Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Anime Anime

A few months back I've started watching anime again, mainly because I'm downloading videos for friends and it'd be ironic if I didn't get to watch the shows. Anyway, here are two anime shows that has a special place in my heart.

The first is Martian Successor Nadesico, a show from the late 90's. It's not the first time I've heard of the show but it's only lately did I get to watch the series in its entirety. What appeals to me is its post-modern take on the mecha genre. Aside from the anime-within-an-anime (Gekiganger 3), the plot and pacing draws upon two decades of anime and makes a parody of it. The resolution of the TV series is also priceless, a stark contrast to how similar shows end. Even character death is handled very differently, everything from anti-climatic to seemingly meaningless (but every death has a meaning). Suffice to say, Nadesico is a meta-anime. Or if you've been trapped in a cave for the past two decades, just enjoy it for sheer pleasure.

The other series which I'm engrossed right now is much much older, a product of the 80's lasting until the mid-90's. The title is Legend of Galactic Heroes, a 110-episode anime based on a popular Japanese novel (which is actually quite common). Of course while its track record of 110 episodes is spectacular, what makes it interesting is that it's an OAV release, which is the equivalent of a video-only release. Imagine selling a show through direct-to-video sales alone, and lasting nearly a decade at that.

With regards to the show itself, I just finished the first season and I was blown away. Legend of Galactic Heroes is this huge military space opera, and before I started watching it, I expected there'll be parts where I'll simply get bored. I was wrong though and every episode is as captivating and enthralling as the first, or the last. It also uses a peculiar technique as two worlds are at war and the two protagonists belong to opposite sides. While the two heroes share much similarities with each other, they're also foils of one another and this is developed as the story progresses. A hallmark of the series is its character development as well as the mortality of its characters (this is a war after all). If there's anythng to complain about, it's the cast of thousands which the anime employs. I mean if any of Harry Turtledove's books or Erik Stevenson's Mallazan series was ever turned into an anime, it'd have the same number of supporting cast as Legend of Galactic Heroes.

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