Posts Tagged 'secret santa project'

Anime Secret Santa 2013: Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth

By TheBigN

“It takes a while to get used to.” – Clarisse, on many things the characters face in this show.

The first thing I thought about the show after the first episode was that Yune was a pretty brave person. The main character of Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth, her story begins in Paris, France in the 19th century after what seems to be tagging along with a French traveller, Oscar Claudel, in his journey from Japan in order to help out at his grandson’s ironwork shop. Why this happens, how it happens, and what Yune aimed to do weren’t being listed, and barely glossed over during the course of the show (other than Yune’s helping out seemed to be more like being a maid than anything else), because that apparently is not the point. Rather, our goal is to see Yune, and Oscar’s grandson Claude, try to start to make sense of different cultures (Yune’s Nagasaki heritage vs Claude’s middle-class upbringing in a turn of the century France) as she does what apparently amounts to a homestay at that point in time.  One of the things that was endearing to me about her was her willingness to go full throttle with trying to understand a new culture and a new country. Things noticed include initially finding out how much she prepared for this trip in the first episode language-wise, or her struggles later on in trying to become tolerant of some idiosyncratic food (lol cheese) to help prepare meals for her housemates better.  As someone who’s fairly hesitant to abruptly change things, as well as someone only having been outside of his country once years before with family in tow, Yune’s courage was impressive.

And adorable. Her courage was adorable.

And adorable. Her courage was adorable.

Continue reading ‘Anime Secret Santa 2013: Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth’

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Secret Santa 2010: Bartender

This is the second post of 2 from DMAB participating in the Reverse Thieves’ Secret Santa Project for this year.

“In happy times, one cocktail is enough, because anything you drink will taste good. But, if there a hundred shapes of unhappiness, I want to be a bartender who will make a hundred cocktails to soothe unhappiness.”

When Bartender first came out in 2006, I watched the first episode, felt like I’d get back to it, and never did until now. Probably because around that time I was still one year away from legally being able to drink. To be honest, I feel like it was a good thing that I waited to watch the show, since I’m not sure that I really could get it back then. And I’m not even sure that I totally get it now, since I don’t even really drink that much (I can count on my hand the amount of times I’ve had alcohol this year. That’s more than usual, and always a little bit of alcohol that was never enough to even give me a buzz. But I digress). However, I could get the general idea at the time; the experiences of a young bartender at a secluded bar in the Ginza strip known to produce a Glass of the Gods. With this ability, the bartender, Ryuu Sasakura, from his interactions with the consumer was always able to think up and execute creating a drink (with godly skill) that managed to suit the customer’s needs. From this main point, we get a show that has definitely increased my respect of alcohol and of bartenders.

The man in action.

The man in action.

Continue reading ‘Secret Santa 2010: Bartender’

Secret Santa 2010: Armor Hunter Mellowlink

This is post 1 of 2 posts from DMAB participating in the Reverse Thieves’ Secret Santa Project for this year. Enjoy Link’s review of  Armor Hunter Mellowlink.

By Link

Armor Hunter Mellowlink is the 1986 OVA spinoff and companion piece to the much-celebrated Sunrise real robot franchise Armored Troopers VOTOMS, telling the story of the ages-old conflict between the Gilgamesh Confederation and the Balarant Union, and the many lives affected by it. VOTOMS is known for depicting sci-fi war drama in a “hard” or semi-realistic manner without completely far-fetched technology for the most part.  Per director Ryosuke Takahashi’s vision, the VOTOMS universe does not feature souped-up Gundam style mecha and alternatively utilizes the small, mass-produced Armored Trooper VOTOMS (Vertical One-man Tank for Offense and ManueverS), sans beam weapons, ridiculous armor, superpowered beings, etc. The protagonist himself goes through countless units, bucking the status quo in both super and real robot anime. Mellowlink is the only entry in the long-running VOTOMS universe that does not star perennial stoic wonder boy Chirico Cuvie. He is nowhere to be seen here. Every other animation in of the franchise is a prequel or sequel of sorts to the original TV series, while Mellowlink is an independent story taking place in similar, or in some cases, nearly the same locales. Oddly, while VOTOMS has several follow-ups, Mellowlink currently has none. That could be be intentional, considering how its story is wrapped up definitively, though I’ve always been of the opinion similarly with the franchise itself. I never understood why Sunrise saw it fit to endlessly milk their classic to pointless ruin, which sadly continues to this day. The only tenuous connection between the two series is how the events of Mellowlink slightly lead into what occurs during VOTOMS initially.

