I can understand that you're not overly impressed with Twenty Faces. I think it's more like the sleeper hit/series that is decent that not many people know about. It does its thing, consistently and at a good level. I'm just a sucker for Chizuko. The series finished months ago, the subbers have been very slow.
I sometimes watch at home. But the comp is so crap I can only watch 1/4 of what friends gave me. -_- So the club is my main source at present.
I had a childhood a baby step away from pure hell. I'm only interested in adults and sometimes teens. Chizuko and Murasaki are my exceptions.
Kurenai's animation is top-notch. Very clean and detailed. The plot isn't the major grab of Kurenai - it's the cast. It's about the characters, their interactions. The plot kicks in about halfway. This is one of the better casts I've seen in a long time. Shinkurou being the 'gentle giant' type who can kick the crap out of anyone who crosses him. Murasaki is very feisty and speaks her mind all the time. Tamaki is kinda...'experienced', lol. The widower is funny for her nonchalance. Shinkurou's classmates are amusing for either picking him apart or hitting on him. The Kuhoin family situation is intriguing/tragic. But words can't say much about this series. Only watching it can.
Heh. For me though, exams are a principle justification for staying up late on weekdays. Just generally I actually use the time to study. Generally.
Hmm, five episodes is more than enough. We'll see how it goes. Actually, it seems that the point I stopped at last time (episode 11) will probably be the high point of the show for me(talking about Soul Eater here). Afterwards, I both discovered that Soul Eater does, too, have filler, and that the execution is a bit poor compared to the manga. I'll continue following it now given that I can still fill in blanks from the manga, but without that resource, it'd feel somewhat disjointed. Or maybe it's just the subs, iunno.
This talk about liking characters is a bit curious. It's made me go back and review some of the shows I think well of, and I've realized that I don't particularly care for the main characters in many of them. Half the time I'm watching for side or minor characters, and the (hopefully good) narrative is just taking me along for the ride. Mm, or alternatively just for the narrative; the point being to say, I never really go fanboy on main characters. How strange. Well, as for Baccano, its characters are certainly forgettable. I actually thought Isaac's name was 'Jacob' :lol:. Congratulations on a burden lifted, then.
I've gone and checked out Daughter of Twenty Faces, as you said. Just finished episode 7 now. Saying there's been a huge change in direction is no joke--we've got cyborgs now?! :lol: Although Chizuko is now ostensibly a detective, I take from the OP that there'll still be plenty of stealthy/acrobatic action. Thus far, I wouldn't really say the show has impressed me, but it has been rather entertaining. Perfect characters like Chizuko and Twenty Faces are narrative idealizations, but it's a kind of fiction which appeals to me. I'm quite interested in seeing where this is going.
Speaking of that, it seems subs for this are already available up to episode 20. Given your comment about your computer, do you watch most of your anime with your club? Unfortunately, it seems I'll be rushing ahead of you.
On the idealism comment about Kurenai...:P sorry, I guess that was a bit of a sidestep. The truth is, there really is something in the ideas of 'treasuring the good moments' and 'enduring the bad ones' that I resist. It isn't that I won't tolerate those themes when I see them, but I personally don't have much grounds for empathy with either case. So indulging in such messages feels like sentimentality and escapism to me.
I don't really feel comfortable dismissing an anime on such grounds without even having seen it, though. Is there anything else that stands out about it? Nice animation, intriguing plot, attractive character designs, etc? If the writing is as good as you say, then maybe another hook would let me overcome my issues with the premise.
On the 'emo' thing, I don't really disagree. I suppose I was talking about an idealization of a 'mature' child, and 'emo' might have been a poor word choice. My conception of it was admittedly somewhat shaped by the first episode of 5 centimeters per second. I think on the one hand, it's 'knowing loss'; and on the other, 'standing apart'. Actually, Chizuko in episode 7 of Twenty Faces is a good example of what I mean: although Chizuko is accomodating of other people's friendliness, she doesn't actively seek out companionship. There is even a little tinge of arrogance. All of this stems from Chizuko's awareness of being grounded in another world. But because she knows it's a world which is inaccessible to others, this 'apartness' generates a mental distance. Particularly in children, I think this quality allows them to be extraordinary.
