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Posts Tagged ‘doom’

Oh wow. This is very good. It is a gothic, doomed, tale told in the depths of space. The music is fairly good for a mid 80’s piece; the animation is sufficient; but the story is where it all comes together.

A cross-generational ship is bringing cargo from another world to Earth; an asteroid strikes the ship and renders repair and course correction impossible. One man is found dead, and the rest have no choice but to use the escape pods. Their chance of making it to Earth is very small, but en route they relate the stories that the dead man told them, and reveal their own pasts.

I won’t go into too much detail, but the sense of isolation brought on by space, and the fate of each character (except the captain), just drip with pathos. It’s well-conceived and it uses flashbacks well. The symbology is deep and bizarre.

The language is for the most part fine, but the number of profanities increases towards the end. No sex. Some gore, so be warned.

The only truly disappointing thing is the ending theme, which rips off the music for 2001: A Space Oddessy and throws in cheesy 70’s funk.

After doing some research, I discovered that the manga which this was adapted from was one of twelve stories or so that told of the phoenix’s interaction with humanity in different ages of the world. Only two OVAs were made from the manga (Phoenix – Space and Phoenix – Karma), and they reveal a fatal flaw about the execution of the whole series: the same character types show up in every age, with the same punishments handed out to them. It’s basically the same story retold twelve different times, which is both pointless and dull.

So, how does this apply to Phoenix – Space? If you view it as a standalone anime`, with no sequel and no prequel, then it’s quite enjoyable, because it is self-contained and it doesn’t grow wearying with repetition. If you view it in the context of the manga, then its luster disappears and it sinks into the background of a mass of mediocre content. My advice is to just enjoy this OVA for what it is by itself.

Available for you downloading pleasure from Banana subs or the torrent hole of your choice.

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Just when I thought I couldn’t be any more annoyed or abandoned by anime` along comes another wolf-in-sheep’s clothing series, Pandora Hearts (official site in Japanese). I don’t have the effort to bother summarizing what it is because it’s not consistent in what it is. Is it gothic? Is it light? Is it pervy? Is it innocent? You can see how each episode compares below, but it’s not worth your time. The few standout episodes only leave you feeling like more of a sucker when the series takes a turn for the dumpster.

* Ep 1 — At first blush it seems to be another adventures of a young lord sort of thing, but once the MC discovers a gold watch, things get eerie and disturbing. Ok, it’s piqued my interest.
Ep 2 — It’s worth watching, but it has good points and bad points. Excellent music, and a growing sense of doom. The way it works out is unexpectedly tragic. The ceremony is semi-Christian which brings to mind shades of D-Gray Man. I like it because it does reference Christian symbolism, but of course, I am concerned that people will not look deeper. Anyhow, there’s a fighting-in-church scene which really annoys me, because that reflects a lack of reverence. The characters are odd and unusual. The ending is cool.
Ep 3 — Alright. The Abyss is cool. Oz’s moral weakness is revealed: he’s a sucker for a pretty girl, and as a result he gets used by them again and again. A handful of unnecessary profanities. Alice’s skirt is ridiculously high. The ending is unexpected.
Ep 4 – It’s Ok. One profanity, but the episode is almost unwatchable because Break is so obnoxious. Seriously, I want to throw things at my computer monitor because he’s such a turd. I’m really getting concerned that this will turn out like a typical anime`: begin with great promise and peter out into nothing. Alice is foxy, ok, but there’s one shot that’s virtually pornographic. Is the manga like this, too?
Ep 5 — Ok. Some of the gothic heaviness remains, but it’s filled with stereotypical interpersonal fighting that we’ve seen a thousand times before. Lots of profanities. The animation quality has taken a dive. Seems like the end is in sight already.
Ep 6 — Ok, I guess. Way too many flashbacks. Some of the gothic heaviness; a little more than last time. A cool revelation, but the animation quality just sucks now. A few cuss words. Some relativistic morality.
* Ep 7 — Good to very good. Starts off kinda slow but gets creepy and disturbing and emotionally satisfying as it goes on. This is almost as good as the first episode. We see a few more nods to absolute truth, though Oz still says he doesn’t believe in absolutes.
* Ep 8 — Quite good. Taut throughout with only a few moments to lighten the mood. Consistently odd, off-center. Some translation probs with the Mochi sub, and some profanities that they didn’t translate (not that I mind personally because even the great C1 misses them from time to time, but the purists will be unhappy).
Ep 9 — Forgettable
* Ep 10 — Nearly perfect. This is what the series should be throughout — this heavy, emotionally, and showing all the connections between the characters. A few profanities, but they are used when the characters are at their wit’s end, so it is at least realistic.
* Ep 11 — Doesn’t have the emotional ups and downs of the previous episode, and most of it is a flashback, but it is shot through with eeriness and unease. One profanity.
* Ep 12 — Another winner. Some humorous back-and-forth, but not too much. A cool reunion with Oscar. A lot of hinting about Alice’s past that whets your appetite for more. No profanities, but you’re left wondering what the relationship between Vincent and Echo is.
* Ep 13 — Taut, intriguingly complex, and leaves you hungry for more. One or two untranslated profanities (in the Saitei version). The atmosphere is thick and unsettling.
* Ep 14 — It’s still good, but it feels a little drawn out. The atmosphere is unbroken from before.
Ep 15 — Pretty good, but not great. The drama slides over into cheeziness a few places and it ends on a huge cliffhanger.
Ep 16 — It’s decent and emotionally consistent throughout, but it’s more focused on intrigue and less on gothic horror. By this point in the series I think they’ve figured out how to balance the lighter moments with the serious moments so that everything blends well.
Ep 17 — Below average. Ada is drawn like a ho. The ending dialog about heroism and self-sacrifice is cool, though. The rest is just too much silly drama and/or stuff that’s been done before. The poison? We just saw that when Sharon was kidnapped. The next ep looks good, though.
Ep 18 — Forgettable.
Ep 19 — Boring. The transformation of Oz from careless anti-hero into hero is a bit too preachy and sudden. I’d have written it differently or just not done it at all.
Ep 20 — This is all I can stand, really. Most of the episode focuses on the main characters getting drunk and Alice stripping. For bonus lameness, there’s porno sound effects. The last fourth tries to return to form but it’s really too late. The strong start of the series is wasted by a descent into typical anime` cliche`s and perversity. The whole mood of gothic doom is gone. The characters have lost their spark. The plot is predictable. It’s over.

Welcome to the graveyard, Pandora Hearts, and screw you for wasting my time and my emotions.

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