22 Feb 2013

Welcome to the N.H.K.

Welcome to the N.H.K. or NHK ni Youkoso is an odd and eccentric anime. Satou Tatsuhiro is a young hikikomori, which is a lonesome person with a preference for absolute solitude. He lives in a small apartment, rarely leaving because he is terrified of the outside world. Satou is convinced everything that happens is due to a conspiracy. The N.H.K. are a tyrannical company, leading everything from the shadows. This story is about how a young and upbeat girl manages to bring Satou back into society.

Satou Tatsuhiro is a cynical and brilliant protagonist.

You get to meet a few different characters in N.H.K, including a rather humorous Otaku. However, the plot mostly centers around Satou and Misaki working together to solve their problems. You can tell the creators have tried to be controversial with this Slice-of-life anime. The characters are eccentric, some strange psychology and philosophical questions are discussed in length. It's a shame that both the anime and the manga try not to offend anyone. Some of the more scandalous yet interesting aspects of the manga such as drug taking have been completely removed in the anime.

Satou is an extreme introvert.

I feel Welcome to the N.H.K was just a little lacking. It had a lot of potential, and while the anime is a good watch overall it ends up just mediocre. If you're depressed or lonely, I believe the anime or manga would be greatly worth your time. A lot of the discussions are topics that introverts and lone people will usually ponder.

Misaki is adorable at times.

The graphics and sound are all passable and it's not bad to watch. Without fight scenes or extensive movement the animation is nothing out of the ordinary. While it tries to be different, N.H.K just seems very similar to dozens of anime that I've seen in the past.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this anime because of the place I was in when I initially watched it. However, I don't think I would ever watch it again. N.H.K is quite slow paced, and whilst it tries to break barriers and go against tried and tested anime conventions- it just doesn't go far enough to be special and stand out.

18 Feb 2013

Happy Birthday Dad

Since I'm poor and I can't find a suitable piece of paper to make my own card, I believe the next best thing is to write a post. I'm a pretty awful son, but saying Happy Birthday is the least I can do.

Happy Birthday Dad, thank you for all that you've given me and I hope you're enjoying your time off. I'm sorry for everything I put you through. I do wish I could bring more to the table. I'll say that I'll try to improve, but I don't know if I can hold myself to that.

I'm atrocious at dealing with family, but I do love you. Thank you for putting up with me.

2017 Edit: I take back all I said, you are an atrocious person go murder yourself.

11 Feb 2013

Samurai Champloo

Out of all the anime I have seen, not one has had fights as well animated as Samurai Champloo. They are entrancing, amazing, and an absolute joy to watch. The graphics are just phenomenal. Aside from that, it's mostly episodic, with little continuity in between episodes. It is a shame the story is a little flakey and lackluster- if it was better Samurai Champloo easily be at the top of everyone's anime list.

A scene from Samurai Champloo with the main characters
Mugen, Fuu, and Jin.

As this anime was directed by the guy who made Cowboy Bebop, you know that it's not going to be lacking quality. The graphics are stunning for a 2004 production, bringing superb combat animation and characters that look brilliant together. Usually when you're watching two people fight in an anime you don't even have to think about how they string the same sequence of frames together several times during the space of a couple of minutes. You can call it lazy, or just due to lack of budget or time. Regardless, I did not see this effect in Samurai Champloo. Each fight was fresh and a pleasure to watch.

Mugen and Jin fighting again in Samurai Champloo
Jin is a conventional Samurai.

Samurai Champloo has a typical cast of characters unusually banded together. Fuu is the main heroine; working in a tea shop. Jin is a stoic Samurai, your typical heroic warrior. Mugen is an anti-hero and likes to spill blood at every opportunity. It's not common to see a hero and anti-hero working together from the beginning. It's a premise that I want to see more often.

Mugen from Samurai Champloo being serious
Mugen is not so conventional.