I remember doing a marathon for Mushishi. I watched that literally non-stop from 6pm one night to 5am in the morning the next day. Don't mess with your sleep though, man, especially during exams.
I'm giving Soul Eater and TTGL 5 episodes. If I don't feel more positive about them by then, I'm dropping them. Basal plot with repetitive humour/ecchi and excessive testosterone with machismo spouters....yawn...But I got nothing against you for liking Soul Eater. Hope it keeps up for you. I only liked early Bleach for a short while because Ichigo, Inoue and Rukia. Good characters can overcome a slow story. But after the cast of thousands came, it was curtains.
I never liked anyone in Baccano. For 4 episodes, Nice Holystone was the only character I didn't despise. After 5, I did. Ladd Russo - pure sociopath. Isaac & Miria - their high-pitched voices made me wish ears would fall off. Jacuzzi - made me want to rip them off. Seriously, I wish Jacuzzi couldn't speak instead of Chane. The Gandors...zzzz. The Genoards...zzz. Czeslaw....zzz. The immortal alchemists and homunculi...zzz. Firo....zzz. Those utterly awful face designs...ugh. When I stopepd watching this, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I'll never regret dropping Baccano.
Okay, need to correct something about Kurenai. It's more of a series on learning how to enjoy those rare good moments and endure the bad ones. All the characters have had major tragedy in their lives and are struggling to cope. Through each other, they learn how. It's the complete opposite of idealism. Trust me - just give it a try. It's a series that is hard to explain to people who haven't watched it. But I think from the thing syou said you'd be pleasantly surprised by it. Most people are. It's one of very few titles thios year that reguarly get talked about positively.
Daughter of Twenty Faces - well, about that guardian thing, I'll say this without spoiling things. In the 6th and 7th episode, the series takes a HUGE change in direction and the works. Chizuko's situation changes dramatically then. This series is built around Chizuko, so she wouldn't be a little dependent girl forever. Do try it. Again, ahrd to explain to those who haven't seen any.
Finally - can't stand emos. I do value emotional intimacy, those who have legitimate reasosn to be sad/depressed, those who want help, those who are emotionally mature/vulnerable. But to people who curse the world and hate everything around them and blame anyone but themselves - send them all to The Black Parade.
Heh. Soul Eater just facilitated a all-nighter-procrastinating-for-physics-midterm incident of ridiculous degrees. Around 8am I realized I was screwed; I ended up skipping math and grabbing ~90 minutes of sleep. Luckily I think I did alright--I just got back from that midterm now.
On the anime itself. It has several weak points, primarily (for me) the voice work and humour. The latter is where I'd generally agree that Soul Eater is generic, predictable, and cliche. I've decided I do like the anime, though: the strong animation adds a bit to the battles, and I found the plot compelling enough to have read through the manga.
I'd call any plot similarities with Bleach superficial. Soul Eater keeps a much tighter grip on its characters; it doesn't get bogged down with establishing an extensive cast or climbing up a heirarchy of powerlevels. The idea of resonance with one's weapon (as a partner) is also much more emphasized--to the degree that it is the central theme of the narrative, also realized more coherently than in either Bleach or Naruto. Soul Eater really is fast paced or maybe 'focused': I've only watched up to episode 11 (lol wtf already?), but from a comparison with the manga and its pacing, 25 episodes will have covered miles beyond what was done in Bleach.
On TTGL: it really hasn't done much for me either. I found humour in the absurdity of some of Kamina's actions, but none of the other characters are particularly compelling. There is a thematic background to the show, but it's taken damn long for anything to be done with it. I think most of the praise must come from a completed viewing, at which point the draggy bits are generally forgotten. I'm basically going to finish the show on that premise (a solid resolution of the themes), but a rewatch is not particularly compelling.
