perfect score

Anime titles that managed to wring out a 10 out of 10 rating from me.

Quoted For Truth.

I started this blog from around the middle of 2006, and have reviewed more than 50 anime titles spanning more than 1500 episodes. Before that, I have also watched a lot of anime that I do not include in this blog. I’m saying this because the review for today is for the best ever anime I have watched since this blog was started, Capeta.

Our antagonist, Naomi Minamoto.

Taira Kappeita a.k.a. Capeta is a 10-year old boy who was given a makeshift go-kart by his father who feels guilty for leaving him alone at home for far too long. When Capeta gives the go-kart a spin at the nearby circuit, he meets Naomi Minamoto, a professional go-kart racer who is a year older than him. From there on, their rivalry started, and throughout this series, we got to see how Capeta tried hard to catch up to his more illustrious rival. There is virtually no romance here with only some funny scenes popping-up here and there in the serious business of kart racing.

Simply put, this anime proves that you do not have to have complex stories like the ones in Seirei no Moribito or Legend of Galactic Heroes to be super awesome and super successful. In essence, the story in this anime is typical for the genre, but what this anime has that makes up for that weakness is almost everything else; from character developments, character relationships, excellent flow of the story and many more. Unlike many of the sports anime out there, this anime is more realistic and tried to mimic the real world of racing. The only thing that can be considered typical is Taira’s phenomenal abilities to adapt to the conditions he were in. All the laws and techniques that applies to go-kart racing are explained as needed.

Sports anime usually put a lot of emphasis on hard-work, grit, determination, patience or <insert any good/positive values here> but Capeta takes this plot device to another level. No, it isn’t ‘another level’, more like ‘several levels’ or so. Coupled with the realism detailed above, it makes for a potent mix of dramatic and emotional scenes that at times droves me to tears. Episode 32 and the last episode are awesome on its own. The way Capeta and his friends work hard in the face of all the adversity they have to overcome is very different from other sports anime out there.

Character development is also one of the strength of this anime, especially for Taira Kappeita, his friend Andou Nobu and also Taira’s father Shige. Despite being not the main protagonist, Andou Nobu is easily the best character in the series. Originally a foe of Taira because of jealousy over a female friend, they eventually become friends because of go-kart racing. The relationships between these three people as they supported each other with all their might is also one of the great things that makes this anime so awesome.

The review above did not really do justice to this series. You really have to watch this anime to see the awesomeness of this anime.

One of the biggest reasons why this anime is awesome.

Character Design:-
It was pretty unique I think, and brown is really the new black these days. Not the prettiest but it serves its role well.

Men’s love + bestiality.

Voice acting:-
A positive point of this anime, voice acting especially for the main characters is excellent, especially for Mr. Manager Andou Nobu. The rest are decent too.

We’re gonna get RAPED!

Another positive point for this anime; the OST is great, while for themes, the 2nd OP and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th ED themes are good.

Yaoi at its best.

The animation is superb, which is another positive point of this anime. Action scenes come hard and fast, after all just like Initial D, this is a racing series. Integration between 2D and CGI scenes are done very well too. Directing is also excellent, ensuring the story flows very well and also managing to portray those racing scenes with nifty camera angles that I appreciate a lot. It wasn’t that perfect though (see below).

The driver is crazy for crying with helmet on or the director has screwed-up. I think it is the latter.

10 out of 10.
Fact:- This anime is better than Neon Genesis Evangelion, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Nodame Cantabile or the rest of the anime I have reviewed here to date. Capeta has now dislodged Azumanga Daioh to become the second best anime I watched in all time, just behind DNA2. This also means that from now on, sports anime genre will join the romance genre as the genre that will be judged with higher set of standard compared to other genres like comedy or slice-of-life etc.

Yet another parody of an anime Capeta has eclipsed, Initial D.

Huzzah for English in Japanese animation! It is not perfect, but a considerable improvement.

I watched this one way before this blog is started from original R1 DVDs, a long time ago. As I rummaged through my DVD collection, I managed to find this one and out of nostalgia, I rewatched it again. A series that is considered legendary by many fans, this Neon Genesis Evangelion anime is just as good as they have said.

The poster boy for everything emo in Japanese animation.

A teenage kid was forced to become a child soldier pilot for a robot by his own father to fight some monsters called ‘Angels’. Things become difficult when it becomes clear that the boy has some ‘problems’ and his colleague-pilots don’t seem to be sane either. Can a trio of problematic robot pilots save the world from devastation?

Those people who say that this anime is legendary are not kidding; this anime has a very good story. The series is really enjoyable and I can’t stop watching the anime whenever I have the time, just like Rozen Maiden did. The story flows freely and has decent character development that allows multiple characters to be strong or interesting enough to also support such a good story.

My only complaint will be the unorthodox ending, which consists of 2 episodes of counselling sessions for the main protagonist instead of a big huge battle against the big boss. The anime ended up with the main character becoming a little bit less emo, and that’s it. It could use some more oomph, that’s for sure.

