Thursday, November 29, 2012

Anime Double Feech

While it isn't exactly comics, I recently had a chance to re-watch some anime DVDs in my collection. Since they are based on Japanese comics (Manga) I decided that it wouldn't be too off topic to write about 'em here.


Directed by: Koichi Chigira

Some of the awesome moody shots from the beginning of episode 2.
Tokyo Babylon is a 2 episode OVA series based on the manga created by super team Clamp. Each episode focuses on a case of the supernatural, investigated by Medium Subaru Sumeragi, his sister Hokuto, and their mysterious friend Seishirou.

The atmosphere these OVAs convey is plenty creepy and intriguing.  The animation is outstanding in both installments, but I am particularly impressed by the second episode. It opens with eerie shots of Tokyo set to ominous music, the story concerns a serial killer preying on commuting passengers on trains. Subaru is a witness, and works with police and another medium who can see the past by touching objects with her bare hands. Together they track down the killer, and also meet another medium who also has the ability to see the past by touch. What happens when these two tactile mediums touch hands? I think the setting really contributes to why I enjoy this animation, there are many exciting scenes in the dark subterranean tunnels of Tokyo.

Nagumo, the villain from episode 1. I love the black and back lighting in the background.

The first installment is fine, but is more of a slow boil. It takes place on a construction site, where executives are dying under mysterious accidental circumstances on the site of their future headquarters, always in the company of Nagumo, a young business man who always seems to escape the accidents unscathed. There are a lot of excellent lighting effects in this episode, and an exciting, fluid action sequence to close it out, with some on point effects animation. As a warning, there is an awful song sung in bizarre English in the first volume, be warned. The English dub is also poor.


Directed by Yoshimichi Furukawa

Darkside Blues is a problematic little movie based on a comic written by Hideyuki Kikuchi, creator of Vampire Hunter D. It is a weird mix of the gothic and science fiction...much like Vampire Hunter D is. The title character, Darkside, is a magical being of few words and seemingly limitless power, who is dressed like Barnabus Collins. Darkside emerges from a Black Mirror in a horse drawn carriage. He settles in Kabuki Cho, and befriends a group of freedom fighters in their efforts against Persona Century, an evil corporation that owns much of the world.

The movie doesn't really focus on any one character, and I found my interest wane pretty quickly. I thought the animation was inconsistent. The most consistently well animated character seems to be Darkside. Darkside definitely has coolness potential, but really he's just boring. Nothing seems to be a challenge to him, and his personality isn't particularly compelling. Supporting characters and new villains appear and dissapear, no one was really focused on enough for me to develop an emotional attachment to. I think my favorite character is Mai, a resident of Kabuki Cho and leader of a small rebel group, along with her companions. They are the most likable characters, and get a good deal of action sequences. The movie doesn't really have a 'pay off' as far as I'm concerned. The characters are all barely sketches, at the end of the movie none of their arcs really seem complete. As far as action sequences go, the best is a showdown between Darkside and an assassin named Enji in a crowd of bystanders who are turned to stone, and a scene on a rooftop where one character deflects a missile with some knives.

This is an excellent sequence in the film. 
Overall I would say this movie is too uneven to warrant watching. I would stick with other movies based off of Kikuchi's works, like Vampire Hunter D, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Demon City Shinjuku and Wicked City.

Until next time!


No comments: