Sunday, March 22, 2015
Anime Update: The Red Comet and Star Platinum
Yesterday, I watched the first entry in the Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin series of films. While I would not say that this first episode kicked things off to quite as strong a start as the most recent Universal Century OVA, Unicorn Gundam, it was a well-written and entertaining view nonetheless. Despite the name matching up with the recently-popularized manga retelling of the original Mobile Suit Gundam, which expands upon the story of the One Year War, this four-part anime release appears to be a prequel to that, seeing all the major players rise to their respective iconic roles.
This first film, Blue-Eyed Casval, deals almost exclusively with characters in the space colonies who will ultimately end up fighting for the Principality of Zeon, namely the Zabi family and Zeon Zum Deikun’s children, Casval and Artesia, who would later come to be better known as Sayla Mass and Char Aznable respectively. To finally see Zeon Zum Deikun’s death and the rising political tensions that led to the Zabi family’s rise to power and eventual declaration of war on the Earth Federation was long-overdue but no less impactful animated sequence as the first major events leading up to the One Year War. I certainly enjoyed seeing a younger Ramba Ral worked into the story, as his actions gave me a greater degree of respect for him as a character, while Char’s determination and focus at such a young age set the wheels in motion for his plans to exact revenge on the Zabi family for the death of his father. The occasional overly cartoony moments might appeal to younger audiences, but I found them a bit unnatural, even clunky in execution, given the more serious and tense atmosphere of Blue-Eyed Casval on the whole.
Despite my habit of sometimes picking up a longer anime series to view, watching for a while, moving on to another anime, then coming back again many months later to pick up where I last left off, I am now a mere five episodes from the finale of Victory Gundam. I intend to finish this soon, as I want to give the current G-Reko series a shot, but not before I’ve finished my viewing of Victory. While Gundam AGE and the Build Fighters series both failed to entice me, G-Reco’s highly-creative mobile suit designs and certain sensibilities that seemingly harken back to Turn A Gundam have me intrigued. As G-Reco is currently airing and thus not yet complete, I will likely balance my viewing of that with at least one other anime – be it one of the two remaining Gundam series I have yet to watch in full (Mobile Suit Gundam, ZZ Gundam) or something entirely unrelated to Bandai and Sunrise’s long-running franchise.
I’m still loving the current run of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, and if the most recent two-part encounter with D’arby the Gambler was any indication, the best episodes may yet lie on the horizon. Strong as the series has been since the beginning, the first season of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure displayed a similar increase in quality in later episodes, with the Battle Tendency arc being more of both a visual and narrative spectacle than its precursor, Phantom Blood. While I was plugging away at Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 this Winter, it has since been removed from Netflix’s offerings, and thus I will have to find another means of viewing the series if I intend to see it to completion.
I found myself rather disappointed with the original Ghost in the Shell’s narrative suddenly dropping off at the end of the 1995 film, but the recent reimagining known as Ghost in the Shell: Arise is currently available on Netflix, and I decided to give the first hour-long episode a try. Unfortunately, it did as little to keep me entertained as the few episodes of Stand Alone Complex I have seen ever did. Arise’s blundering gaps in logic as well as its obsession with not including viewers in on what would seem like prominent chunks of information have led me to effectively resign the entire Ghost in the Shell franchise as one of those properties that thinks itself much smarter than it actually is, and subsequently a property that I will not be wasting any more of my time on.
I intend to take my time with the third season of Sgt. Frog, as it is the last season that was localized by Funimation for North American release. There is a strong chance that I may see this third season to completion by the end of the year and review it accordingly, as I do love the series’ wacky humor in its pop culture references and the general behavior of the characters. With all of this in mind, the rest of the year is largely a blank slate with regards to my anime viewing plans, as Unicorn Gundam has entirely wrapped up, and other recent series I was viewing, like The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, I have since completed.