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"The 'What Anime Are You Watching Right Now' Thread vFFS"



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0
 01.27.2012 9:08am


tenken
Hooligan



I never bothered to check out the new Last Exile "Fam the Silver Wing."  If it's good, let me know; the rumblings I'd heard were to the contrary, though.

Anyway, Lews...man, it looks like we have opposite stances on the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise.  I know the first series is rooted in a lot of viewers' hearts because well...it came first, and swept up the imaginations of all the viewers.  Watching Brotherhood, however, I just felt it was so much better put-together.  Sure, they might be accused of rushing the content of the first 13 episodes or so, but the pacing didn't bother me too much - I'd rather have it a bit on the breakneck side than drug out too long.  The endgames are where the starkest differences lie, and I think the plot the original show's writers came up with when left to their own devices was kind of bad.  At the very minimum, it was really outshone by Brotherhood's epic "The Promised Day" endgame set of episodes (which is like...almost 20 episodes!).  I guess it's just a "your mileage may vary" thing.  I already liked the characters from the first series, but not the direction the story went, so the chance for a "re-do" as it is writ in the manga was fantastic.

Anyway, here's what I've been watching:

Broken Blade - Also known as "Break Blade", this show is composed of 6 1-hour "movie" episodes.  It's sort of a strange blend of low-fantasy politics mashed up with mechs.  The people who are born on this world can control quartz - like, psychically control it.  So they've refined various strains of quarts like our world does metal, and use their ability to control it to do things like drive mechs built out of it to tend to border skirmishes.  In the beginning, the main character - who was born without the ability to control this quartz - is summoned before the king of his land under the belief that he may be able to ride an ancient mech they've dug up - one that can't be controlled at all by a quartz-manipulator.

The story is pretty engaging, and the visuals are top-rate - though since a lot of the backgrounds are computer-assisted, you see a lot of rocks and canyons when the squads are out in the field, and only in the city scenes do you get a brighter splash of color.  Those city scenes are, consequently, where the visual design of the series shines strongest.  The main character is a bit bland, perhaps because those immediately surrounding him have more colorful personalities, but he doesn't really grate, and he's at least not an idiot protagonist, thankfully.  My only real gripe with this series is that while it closes out with the resolution of a major plot point, it feels like there are more things left unresolved than resolved.  Later, I found Broken Blade is actually adapted from a manga, so I guess that makes sense.  But I still wish I could see how everything turns out.

If you enjoy a bit more grit with your mechs - or mech shows in an antiquated setting instead of a futuristic one (like...uh...I dunno, Escaflowne or Sakura Wars?), you might enjoy Broken Blade.

Xam'd: Lost Memories - I'm going to start righting a grievous wrong right here: I'm going to start telling people about this show.  Xam'd had been in my "peripheral vision" of anime since it launched way back in 2008.  Its claim to "fame" was that it was an original high-quality anime that would premiere and run on PlayStation Network, instead of a TV channel - and it would air in both Japan and North America.  Unfortunately, after that, it apparently dropped off everyone's radar, since solid info about it is surprisingly less common than for most series.  But Xam'd has a notable pedigree: it's from Studio Bones, its director was the assistant director on Spirited Away, and it sports an excellent soundtrack by Michiru Oshima.

It's difficult to explain the premise of Xam'd; it takes place in a world that in many ways is like Earth, but is not Earth (like Earth with Alternate Universe culture that reminds you of certain cultures in the real world).  If you got the impression from anything you saw or read about Xam'd that the series is about  a high school boy who turns into a plastic-y white monster with orange detailing and a phallic head to fight bad guys, let me put your fears to rest: the series is so not about that.

Well...yes, he does turn into that form.  But he does so a surprisingly conservative number of times over the course of the series.  Scryed's alter-users he is not.  Xam'd is a series that seemingly purports to be an action series, but it's really much more of a drama.  The Studio Bones pedigree shines through - if you've seen RahXephon, and especially if you've seen Eureka Seven, Xam'd channels the best aspects of those series (sometimes it just straight-up cribs things too).

I thought it interesting that I finally saw this series at a time when I was pondering the concept of "show, not tell" in storytelling, because Xam'd is much, much more into "show, not tell" than most anime are.  Xam'd very seldom has expository dialogue to do things like explain why the northern and southern continents are at war, how the religion that many of the show's characters believe in operates, why Xam'ds can do what they do, or the various histories of the characters.  We just catch glimpses, and surprisingly, that's usually enough to go on that we can build a solid enough framework.  In that way, I feel like Xam'd is a maturely-told story that respects the intelligence and cognizing abilities of its viewers.

Now, someone could also fire back with "This show has a bunch of sci-fi/fantasy-ish concepts that are nebulously explained!  You know what that is?  TECHNOBABBLE."  Personally, I don't think so, but that's why the concept of "show, not tell" intrigues me - because it's very easy to fall into the trap of "showing and not telling" to the point that a plot or characters' motives become obfuscated, and completely obtuse.  For that reason, and because I'm just someone who likes to watch interesting worlds being built as stories are told, I tend to lean toward liking exposition that tells me all about this or that.  But the restraint Xam'd showed in telling as much of that stuff as it could by the visuals and leaving the words to express character relationships felt like a sign of surprising dignity and restraint on behalf of the studio's staff.

I don't really want to get too much into the plot (the Wikipedia synopsis is pretty non-spoilery; in fact, you'd probably have to snoop around to find any reviews that discuss even the second half of the series in any detail), but I found it fulfilling.  The emotions didn't feel forced, and the main character, though kind of a 'regular guy', was well-grounded.  At 26 episodes, I think it could have been maybe 13 episodes longer and felt more fleshed-out for it, but Eureka Seven was 52 episodes and I felt that series was a bit too loose in its pacing; could have easily been 13 episodes shorter.  Length is a dangerous thing - too little and you find yourself wishing you got to see into the lives of the cast a bit more; see additional events in the story that help develop them even more.  But too much length and a series feels slack, like a living room full of teens draped over a couch saying "Duuuuuude, I'm bored."  Which is preferable depends on what kind of series we're dealing with, but I'm okay with a Xam'd that's a little tightly paced, rather than one with too much time to twiddle its thumbs.

I never see people talk about this show; I think most people totally forgot it even existed.  Well, I'm here to tell you not to forget Xam'd.  Watch Xam'd!  It's home to some really beautiful art, design, and animation.  If you liked RahXephon or Eureka Seven, there's definitely something for you here.  If you just want something that delivers more than you expect, or looking for something that's distinctly a level above most things released in the last couple years, give Xam'd a try.  This one deserves to catch a second wind.




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0
 01.30.2012 1:49am


Lews
Lord of the Morning



Ah, crap.  I just referred to the last part of season 3 as "the last few episodes (of the entire series)".  I had no idea it goes on for another 2 seasons, with 64 episodes in total as opposed to 39 O_____o

I'm glad, too.  Like you said, Tenk, I felt like Brotherhood was much better put together and just had the overall feeling of a much better quality show than the original anime, and to see it end suddenly like that would have been a let-down.  Turns out the "meh" feeling I got from the start of season 3 really turned into a "wow" by the end of it.  Just for this series alone I renewed my Hulu Plus subscription so I could finish the series (well, that and new episodes of Glee).  For some reason, Netflix streaming only has the first three seasons, while Hulu has all 64 episodes.




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0
 01.31.2012 3:18pm
Thread Creator

Indiana Jerico
Sinfully Delicious v2
Administrator



Watching Trigun for the first time. For some reason, watching the characters reminds me of FFO circa '99 ~ '00.


===

"Plans? What plans? I'm making this up as I go!"








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0
 02.01.2012 1:12am


greenyxi
Let's Player



I'm watching:

Persona 4 - this one's actually much better than I expected from an anime that originated from a game. Loving the latest episodes the most, with their seemingly random songs added here and there.

Mirai Nikki - Also really good. Dark, mysterious, characters that die off now and again. Highly recommended! :D



My most recent 3 let's plays:

Zelda: Oracle of Seasons - Link (Din, Onox, Maku...I'm so funny)
Killer7 (Completed) - Link
Luigi's Mansion (Completed!) - Link
My main youtube page: Link




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0
 02.03.2012 12:15am


Feanor
Dominator



Indiana Jerico said:

Watching Trigun for the first time. For some reason, watching the characters reminds me of FFO circa '99 ~ '00.

Too much nostalgia right there.


And Xam'd is awesome, Tenk! Glad you like it. It's not perfect - I think the entire background conflict is left way too vague - but it's a really solid series that I enjoyed a hell of a lot (and those production values!), so that I have recommended to people along the way as well.

I really didn't watch anything in January though. I started Madoka (again) but I still just do not get why people like this series or think it's anywhere near amazing. Shit, when I saw the ads for it I thought the series was a joke it seemed populated with so many clichés. Now I've struggled through half the series I realise this is actually what it is!

Guh, I don't get it. I guess that episode three twist hooked some people but it's nothing I didn't see in Nadesico about ten years ago. And, okay, maybe being a magical girl is all sinister this time around but when the execution is so banal I struggle to care. It would be noticeably better though if the characters didn't all have those pudding bowl heads and SHAFT actually had a budget to spend.

I don't know what is airing this season but there wasn't anything really from the last season that hooked me in (though I do need to try the Last Exile sequel). Will have to do some research (or download a tonne of first episodes) and see what's new and decent.




