Posts Tagged ‘horror’

I had such high hopes for this, after watching the first few episodes. It looked to be an steampunk/horror mix, although not as interesting as D-Gray Man. By episode sixteen, I was through.

Although I was no fan of the increasing profanity, what killed the deal was the fact that the mangkata behind the series had not planned out what was going to happen next. You know the deal. Mystery characters start showing up, and this redefines everything you’ve seen and experienced up until this point, because the guy was too lazy to use any foreshadowing. As a result, the series took a dive into soap opera land, where main characters become bad guys because, because, well, I dunno. With the plot on ice and the characterization gone, I was gone.

Now this series was never really deep and it was at times a bit too over-the-top with all the speech-making, but the characters sucked me in. Toshiko-san is pretty much what every geek guy wants in a girl: someone into the same stuff, and thus someone that gets him, and can respect him. The opening theme song shows this well: the two of them together charging hard at some off-screen enemy.

Ah well, another case of anime` fail. Welcome to the graveyard, Busou Renkin.

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Although I watched Another all the way through, I can’t recommend it. It’s the classic tale of anime gone wrong: an incredible start followed by increasingly poor episodes that by the end become unconscious self-parody. Still, the first three episodes are very well done, and worth keeping even if the rest of the series fails.

Another is the story of a cursed class whose members and relatives die under mysterious circumstances every year. This is horror, and initially, it’s done right: atmospheric music, taut characterization, and eeriness without gore. By the fourth episode, gore has replaced the atmosphere, and the series is off the rails by episode five. The series contains no sexual content, occasional profanities, and tons of blood and gore. Be warned. It’s not subtle stuff, and that’s another tragedy. It didn’t have to be dehumanizing. Anyhow, here’s my short guide.

1 – Excellent. The intro music is out of place, though; but once the show starts, the creeping dread settles on you like a funeral shroud. The music is perfect; the sound effects, dead on; the characterization and the plot and the atmosphere are all pushing 10. So far, some gore, no profanity, but tons of atmosphere. This is one that you want to not watch anything else afterwards, just to keep feeling the frissions of creepiness.

2 – A little slower-paced, but still creepy as all get out. The music in this series always keeps you on edge. The ending theme, is the perfect counterpart, slow-moving and beautifully sad. You start to see the little touches that make this series stand out. The scene in the doll house is amazing.

3 – The ravens gather. The beginning is creepy, very unsettling, and the MC slowly finds out what is going on through the story of 26 years ago, Misaki, and the warnings of the class. The ending is gory, but it’s not exploitatively so. I’d say this is somewhere between 2 and 1 in terms of quality.

4 – The atmosphere is still good, one profanity, but the merciless ending is something that is getting to me. There’s not enough exploration of the grief, and the deaths are just random and brutal. The music is still good and the whole outsider/secret angle is used well.

5- WHAT? In a single word, lame. All of the supernatural fear and horror are drained out of the show, leaving just another boring girl/guy thing, since the charm (the shunning) works. I swear. The emotional jags that anime series take sometimes utterly mystify me. Why build up all this atmosphere if you’re just going to dissipate it and let it come to nothing?

6 – OK. The atmosphere returns to some degree, and a total cliffhanger ending.

7 – The beginning is completely gory, and the emotions that the class has to deal with are never even addressed. There’s some creepiness at the end, but it’s like the series has become schizo. The atmosphere is gone, the characterization is gone.

8 – No prurient camera angles, but there’s a lot of girls in swimsuits. Another pointlessly gory ending. The characterization is barely there. No atmosphere.

9 – Some attempt at restoring the atmosphere, but it’s ruined by the pointless deaths. They do explain the ending of the prior episode, but it’s become an emotionless by-the-numbers gore thing by now.

10 – Ok, this one is good. There is only one death at the end, and the rest is atmosphere, although it’s not as compelling as in the early episodes.

11 – Incredibly bad. People go crazy for no reason, tons of blood and gore, not scary, just by-the-numbers and stupid.

12 – Again, just bad. Lots of people die and they die in silly, stupid ways. It’s done to excess and the dead person is such a freaking deus ex machina that you’d never suspect it in a thousand years. There was literally no way to predict. The emotional wrap up is absent — there’s no greater relevance, no spiritual point, the people just survive and that’s it. The closing scene is pointless.

If you want it, you can find it at the torrent hole of your choice. Quite a few groups did this one, with ReinWeiss doing the best job, in my opinion.

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Bride of Deimos falls into one of my favorite anime` sub-genres that I never knew existed: shoujo horror. The only other example that I know of is Vampire Knight which was often compromised by Yuki’s senseless actions and spacing out in the midst of danger. Here, Minako cuts a much better form.

Bride of Deimos is a movie from 1987, and it holds up well for its age. The animation style is a bit static in several places, relying on the pan/zoom techniques, and while the music is of the late 80’s dark-synth goth variety, overall, it’s done well. Some movies lose their lustre as they age; others hold on to it; BOD falls into the latter category. The vibe here is timeless, wronged innocence, and squeamish horror. (Yes, it actually does work.)

You’ll suspect the ending probably within ten minutes, but the ride is still worthwhile. The setup is that Minako has a friend, Hisamatsu, who is an amateur botanist. He’s entered the Grand Prix for botany and wants to discover more about Ohba Tohko, who takes the prize every year. Even Minako is fascinated by the Snow Goddess, a stunningly beautiful, albeit cold, orchid of hers.