And lastly I should note that none of the emo characters is as annoying like the main lead in La Corda anime. That’s a very good thing.

Very innovative design for an enemy combatant.

Character Design:-
Being another anime from the last century, the character design is surprisingly very well done. Like Kiba The TV Animation, the hero is sloppily designed but it meets the storyline perfectly (he has black hair too). The other 2 pilots also stand out especially the blue-haired one. All of the other main characters are not bad either.

Mecha designs are excellent too but for some questionable design for some of the Angels. Anyway, it is definitely a plus point of the series.

The scene of a homicide case.

Voice acting:-
Unlike the character design, voice acting here can only be described as generally good. This is to say, there are no screw-ups but no one outstanding either.

Another perfectly good green hill destroyed in the fight between good and evil.

The OST is average, the OP if forgettable but Fly Me to the Moon is a very good song.

One of the downsides of being an emo kid.

For its time, the animation is decent, and choreography and fast-paced scenes is not affected. The directing is superb, a far cry from Armitage III, and probably what makes the series good in the first place.

I have learned from this anime that penguins does not match well with spicy food.

I hereby award 10 out of 10 for this anime. Unlike Wolf’s Rain of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, this anime really fulfils my expectations. But if this anime were to compete with Nodame Cantabile for Anime Of The Year 2007, it will fail.

A robot stalking another. Only happens in the crazy world of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

This anime has its own whiny emo kid too.

My 4th review in less than a week, today comes my mini-review of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, another 2007 anime which automatically will put it in contention for my Anime of The Year 2007 award. Rated no.7 in Anime News Network as of writing, does this anime has what it takes to grab the title from Nodame Cantabile?

Simon and Kamina lives in an underground village and Kamina always have the desire to go to the surface. After Simon found a strange artifact right before an invasion of the village by mecha-piloting strange being called Beastmen, both of them managed to get to the surface of the Earth. There, they found out that Earth has been colonized by the afore-mentioned Beastmen who has driven all humans underground. From there on, both of them set to a journey to free humanity from those evil Beastmen and their leader Spiral/Helix King (pick what is appropriate).

This anime is actually seems to be in the same genre as the likes of Zoid Genesis and Chou Sei Shin series, which are mecha anime aimed primarily for elementary school kids. You know, the type of anime TV-Nihon fansubbing group specializing in? In fact, the storyline itself is typical of the genre, therefore making it pretty predictable to the likes of me who watched this kind of anime while I am still a kid.

But what makes Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann different from the rest is that Gainax takes the typical mainstream story this anime has, then polished it as shiny as possible and presented it as good as they can. Just like Tonagura, the great strength of this anime is their execution and presentation. Plus, it takes a leaf from Nodame Cantabile, and presented Simon, and to a lesser extent, Kamina, as 2 powerful characters that are able to drive the series forward.

Gainax has also moderates some (but not all) of the bad clichés associated with this kind of kid mecha genre, making it palatable to a wider audience. This is why positioning the story to revolve around a small drill is somewhat believable and even enjoyable. This series definitely does not have a great story (for that go look at Seirei no Moribito or Claymore) but the presentation/execution and also the character strength of the main characters more than make up for it.

Yeah baby, yeah!

Character Design:-
Basically, the character designs for human and beastly characters and the mecha too are typical of the kid mecha genre mentioned above. There are no attempts whatsoever to make it resemble mecha like in the series like Gundam or Heroic Age. This fit the kiddy story perfectly, or else I will question the shape of the iris in Nia’s eyes and label it bad character design. For kiddy anime, a higher degree of suspension of belief is needed.

Voice acting:-
The voice acting here is generally good, especially for Kamina. But not all main characters have good voice actors, because Simon’s voice, especially when he is still a kid, is average at best. And don’t get me started with Nia, because her case is one of Gainax’s failures at moderating the clichés in this genre.

The anime has great OST but the OP/ED themes are not.

The FLCL-esque animation techniques, especially in battles scenes, are awesome to watch. All of the actions are fluid (as it is with all 2007 anime I watched to date) even in fast scenes. Choreography can be way too fast though, but nothing that the CTRL + <– combo button in Media Player Classic cannot solve.

The directing in this series is phenomenal, just look at how the typical story that the series has being turned into a part of the package of an anime that is simply a masterpiece. Although he/she probably can do away with those overused flashbacks and also that single recap episode (yet another cliché Gainax fail to stamp out).

A perfect 10 out of 10, but Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann fails by a whisker to grab the Anime of The Year 2007 title from Nodame Cantabile. While both match each other in story and character design, Nodame Cantabile superiority in voice acting is cancelled out by Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann advantage in animation/direction. Nodame wins out at the end mainly because all of its OP/ED themes are great while this is not so for this series.

The resident emo kid just fired a fireball in anger.