Baccano: mm, that's too bad. You didn't even like Firo? He was pretty cool with his hat. The show really does lack compelling characters, though. I can't be arsed to follow up on their fates through the novels myself, so I can't say I blame you.
Michiko to Hatchin is simply stylish. It's characters don't really piss me off either (I always did like Jin more than Mugen, though; Michiko is more of that same wildness, though she hasn't actually been shown killing someone yet. Some people make a big deal of this; it's a bit of a questionable distinction for me.). I've really got no clue as to the plot, though. They closed off the driving motivational element they introduced in episode 2 in episode 3. As such, I'm not really dying for more, episode by episode. Champloo was episodic too, but sustainably so. I guess we'll see. Do check it out soon.
On Daughter of Twenty Faces and Kurenai: you said that they were different series, but they both seem to revolve around an older male guardian taking care of younger girl. :P The 'coming to know yourself' angle in Kurenai doesn't feel suited to me: for one thing, I prefer 'emo' (mature) children to happy ones (both being narrative idealizations). On the other hand, the displays of skill in Twenty Faces sound interesting. I'll look into it.
Well, each to their own. I personally found Soul Eater like a watered-down, slower version of Bleach. I liked Bleach for about 25 episodes before the genericness of a very long series began to set in. But I won't say much more. I don't want to ruin your potential viewing pleasure. Club seemed to like it overall so you may like it. I just found it very generic, predictable and cliche personally. I'd rather talk about it more once you've actually seen some.
TTGL - Well, I've wanted to try this for a while but the home computer is incapable of playing this properly. Lags by about 20 seconds within a couple of minutes. Due to the likelihood of a licence in Australia next year, the club president was finally convinced to put this on. I've been surrounded by people that have a love of it bordering on obsession on another site and I'm already experiencing that again at the club. Not that such things were the major factors in me not liking this so far. Mediocre music, blase over-the-top machismo, one-dimension character types, over-sexualised jailbait in Yoko (typical 4chan turn into helpless junkies for her), voices that annoy the hell out of me - that's why I'm not into TTGL. But almost the whole club audience is obsessed already. 'Freaking awesome' came out of almost eveyrone's mouth once the first episode was done. I'll try and persist with the 5 episode rule, but I can't say I have any hopes for either of the forementioned series going up in my eyes. But I can see them reigning in the club playlist for the majority of 2009. I guess I'll be going there at 6:48pm for a good chunk of next year. (Although I was already going there at 6:24pm for most of this year thanks to Dennou Coil, then leaving at 8:30pm thanks to Baccano and Shigofumi, argh.) To be honest, TTGL and Soul Eater feel like shows for little boys/teen boys/not-so-mature men. Since I'm not in those categories, they're not working for me. (I've been told of the episode 8 climax several times now, but I don't see the freaking point in having to wait 8 epsiodes for something that 'might' be good.) I don't care how many people like this or get their rocks off on Yoko. I'm willing to be a complete outsider on this series. It does nothing for me.
I honestly tried with Baccano. I really did. But it was turning into such an incredibly negative experience for me that once I saw 5 episodes, I had no hesitation in dropping it. The story seems intriguing, the music is alright. BUt the characters...there isn't one single thing I like about any of them. I just feel a cold void of nothingness watching them. I just don't care about anything they do, say or feel. I just want to see them all die very painful deaths. The voice acting REALLY drives me insane and the character animation is schizenhausen. I have no regrets dropping it nor any interest in how things turn out. I do recommend it to other people. I just never want to watch another second of it ever again.
Michiko to Hatchin - I want to watch this. I'ma ctually really ticked off because last week, the OVA night playlist looked like utter crap. So after seeing the list, I decided not to attend. Episode 1 of Michiko to Hatchin was added literally seconds before the club viewing started and was decided at the venue. So I missed out. I've seen the last 3 minutes of Episode 1. That Brazilian woman looks insanely cool.