Hisamatsu looks up Ohba Tohko and then disappears. Minako is the last one to see him alive, so she goes to Tohko’s as well. Deimos appears and states that she will be his bride. She escapes him with a powerful purse-to-the-cheek maneuver and runs to the mansion despite his warnings. There she discovers Hisamatsu’s notebook. She returns with the chief of police, and through repeated visits, unfurls the horrific secrets of the prize-winning orchids. At the end, Deimos gives a fittingly morbid summary and then vows to return for Minako.

Bride of Deimos is effective because it’s consistent. No element is out of place; everything works together, layering one stone upon another, in a crypt of fear. You don’t have to give the plot a pass in too many places, and those that you do are pretty standard. It sticks with you, from the eerie synths to the tortured Deimos to the even-still-more-tortured Minako. Impressively, BOD achieves this without a single profanity or risque scene. As it’s horror, there is blood, and semi-gory scenes, but they are not particularly graphic. BOD doesn’t need gore to send chills up your spine.

However, the movie leaves a lot of questions if you don’t know the backstory. Bride of Deimos is a movie adaption of a particular manga episode from a long-running manga series by the same name. The manga ran from the ’70’s into the 80’s. For a good explanation, see Jason Thompson’s House of a 1000 anime` (warning: profanity).

It’s haunting.

Grab it at the torrent hole of your choice, and thank Bluefixer subs for this if you have the chance. (For some reason, BOD is not listed on their blog.)

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Anime` fail is a syndrome common to most anime`s — they start out with a bang and then quickly devolve into stupidity, perviness, lameness, or all three. Somewhere along the way (usually episode 6 or 7) the writers will come back from their sake-inspired hiatus and create another good episode, and then leave the rest of the series to rot. Ookamikakushi is a case study in anime` fail.

That they took such a potent mix of theme, atmosphere, and characters and just peed it all away is even more frustrating. Basically, Hiro and his family move to a new town for his father’s employment. Hiro is immediately liked by everyone (especially Suzukara), but people quickly start disappearing. The camera angles and the special effects cooperate, early on, to create a tense, pulse-pounding conspiracy of fear. Later, why Hiro is so irresistible is explained as the mysteries around the town start to reveal themselves. There is occasional blood, but not gore; there are a few profanities every other episode, and there are some suggestive scenes that were not handled with much class or taste. Towards the end, the theology wanders off into typical Shintoistic crazy-land, too.

Here’s the short guide if you’re interested.

* 1– When I saw the preview, I thought that it was another perv series. It’s not. It’s a horror series that creeps up on you and unsettles you pace by pace, at least until the very end where it gets a bit obvious. It gives a different spin on some familiar anime` settings and there’s no profanity.
2 — Not as good as the first. The preview looks even stupider. Geez, what happened? The atmosphere is still unsettling, just not as intense as the first. I get the feeling that while the point may be good, they will just trash it up en route. This episode has a hint of perviness and it looks like it’s downhill from here.
3 – Pervy. Why do series always have to take a trip into the toilet?
4 – Good. Eerie but herky-jerky. The MC gets a big clue as to what’s going on.
5 – Middling, but the ending is a revelation.
6 – Not all that. The focus going in and out is annoying, and there’s perviness. The whole atmosphere isn’t consistent from show to show. I want to quit.
7 – Good. Things get complex.
* 8 – Very very good. One profanity. The whole episode is tense.
9 – This is a really weird and disturbing combination of barely-repressed erotica and horror. It’s a little bit more than I can handle. I don’t think this is a good thing to watch, really.
10 – Just kinda there.
11 – LAME. The ending is stupid on about twenty different levels; the whole feel is totally different than the series, and it’s just not convincing. There is a preview at the end for something that looks even more unrealistic and crazy.
12 – LAME. I get the feeling that this is a bonus episode, but it’s basically a self-parody. Why bother?

Welcome to the graveyard and screw you for wasting my time, Ookamikakushi!

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I never thought I’d see a series like this one, and I hope I never see one again. Chaos Head is a bait-and-switch campaign of the highest order. You think you’re getting some spooky, cutting edge, memory/coverup kind of thing, but all you really get is a harem anime` with blood. Oh, and the main character is an unlikeable, pervy otaku.

I made my way through four episodes before giving up — there was just too many risque` elements and the plot formula was unescapable. Every episode introduces yet another potential love interest who turns out to not be what she seems. Even the weird elements play out predictably (ooh, one of the girls is a singer in a goth band whose lyrics are being used in the murders). Like we haven’t seen that one a bazillion times before.

Chaos Head had a lot of potential, but like a lot of anime`s, that’s all that it ends up with: potential. Welcome to the graveyard.

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Claymore Guide

Claymore is a medieval horror anime` that deals with female demon-hunters (Claymores) who are part-demon themselves.

The series starts out with a strong premise but loses its way, becoming yet-another critique of the “organization”, which is probably a code word for the church. Though some details of medieval life are accurate, the language is not. After a while, the pornographic camera angles and the boobs show up, and there’s even a GD late on.

Basically, the early episodes are interesting — 1-8. Episode 19 is good; 20 is ok, and 21 is somewhere between. The last few episodes take forever to resolve, and the ending is just ok. Watch the last five minutes or so if you’re really interested. It does has a strong forward momentum which makes you want to see what’s next because you care for the characters (Raki and Claire, primarily). Finally, there is a ton of blood and gore.

In the end, it’s another sadly typical anime` that starts with an interesting theme but eventually devolves into moral ambiguity, profanity, and prurience.

Official site (English): Funimation

Official site (Japanese): J-Claymore

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