptation of the full story with even just a fraction of the movies animation quality would be really cool to see.
 

Bartholen

At age 6 I was born without a face
Legacy
Jul 1, 2020
437
480
68
Country
Finland
Though honestly, I've been wondering about characters, especially protagonists, whose main motivation is wanting to have sex, or in case of that series protagonist, wanting to touch someones breasts. Like, if it was "I want to have a girlfriend" I'd get why that'd be a far fetched goal for some, but dude, it's sex. It's literally sold as a service. If that's all you want, pay someone whose job it is to offer it. Maybe then you'd realize how silly you were being for making that big a deal out of it and stop creeping on your boss and coworkers.
I haven't watched the anime, but I did read the first 40 or 50 chapters of Chainsaw Man to see what the fuss was about. And what you laid out is a big reason why it just felt cheap and almost insulting to me. At first the idea of the protagonist being literally homeless in what seemed ultimately like a bloodier than average shounen manga seemed novel and could be taken in an interesting direction. But at least based on what I read, it was just so the writer didn't have to come up with any interesting motivations or goals for the character. Having a character's personal goals basically amount to "don't be homeless anymore, get laid" is like the absolute baseline because hey, nobody wants to be homeless and most of us want to get laid. And the amount of humiliation and getting strung along by the female characters the protagonist experienced bordered on fetishistic to be honest. I was left firmly underwhelmed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mister Mumbler

BrawlMan

Lover of beat'em ups.
Legacy
Mar 10, 2016
19,552
8,067
118
Detroit, Michigan
Country
United States of America
Gender
Male
I haven't watched the anime, but I did read the first 40 or 50 chapters of Chainsaw Man to see what the fuss was about. And what you laid out is a big reason why it just felt cheap and almost insulting to me. At first the idea of the protagonist being literally homeless in what seemed ultimately like a bloodier than average shounen manga seemed novel and could be taken in an interesting direction. But at least based on what I read, it was just so the writer didn't have to come up with any interesting motivations or goals for the character. Having a character's personal goals basically amount to "don't be homeless anymore, get laid" is like the absolute baseline because hey, nobody wants to be homeless and most of us want to get laid. And the amount of humiliation and getting strung along by the female characters the protagonist experienced bordered on fetishistic to be honest. I was left firmly underwhelmed.
Saw the first three episodes of Chainsaw Man. It's alright, I guess. Can't really say any more at this point. So far I don't see why everyone is making such a big deal out of this, but, you know, maybe it'll surprise me.

Though honestly, I've been wondering about characters, especially protagonists, whose main motivation is wanting to have sex, or in case of that series protagonist, wanting to touch someones breasts. Like, if it was "I want to have a girlfriend" I'd get why that'd be a far fetched goal for some, but dude, it's sex. It's literally sold as a service. If that's all you want, pay someone whose job it is to offer it. Maybe then you'd realize how silly you were being for making that big a deal out of it and stop creeping on your boss and coworkers.




Ah, well, I should have probaby expected that. It certainly felt like it was mostly a highlight reel of action scenes from something that was originally heavier on plot.

An adaptation of the full story with even just a fraction of the movies animation quality would be really cool to see.
My interest just dropped off after seeing that motivation. How boring. I think this is another case of new popular animation. It starts off strong or good, and everybody's gushing about it, but at some point the people gushing about it start dropping off or start hating it years later down the line because it's cool. Or because the anime got "too popular and mainstream". It almost always comes down to hipster mentality.

 

meiam

Elite Member
Dec 9, 2010
2,529
993
118
Akira (1988)

One of the most succesful and most influential anime films of all time. For some reason. Knowing fully well how ignorant this is going to make me sound, I was very underwhelmed by it. Maybe there was just no way this was gonna live up to my expectations after how long it has been hyped up as the holy grail of cyberpunk anime. While it's undeniably a visual marvel and was, at that point, probably only second to Blade Runner in its depiction of what we now recognize as a cyberpunk dystopia, it... well, it was no Blade Runner.

Where art and animation are still very, very impressive when you get down to what the movie is actually about, it embodies a lot of what I consider to be some of the most tedious tendencies of shlocky 80's sci-fi action. 2 hours are a decently lengthy runtime for an anime movie, yet Akira still feels like it cut out a lot of much needed character development, world building, just general downtime to fill itself to the brim with constant action sequences. Accordingly all the subtext behind its slick cyberpunk visuals, all the nuclear anxiety, political corruption, extremism and so forth feel like token attempts to add meaning to a movie that can't go for two minutes without having something explode.

I dunno man, the whole movie felt, to me, like a Paul Verhoeven production, but without the self aware humor. I loved the world it created, I just wish I could have gotten myself to care more about the things happening and people living in it. The core conflict between Kaneda and Tetsuo, two teens in a biker gang, the latter of which ends up developing psychic powers, could have been emotionally involving, had it actually gotten more development. Which is basically what I could say about almost every single aspect of Akira. Technically the story has a lot of moving parts, between gangs, scientists, politicians, anti government rebels, an officer of the army staging a military coup but none of it is fleshed out, instead it's just a constant barrage of guns and explosions.

I'm gonna be honest, I'm not especially familiar with late 80's anime. See, I've only gotten seriously into anime fairly recently, which leaves me with a lot of classics to catch up with. I think the only other anime movie from that time period, ironically even the same year, as Akira that I have seen was My Neighbour Totoro, which is its complete opposite in practically every way. And also something I got a hell of a lot more out of.

Theroretically, Akira feels like something that should have been up my alley. I'm a sucker for all things cyberpunk, the megacities, the neonlit skycrapers, the futuristic bikes, the oppressive corporate iconography, the slick vehicles and technology. But I expected something like Blade Runner and what I got was something more akin to an 80's grindhouse movie that somehow managed to have art direction on par with Blade Runner, brought to live with obscenely expensive animation.

I'm just so underwhelmed. You know, when you finally watch something that's widely considered a classic, there's always somewhat of a high chance it won't match your expectations. But usually I can at least see why those movies have the reputation they have. But Akira left me very cold on everything but a technical level. It stretched about 30 minutes worth of plot over 2 hours worth of movie, and filled the rest with gunfights and explosions. It almost makes me wish the productions values hadn't been so high, because maybe then they would have had to come up with things other than action scenes to fill their runtime.
Have you tried the Ghost in the shell anime from the same era? Sounds like it would be more up your alley. You might like Patlabor 2 also from the late 90.

But yeah, Akira movie is really a visual first experience, the animation is top notch and Oshi direction is impeccable. This video does a nice breakdown of it. I will say, even without that I quite liked Akira, the characters were pretty unique even back then but even more so now. Checkout the manga if your interested, its not that long and is very good.


On chainsaw man, its gotta be the marketing. It's not bad, but I really can't see any other reason for the hype being this high, its ultimately just another shonen with a somewhat horny main character. It's already like 90% identical to jujustu kaisen from a few seasons ago so it doesn't even feel fresh.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BrawlMan

Dalisclock

Making lemons combustible again
Legacy
Escapist +
Feb 9, 2008
10,476
6,028
118
A Barrel In the Marketplace
Country
Eagleland
Gender
Male
Cowboy Bebop, episode 11: Toys in the Attic

Out of all the episodes I've watched so far, this feels probably the most like filler. There's hardly even a story or a connecting theme, and it takes place entirely on the ship. While a bottle episode tribute to Alien is a very fitting concept for the series, this just felt phoned in. It's basically a joke episode, and while the punchline is pretty funny, it definitely doesn't carry the whole episode. It doesn't even end properly. I guess they all just got better fine? It really cheapens the tension the episode establishes at the beginning, the rest of it felt like a case of "Friday at 2 pm and everybody wants to go home" in the writers' room. Eh, I guess even the most acclaimed anime of all time not every episode can be as amazing as Waltz for Venus or Ganymede Elegy.

In other animu stuff, I got a hankering to watch Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood again after like a decade. Turns out it has been taken off Netflix where I live yet again, but they've kept some of the live action movies which is weird. Eh, guess I'll have to VPN-fu my way around it.
IIRC, there's some speculation that Toys in the Attic is basically a dream. Both because of how wierd the episode feels but I think the next episode opens with Spike waking up from a nightmare or something. It's never referenced again which lends credence to this. It feels like it's basically a joke episode regardless.

Samurai Champloo, almost the sister show to Cowboy Bebop, has two episodes that feel like this. One of them involved the cast eating mushrooms, turning into zombies and then a giant space rock vaporizes the entire region in a massive mushroom cloud. It's never mentioned again and everyone is fine in the next episode. And then there's a baseball episode which feels like a big joke all around and also has nothing to do with the rest of the show and also are never mentioned again.

I think the creator of both shows just really likes doing a weird episode every so often just for the funz.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: BrawlMan

TheMysteriousGX

Elite Member
Legacy
Sep 16, 2014
7,014
5,192
118
Country
United States
Akira (1988)

One of the most succesful and most influential anime films of all time. For some reason. Knowing fully well how ignorant this is going to make me sound, I was very underwhelmed by it. Maybe there was just no way this was gonna live up to my expectations after how long it has been hyped up as the holy grail of cyberpunk anime. While it's undeniably a visual marvel and was, at that point, probably only second to Blade Runner in its depiction of what we now recognize as a cyberpunk dystopia, it... well, it was no Blade Runner.

Where art and animation are still very, very impressive when you get down to what the movie is actually about, it embodies a lot of what I consider to be some of the most tedious tendencies of shlocky 80's sci-fi action. 2 hours are a decently lengthy runtime for an anime movie, yet Akira still feels like it cut out a lot of much needed character development, world building, just general downtime to fill itself to the brim with constant action sequences. Accordingly all the subtext behind its slick cyberpunk visuals, all the nuclear anxiety, political corruption, extremism and so forth feel like token attempts to add meaning to a movie that can't go for two minutes without having something explode.

