All posts tagged CLAMP

Just like Darker Than Black, this anime also has those product placements for Pizza Hut.

If you are wondering why there are no reviews for the whole month of September, it is because I am in the midst of watching Urusei Yatsura, a 195-episode behemoth on an on-off basis. Then the last episode of Code Geass R2 was released and I went ahead to watch both seasons of this anime that I have always wanted to watch for quite some time. This series follows in the footsteps of Zero no Tsukaima in the fact that it will make a double assault upon Chocotto Sister and Wolf and Spice for Best Anime of the Year 2006 and 2008 titles respectively. Code Geass has a lot of considerable hype attached to it, so can it really live up to it?

Our main protagonist a.k.a. the best character in this series.

Lelouch ‘Zero’ Lamperouge, a prince of the Empire of Britannia that was banished alongside his sister to Japan a.k.a. Area 11 that has been colonized by the Empire, obtained the power of Geass that allowed him to make people to unconditionally obey him from a mysterious girl with bright green hair that he has saved from the military. Armed with his newly-found powers, he decided that his father deserved a kick in the ass and started a rebellion against the Empire while the mysterious girl piled up Pizza Hut points on his tab.

There are two majorly positive points that makes this series excels. The first is the character strength of the main protagonist. Lelouch Lamperouge can be best described as the amalgamation of the positive points of Yagami Raito of Death Note, Kaiser Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wenli of Legend of Galactic Heroes and Kaiji Itou of Kaiji. He has so much strength and appeal; he overshone everyone in the series, inclusive of the supposed-to-be-main-female-protagonist-but-ends-up-moonlighting-for-PizzaHut girl that gives him the Geass. Unfortunately, the director of this series makes some mistakes that tarnished this factor somewhat, which I will elaborate more about in the subsequent paragraphs below.

The second positive point I will mention here that gets the series going is the excellent storyline this anime has in general. Comparing between both seasons, I think the first season’s plot is better but contrary to what I have heard on the intertubes, the plot in the second season did not really regressed. Well, maybe it does during the last third of the second season. The plots flows very well with reasonably good pacing, complete with a couple of awesome plot-twist throughout the 50-episode run.

Now let’s go through the weaknesses of this series, where there are at least a couple of them. First is the aforementioned directing mistakes mentioned a couple of paragraphs above and has some bearings on the presentation of the story. The problem is the director (who seems to also write the story) uses some flimsy plot devices that simply aren’t convincing enough for me to believe that Lelouch can fool his enemies with. For example, Lelouch’s identity would have been revealed earlier in the second season with those cheap tricks of his if he were to face an adversary such as Conan Edogawa or even Yang Wenli. The director does not seem to be able to write elaborate/complex plots you can see mostly on detective or psychological warfare stories like Meitantei Conan, Kaiji and Legend of Galactic Heroes.

The second weakness of the series is the constructions of the endings of both seasons. Much has been said and commented upon about the cliffhanger ending of the first season; in fact, the reason why I do not watch the first season right-away is that I know that the first season ends in a cliffhanger. After watching it, the first season is indeed ending in a very good cliffhanger but my beef with the first season ending is that it ends up too abruptly for my liking. This series can thank up the heavens that I waited until all two seasons was completed or else a point would have been deducted from the rating.

Meanwhile, the ending of the second season is neat but you can really feel the aftermath of the cancelled 3rd season here. It simply does not have the same impact of the cliffhanger ending of the preceding first season or the beautiful ending that Code Geass R2 competitor, Wolf and Spice has.

Those Pizza Hut boxes and food looks so out of place in a party meant for aristocrat kids, am I right?

Character Design:-
A positive point of this anime, the character design by Clamp for this anime is excellent overall. There are marked improvements from what you can see in Chobits or Angelic Layer. Lack of black hair is forgiven in this version of Earth where Britannia seems to be in America instead of England.

Mecha-on-wheels-and-ropes designs are pretty well done, comparable to what you can see in Gundam series.

Voice Acting:-
The voice acting in this anime is decent in general, with Lelouch Lamperouge and Kururugi Suzaku being the standouts towering above the rest of the characters.

This Order of the Black Knight sounds so much like Al-Qaeda right?

This series has many OP/ED themes, but all of them are meh. Only the OST is pretty decent.

Another positive point of this anime, the animation of this series is excellent, even in fast-paced scenes. I noticed that there are reused scenes (not recap or flashbacks) though, especially in the first season. Action scenes choreography (there’s a lot of them here) is very innovative especially with the extensive use of cables; a good departure of mecha battles in Gundam 00.

Some of the beefs I have with the director has already been mentioned above, but I still think he/she has done well for this series.

The English in this anime is pretty decent, although there are a lot of copy-and-paste here.

The first season scored 9 out of 10 while the second season scored 8 out of 10. Average rating after I generously round the score up is 9 out of 10. Both seasons failed to challenge Chocotto Sister and Wolf and Spice and dethrone them. For now I will return to watching Urusei Yatsura and the next review is definitely of this one. The problem is that I have a little bit more of 100 episodes to go, so it may take some time (this review is probably the only one for this month). I have a lot of 2007 and 2008 anime titles piling up for me to watch (Monochrome Factor, World Destruction, Sekirei, ToLoveRu etc), so I will take everything one at a time.

This is what happened if Geass is abused.

Our overimaginative main protagonist.

My first review after the move to this wordpress blog is for Chobits, another Clamp’s anime. Well, it takes me 2 full days to copy all the posts in my old Windows Live Spaces blog to the new home. All posts tagged anime review – reposted are the ones that comes from the old site, while those that are tagged anime review only are originals written for this site. Now let’s move on with the review, which will be judged with a higher standard than normal because this title comes from romance genre.

Our main protagonist moved from the countryside to the city so that he can study for his university entrance exam. One night, he found a humanoid persocon (everyone in the anime seems to have one) being thrown away at the trash bin. He then brought the persocon home and he has to teach his new persocon a lot of things (except unfortunately, the things that matters).

One thing I noticed about this anime is that it copied what D.Gray-man has done and tried its best not to show any plots for the first half of the series. You will instead have to contend with episodes like the one where the whole cast went to the beach for summer vacation and others like that. At best, the first half of the anime can be said to aid character developments, but for 12 episodes? It is at the second half of this series that a plot emerges, and it wasn’t exactly a masterpiece in my opinion. Somehow, I think Angelic Layer is doing better when it comes to the quality of the storyline. The story is very predictable, and the same can also be said about the ending that can be seen from miles away.

Meanwhile, for all its worth, the story did flow smoothly, aided by excellent presentation. All the subplots loose ends are tied up well too. Character developments are done well but it only become apparent during the second half of the anime, building on what have happened on the first half. Sumomo is definitely my favorite character here, aided by a change of role that also happens in the second half of the anime. Do you notice by now that all events that matters only happens during the second half? This is why Chobits is inferior compared to the more straightforward Angelic Layer.

This anime can lose 6 to 8 episodes and you probably won’t notice.

Sumomo, the best character in this anime.

Character Design:-
Done by CLAMP, of course it is going to be good. Definitely a positive point of this anime, despite the lack of black hairs in this modern Japan.

Voice Acting:-
Unlike the character design, the voice acting in this anime is just average at best. No one stands out from the rest either.

For this section, this anime has good OP and 2nd ED themes. The OST and the other 2 ED themes, not so much.

The animation in this anime is good, even in fast-paced scenes. I have no comments about choreography because the action scenes here are basically non-existent. The director could have done something about the black hole in the first half of this anime, but I give him/her credit for the story presentation.

6 out of 10.
Well, not exactly that good isn’t it? Now let me get working more on the blog before I get another review in.

Never heard about this Red Hot Linux distro.

You are not an adult if I can be jailed for approaching you with a candy.

The second review for this year is also about based on a sport, albeit an artificial one. As promised, Angelic Layer is all about a sport called Angelic Layer. After this, I will complete the triple sport reviews with Capeta, another sports anime.

Misaki Suzuhara comes to Tokyo to attend middle-school when she finds out about the Angelic Layer game, incidentally a single-player game (to know how the game is played, watch the anime). As usual, just like other sports anime you and I have watched, the protagonist works her ass off (with guts and spirits as Hiramatsu in Aoki Densetsu Shoot! have said) to achieve the aim to become a NATIONAL champion. Some romance is thrown in for good measure too.

Almost everything that I have written in Aoki Densetsu Shoot! Review still applies to this anime. The story in Angelic Layer marginally better though, and it has a better ending too. Character development is better too even if this anime only has about half the run Aoki Densetsu Shoot! did.

Generally, the anime is doing well in this section, as most sports anime out there should.

Character Design:-
Made by CLAMP, the design in this anime is good. This is easily evident on both humans and the doll’s designs. It has the occasional black hair too, which is a good thing. Surely a plus point of this anime.

I have always thought this kind of thing did not happen in Japan. How wrong I can be.

Voice acting:-
A definite plus point of the anime, voice acting in this anime is excellent, aided by a heavyweight roster. The main protagonist voice actress really does her job here, because her voice is outstanding. Other is not bad either.

Another plus point for this anime. The OST and all OP/ED themes are great. Enough said.

The quality of the animation here is quite weird. It is average in non-battle scenes while being excellent while in battle scenes. The directing is average at best, sometimes exhibiting the inability to keep some dialogues from flowing freely. That somewhat reminds me of the Armitage III OVA, but at least Angelic Layer is not that bad compared to it.

8 out of 10.
A bit better than your typical sports anime. Capeta here I come.

Even at the age of electronic communications, is snail mail really needed? What happened to the near-instantaneous e-mail? Or the plain-old real-time telephone call?