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0
 02.03.2012 6:27am


Lews
Lord of the Morning



Downloading the first episode of the new season's shows is usually what I tend to do in order to get a feel of what the show's about.  You can usually tell right off the bat what the rest of the episodes will encompass, at least as far as the general mood of the series.  If the first episode doesn't jump out at me and scream "this is it" then it's usually not worth the time, considering the mass attack of mediocre shit that's been put out in the last 3 years (since i've been following up-to-date releases).

Madoka was actually one of those shows that really seemed to outshine the rest of the crap.  Looking at the preview, I had absolutely no interest in it.  But after constantly hearing about it several months after it was all over, I decided to give it a shot.  I can't remember the exact episode that hooked me, but it was fairly early on and just came off and suddenly very interesting and I went on a marathon over the next couple of nights in order to finish it.  I still preferred Steins;Gate  for 2011, but Madoka was a very close 2nd, followed by Bunny Drop (need more of this).




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0
 02.03.2012 10:28pm


JSG
Registered Member



Feanor said:

Indiana Jerico said:

Watching Trigun for the first time. For some reason, watching the characters reminds me of FFO circa '99 ~ '00.

Too much nostalgia right there.


And Xam'd is awesome, Tenk! Glad you like it. It's not perfect - I think the entire background conflict is left way too vague - but it's a really solid series that I enjoyed a hell of a lot (and those production values!), so that I have recommended to people along the way as well.

I really didn't watch anything in January though. I started Madoka (again) but I still just do not get why people like this series or think it's anywhere near amazing. Shit, when I saw the ads for it I thought the series was a joke it seemed populated with so many clichés. Now I've struggled through half the series I realise this is actually what it is!

Guh, I don't get it. I guess that episode three twist hooked some people but it's nothing I didn't see in Nadesico about ten years ago. And, okay, maybe being a magical girl is all sinister this time around but when the execution is so banal I struggle to care. It would be noticeably better though if the characters didn't all have those pudding bowl heads and SHAFT actually had a budget to spend.

I don't know what is airing this season but there wasn't anything really from the last season that hooked me in (though I do need to try the Last Exile sequel). Will have to do some research (or download a tonne of first episodes) and see what's new and decent.

And here I thought I was the only person that didn't like Madoka.  I finished the series and still have a hard time seeing where the appeal comes from.

I've been looking for something new to watch lately but I just can't find something interesting.  And I don't even mean recently made new, I mean new to me new.  It almost feels like I've seen every anime that I want to see, but I know there's still dozens of good things out there that I just haven't heard of.  I saw Michiko and Hatchin a couple months back and that was great, but I haven't found anything since.

So I've been watching some old favorites lately.  Cowboy Bebop, Wolf's Rain, Ergo Proxy, Gungrave.

Anything along the lines of the series I  just  listed out there worth watching?  Apparently my taste in anime these days seems to center around (anime's version of) realism, strong bonds formed slowly over time, a good amount of grit.




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0
 02.04.2012 2:23am


CaButler
Winter Knight of the Unseelie Court



I don't know if anybody else has been watching Guilty Crown, but the latest episode was quite the episode.

Especially with what happened in the second half of the episode.




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0
 02.04.2012 5:05pm


Plumbum
Why? Because I can of course!



Thanks for the information on the Last Exile sequel guys. :)




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0
 02.06.2012 9:31pm


Veers
Flying High



I don't know if anybody else has been watching Guilty Crown
Gave up on that garbage months ago.




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0
 02.12.2012 3:32pm


amaron
No answer, must be that deaf bitch.



I'm not an anime person at all... but for some reason I watched Clannad on Netflix and really enjoyed it.




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0
 02.13.2012 6:16am


Lews
Lord of the Morning



Man, Clannad After Story hit me hard.  I've never been watching something before and just had to stop watching altogether because it was so powerful and hit so close to my heart.  This was about 2 years ago, and to this day I still cannot bring myself to finish watching it, much as I want to.




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0
 02.13.2012 1:08pm


amaron
No answer, must be that deaf bitch.



Lews said:

Man, Clannad After Story hit me hard.  I've never been watching something before and just had to stop watching altogether because it was so powerful and hit so close to my heart.  This was about 2 years ago, and to this day I still cannot bring myself to finish watching it, much as I want to.

You should one of these days... that's all I'll say.




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0
 02.14.2012 1:15pm


Crusader
Not Even My Dad Hit Me



Just started watching the Dirty Pair OVA.  It seems like they were trying to go for a second season and got rebuffed by Sunrise or whatever.  A shame.  Better written than the TV show.








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0
 02.15.2012 1:43am


greenyxi
Let's Player



I'm still watching Persona 4 and Mirai Nikki (both I'd recommend so far), but I've added Gundam Wing Remastered to my viewings. It was recommended by a mate, and it's my first viewing of anything Gundam or even Mecha:
Enjoying the OP, music and characters loads. Lots of over-dramatic stuff too, which I like :)




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