I dunno man, the whole movie felt, to me, like a Paul Verhoeven production, but without the self aware humor. I loved the world it created, I just wish I could have gotten myself to care more about the things happening and people living in it. The core conflict between Kaneda and Tetsuo, two teens in a biker gang, the latter of which ends up developing psychic powers, could have been emotionally involving, had it actually gotten more development. Which is basically what I could say about almost every single aspect of Akira. Technically the story has a lot of moving parts, between gangs, scientists, politicians, anti government rebels, an officer of the army staging a military coup but none of it is fleshed out, instead it's just a constant barrage of guns and explosions.

I'm gonna be honest, I'm not especially familiar with late 80's anime. See, I've only gotten seriously into anime fairly recently, which leaves me with a lot of classics to catch up with. I think the only other anime movie from that time period, ironically even the same year, as Akira that I have seen was My Neighbour Totoro, which is its complete opposite in practically every way. And also something I got a hell of a lot more out of.

Theroretically, Akira feels like something that should have been up my alley. I'm a sucker for all things cyberpunk, the megacities, the neonlit skycrapers, the futuristic bikes, the oppressive corporate iconography, the slick vehicles and technology. But I expected something like Blade Runner and what I got was something more akin to an 80's grindhouse movie that somehow managed to have art direction on par with Blade Runner, brought to live with obscenely expensive animation.

I'm just so underwhelmed. You know, when you finally watch something that's widely considered a classic, there's always somewhat of a high chance it won't match your expectations. But usually I can at least see why those movies have the reputation they have. But Akira left me very cold on everything but a technical level. It stretched about 30 minutes worth of plot over 2 hours worth of movie, and filled the rest with gunfights and explosions. It almost makes me wish the productions values hadn't been so high, because maybe then they would have had to come up with things other than action scenes to fill their runtime.
If you're looking for anime cyberpunk, there just a massive amount of OVA's out there. Owing to Sturgeon's law, most of them are bad, but basically any internet list of "cyberpunk anime" is gonna list the same staples like Genocyber or Bubblegum Crisis

Armitage III is a 4 episode OVA that I can confidently say is the most cyberpunk anime I've ever seen. Definitely give it a go, make sure you watch the OVA and not the movie. (Movie's fine, but is by necessity cut down)

Iria: Zeiram The Animation is a bit more sci-fi but has *fantastic* visuals, Sol Bianca has similar aesthetics and is massively underrated (though watch the original and not the remake) (EDIT: Sol Bianca: The Legacy is fine, but I don't like the character redesigns, some of the new characterizations, and early 2000's cgi)

Nostalgic favorite: The Tokyo Project/Tokyo Vice is, as a review puts is "stunningly mediocre", but anime dvds were rare when I was a kid, so I have a soft spot

Point is, please go down the OVA rabbit hole. It's a fantastic time and because distribution is basically limited to whatever Discotek can dredge up, nobody cares about piracy. Hell, most of them are on video sites like YouTube
 
Last edited:

Chimpzy

Simian Abomination
Legacy
Escapist +
Apr 3, 2020
10,258
5,589
118
Chimpzy watches Ghost in the Shell - Stand Alone Complex (Part 17)

Season 1, Episode 18: LOST HERITAGE

Aramaki visits a war buddy’s grave, who is described as a legendary soldier, kind of a Japanese equivalent to Big Boss. He’s approached by the man’s daughter, who informs him her brother has suddenly started acting much like her father. Meanwhile, the rest of the team is running security for a Chinese official making a controversial visit to a Japanese war memorial who is under threat of assassination. The two stories converge, cuz naturally the son is the assassin, who got his cyberbrain infected with daddy’s memories, turning him into a son/father hybrid with all the skills of the latter. Of course, he gets stopped in the nick of time.

I didn’t feel this one. Partially because we’ve already had a few episodes revolving around stopping an assassination plot before. Partially because for the first time I felt the 20 minute episode runtime was a detriment rather than a boon. We’re told Aramaki and the father were close, but not really shown. We’re told the father was a superb soldier and special tactics instructor, but not really shown. We’re told the son used his father’s skills to evade Section 9, but this is not really shown outside of a single example. And we only get the vaguest motivation for why father/son want to kill the Chinese official in the first place.

Perhaps this should’ve been a two-parter. Have the first part be setup, expand on Aramaki and the father’s relationship, and explain the latter’s beef with the Chinese official rather than a single line inferring he is somehow related to the father’s wife’s death, which may or may not be related to the incident the war memorial was built for. Then spend the second part on a cat & mouse game between Section 9 and the son (father) as he successfully eludes capture, including a close call averted by clever tactics, before getting nabbed at the end. Give it enough screentime to build a credible threat, and tension.

A Chinese official visiting a Japanese war memorial is an interesting reversal, considering that in real life Japan, and by extension its government, are less than forthcoming about owing up their wartime shenanigans. Not that China is any better in this regard. Wouldn’t be nationalists without some genocides in the closet, would it?