The story is rather haphazard at best. When Fuu accidentally spills tea on the sadistic Daimyo's son, she lands in a dangerous position. Mugen happens to save her out of his love for bloodshed more than anything else. After decimating the Samurai guard, Jin walks into the tea house and is immediately assaulted by Mugen. So begins a fight to the death between two of the main characters. After a fire and a reasonable amount of collateral damage the heroes wake up in chains, set for execution. Jin and Mugen take a final stand, defeating dozens of opponents. Fuu helps them escape, on the condition that they help her find the Samurai that smells like sunflowers. So as I said, the story is nothing special.

A comedy scene from the anime Samurai Champloo
They make a good trio.

What you will get from watching Samurai Champloo is a fantastic well rounded anime with great fight scenes, cool characters, and inspiring visuals. There is jazzy hip-hop music and a matching style to suit it. It's one of the rare anime to have awesome opening music. Ultimately, if you decide to watch Samurai Champloo you will enjoy it. Jin and Mugen are a great duo, both equally cool in their own way. You will get to watch some amazing fights. Sure, the story is flimsy; but that's not what you're here for.

1 Feb 2013

Hellsing Ultimate

I know exactly where to start with this review. Hellsing Ultimate is badass. Sure, it features all of the usual anime aspects, drama and tension, character development and internal struggles. That's all accomplished through the side characters. However, the main character; Alucard- is the epitome of badass. He embodies the spirit of overpowered. If you want to watch an anime with some epic fights, epic vampires (for once), and epic animation- you'd better get to watching Hellsing Ultimate.

Alucard can essentially retreat into his own dimension when he gets pressed.

The plot behind Hellsing begins when Seras Victoria, a young girl unwittingly gets mixed up in a battle between vampires. Alucard saves her by turning her himself. Seras is incorporated into Hellsing, an organization dedicated to fighting off the supernatural threats to humanity. As you may have guessed, a lot of the focus is on the perspective of Seras as she learns about the history and enemies of the organization. However, as the story progresses you will find that the viewpoint shifts to every orifice of the battlefield, even giving in depth background knowledge of the evil Nazi empire opposing Alucard and the company.

Seras Victoria, the only person I can remember with a heart.

Alucard is rugged, indomitable, fearless, and every other synonym of awesome. I love this guy. He's not your average protagonist, he's barely even an anti-hero. Alucard isn't even Dracula. He's sadistic, evil, and enjoys inflicting pain as much as taking it. The other characters don't even hold a candle to how amazingly terrifying Alucard can be. The other main characters also have merit, Integra is the current leader of Hellsing and very mysterious. She is intelligent, dedicated, and always seems to be holding all the cards. She commands Alucard with respect, and allows him free authority over his tasks. Seras is naive, compassionate, and everything Hellsing is not. She struggles to adapt to her new vampire side, yet follows Alucard with unwavering loyalty. The various other characters that feature a spot over more than one episode have a well rounded personality that you can't help but wonder about. In other words, the characters are very well thought out and implemented. I was very intrigued whenever a new face was introduced, because I could tell there was a very rich backstory behind most of them.

He never takes anything seriously.

Hellsing Ultimate has a solid grasp on everything. The art and animation are consistently pretty, well; if you can find an appreciation for blood being painted all over the walls that is. It has a nice OST to back up the action, with lots of choruses and a dark theme which suits every situation. While there is a distinct lack of character development for the most part; it would really ruin the anime if they tried to change the already awesome personalities with a few badly placed epiphanies. Each episode is 40 minutes long, so if you enjoy Hellsing you will have plenty to watch.

Yes, even this wouldn't kill Alucard.

I'd suggest this anime to everyone, it's something you should check out at some point. It's not perfect, with the cold blooded nature of the characters it's not really possible to sympathize with anyone but Seras. Although each character appears to have a lot of depth initially, Hellsing Ultimate is mostly focused on leading you from fight to fight. Therefore don't watch it if you're expecting plot intricacy or astounding revelations. Hellsing Ultimate is about Alucard and the organization kicking the shit out of supernatural bad guys- and it is delivered brilliantly. Everything else is merely centric to this. So if you like badass fights, watch it.