Armor Hunter Mellowlink’s protagonist is Ality Mellowlink, of the title’s namesake, a former hardened Gilgamesh AT pilot. Mellowlink mysteriously has his infantry unit’s, the Schweppes Platoon, mechs stripped from them near the end of the war and supplied only with outdated anti-AT rifles and little armor or other armaments. He ends up as the one and only survivor of his squad after the enemy gradually wears his mates down and is later utterly betrayed and killed by their own corrupt Gilgamesh commanders. This incident is deemed the Planpandoll Scandal. After he lives through the ordeal, Mellowlink is framed for stealing military supplies and realizes that he and his men were sent to die. On the run, he vows revenge on the military leaders who orchestrated this crime, going from planet to planet finding his targets. Naturally, as per genre conventions, Mellowlink meets a mysterious woman with connections to his plight, Lulucy, who becomes a recurring character and gradually supports him in his efforts. Other genre tropes rear their heads in regards to the rest of the cast, as assumed.

The notable, and dare I say, badass quality of Ality Mellowlink is how he chooses not to use an Armored Trooper to fight his opponents, a cue to how the same men supplied him with merely a rifle in war, many of which who do use robots in combat against him. Much of the battles showcase Mellowlink using his brains and brawn to outmaneuver and typical brutally execute his perpetrators, who are often piloting (variants of) the Gilgamesh Confederation’s signature mech from VOTOMS, the Scopedog. I love how Sunrise shows off many custom Scopedog units and our protagonist destroys the driver in satisfying fashion. I’ll admit that much of my enjoyment while partaking in this cartoon was watching this, for a better phrase, mechanical porn. The OVA certainly details its action scenes with Mellowlink’s rifle and various weapons he uses to surprise his prey. If nothing else, Armor Hunter Mellowlink is an example of high quality, purely fun action done right by 80s standards. On that note, the only very minor weak point of the show is how the writing and characters are fairly two-dimensional, a strong contrast to its VOTOMS lineage. But it doesn’t strike me as a significant factor, considering how Mellowlink doesn’t aspire to be more than enjoyable battles, light and free of baggage or drama. A manly man exacting vengeance on those who ruined him. Ality Mellowlink achieves this by the end in fitting fashion, surely.

I have to say that Armor Hunter Mellowlink was what I expected and I was not let down in any areas. Japan doesn’t produce shows like this anymore and it was a treat for that alone. All VOTOMS fans should watch it as soon as they can spare the time, if they haven’t before. Heck, watch it again for a grand old time. I can’t recommend this to others that have never seen the original TV series because it does somewhat spoil it. But hey, isn’t everyone a VOTOMS aficionado deep down inside?

Secret Santa Post: Thoughts on Princess Tutu

Quoth the Raven: “In the name of love, What more in the name of love…”

Or something like that.

Princess Tutu was an interesting watch for me. Though it was one of the titles I filed into the back of my mind as “stuff that I should probably watch” for years, it took outside intervention in the form of the Reverse Thieves’ Secret Santa Project for me to do so. When watching it, I was initially disoriented with the storybook setting where the fantastic and realistic combined, though it was an interesting premise. And it was hard for me to get into it at the start, especially with how Ahiru is portrayed as someone who isn’t good at stuff/only just a duck. I did think that her motive of becoming a magical girl was better focused than other shows with that motif. But what I did get at the start of the show was that Drosselmeyer was a creepy bastard, and that remained as such throughout the entire run, so hey.

The one in charge and he knows it.

The one in charge and he knows it.

Continue reading ‘Secret Santa Post: Thoughts on Princess Tutu’

If You’re Looking For My Secret Santa Entry…

My apologies, but you’re going to have to wait a bit before the post comes out.  I’ll be writing about Princess Tutu, for those of you wondering. Again, sorry for the delay, and please check out the other blogs participating in this fun project.

-TheBigN

The Burger King when older.

Regardless, this guy will probably always creep me out.


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