Friday, October 29, 2010

Anime review: MS Igloo: Apocalypse 0079

Apocalypse 0079 picks up shortly after the conclusion of MS Igloo’s first chapter, The Hidden One Year War. The three episodes in this second half of the digitally animated OVA follow the crew of the Zeon ship Jotunheim as their experiments gradually move towards space and the battles that loom ahead as the One Year War draws towards its final days. While The Hidden One Year War focused largely on engineer Oliver May and recounted the various experiments from his personal point of view, Apocalypse 0079 balances the narrative more, giving Oliver, Lieutenant Commander Monique Cadillac, and Captain Martin Prochnow a major role. Other crew members aboard the Jotunheim who received little focus last time around are still given relatively minor roles, but are slightly more important in the grand scheme of the story.

Apocalypse 0079 ties in more directly with the events of the One Year War than The Hidden One Year War. From a high-velocity and heavily-equipped Z’Gok dropping from space in order to destroy Salamis and Magellan-class ships from leaving the EFSF in Jaburo, to the Jotunheim providing assistance at the battle of A Baoa Qu, things feel tightly meshed together. A few guest appearances along the way act as icing on the cake.

With The Hidden One Year War, the animation suffered marginally during the first two episodes. This time around a great attention to detail is taken into account and the animation remains consistent throughout. While there were a few cheesy moments thrown into The Hidden One Year War with deliberate comedic intent, these are almost completely removed from Apocalypse 0079 (with a few minor exceptions). Some may find this a bit upsetting, but it allows the story to stay more serious and focused. The soundtrack – which was almost nonexistent last time around – is sweeping and epic. Many of the pieces pay homage to the soundtrack of the original Mobile Suit Gundam with their overall sound, but at the same time the soundtrack stands out as a unique accompaniment to the OVA.

While the first episode of Apocalypse 0079 deals with an experiment isolated from those of the second and third episodes, it doesn’t feel too far removed and flows nicely with the overarching story. Viewers will feel a much greater connection with May and Cadillac than in the previous chapter of MS Igloo, and overall Apocalypse 0079 has a much more emotionally gripping story that is just as character-driven as that of The Hidden One Year War. With there being a mere three episodes, Bandai and Sunrise have packed as much material as possible into each and the end result is one of the best short OVAs - not just in the Gundam franchise, but of any anime ever made.

My rating: 9.75 (out of 10)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Anime update #4: "Is there a moon?"

I'm slowly but surely making my way through Mushi-Shi. I've been rather busy lately and overall the amount of anime I've been watching has dropped since school started back up for the Fall. However, I have started up on After War Gundam X, which - at least from my impressions thus far (being up to episode 13) - I find it to be one of the better alternate universe series. It has some major improvements over Gundam Wing, both in story and animation, but still holds some roots in the Universal Century mythos (which isn't a bad thing by any means).

As for Death Note, I'll get back to it when I feel like it. This final story arc is leaving a bad taste in my mouth and I feel the series should have ended shortly after the major plot twist at the end the second story arc. I understand that the creators wanted to milk the story for all it was worth (both in the anime and the manga), but this last bit being as subpar as it is really drags down the value of the series as a whole, in my opinion.

After the series mentioned above, I'm thinking of moving back to Full Metal Alchemist and Sgt. Frog (both of which I have yet to the second seasons). And from there... well, we'll see I suppose. I'm interested in viewing Eden of the East and there's a number of Gundam series, OVAs, and two films that I have not yet seen. As much as my viewing has slowed for the time being, I'm hoping it will pick back up the pace soon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Summer Wars trailer and (approximate) release date announced

Funimation has released an English trailer for Summer Wars, which will see limited theatrical release December of 2010 and later released on DVD/Blu-ray in Spring of 2011. The film looks pretty promising (from what the trailer revealed, it somewhat reminds me of the Digimon movie, ironically enough). Here's to hoping it's as excellent as it looks and to hoping that Funimation releases an update on Rebuild of Evangelion 2.22 - You Can [Not] Advance in the near future as well.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Gundam announcements from NYCC

Bandai announced at New York Comic-Con that there will be a US release of the original Mobile Suit Gundam in their anime legends collection. Also announced was the release of the second episode of Unicorn Gundam this November. This time around, however, Bandai will be releasing both a Blu-ray and a DVD (the latter of which will include both the first and second episode of Unicorn Gundam). Bandai is also planning the US release and dub of the Gundam 00 movie Awakening of the Trailblazer, though a release date has yet to be announced.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Shogun 2 Total War update: assassinations

New gameplay footage from Shogun 2 Total War was released just a few days ago, highlighting the new assassination option. Check out the video below:

I have to say, the environments look phenomenal and the detail in each soldier's armor is impressive. You can see these in greater detail in the gameplay trailer:

Finally, for those who have not yet seen the original announcement trailer for Shogun2 Total War:

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