I'm not really a scanlations person. Seeing manga on a computer screen just doesn't have the magic, intimacy, sexiness or communication seeing it on paper does. Although I'd probably save a lot of money if I did do scanlations. But since I can't be faithful to the industry via anime due to the DVD player permanently being under lock and key, I can only be faithful via manga.
I've only seen 1 episode of Bounen no Xamdou. But it's intriguing. Very hard to describe at present so I'll use AniDB's summation:
Akiyuki, the main character of the animated series, lives on Sentan Island, a land that has preserved its status as a free and peaceful island in a world consumed by fighting between the Northern and Southern Governments. All of this changes when Akiyuki boards a bus along with a mysterious white-haired girl who transforms his arm with the lost memories and power of Xam'd.
As Xam'd, Akiyuki goes on a rampage and is saved when a foreign girl with red hair named "Nakiami" calms him down, taking him back to her postal vessel. Akiyuki now must gain control of his powers and use them against the Northern Government's latest weapons, known as "Humanforms". Travelling the world on a postal vessel, Akiyuki hopes to return home one day, but until then he befriends other passengers on the boat.
Daughter of Twenty Faces is based off a novel series about a legendary thief called Twenty Faces, set shortly after World War 2. However Twenty Faces is no mere thief. He makes it his purpose to restore valuable treasures/artifacts to their original/rightful owners. His destiny ends up merging with that of Chizuko, a bright 11-year old girl who is constantly evading being poisoned to death by her last remaining relatives due to the fortune she will inherit one day, as well as the fabled Anastasia Ruby. Twenty Faces comes to Chizuko's rescue and gives her the life she has been dreaming of - freedom and a chance to grow. Amongst her new comrades, Chizuko becomes stronger and develops self-confidence and agility she never considered possible. Which she needs as life continues to throw up mortal enemies and tragedy at her. I'm currently at the 7th episode, which is an extremely important turning point for the series. The 6th episode completely turns the series upside own and takes it in an unexpected direction. The 7th handles the delicate transition very well, which is a rarity in anime. I have nothing but praise for this series so far. Chizuko is just a bundle of cuteness and captivating mental/agile prowess. Good themes and BGM, very crisp and organic animation, a story that is intrguing and progresses at a good/appropriate pace. If this series keeps up witht the quality it has shown so far, it's definitely in my top 5 of all time. Club really likes this one.
Kurenai - this is a different type of series - in a good way. 16-year-old Shinkurou Kurenai is a Mediator - a specialist in settling squabbles between people. Despite his youth and easygoing nature, he is a man of some skills when it comes to protecting both his clients and his client’s interests. And then one day he is assigned as a bodyguard for Kuhouin Murasaki, a feisty seven-year-old girl, the heir of the tragic yet prestigious Kuhoin family, who live under strict traditional rules. Shinkurou may look ill-equipped to handle being Murasaki's protector, but ultimately no one else but him could do it. What follows is a weird yet insanely funny and heartening experience for the two of them as they both help each other grow and learn about others as well as learning how to cherish those seemingly small yet special moments. It also serves as a very cunning social commentary on modern life/Japan. It is a fairly dialogue heavy series, but this is its strength. Murasaki is just a bundle of laughs and cuteness. She is very witty and can quickly see the true nature of a person. Through Shinkurou, she is able to be open with those qualities and learns how to sincerely enjoy life away from the restraints of a dark traditionalist confinement. Shinkurou is able to draw from his experiences with Murasaki and become more closer with friends at school. Throw in a few entertaining/volatile side characters that help out/influence both Murasaki and Shinkurou and you've got a very interesting story. Admittedly, it's very character driven, so if you can't like the characters, you can't like this series. But if you do, it's a gem. Club also likes this one big time. One of the few things worth remembering from 2008 along with Daughter of Twenty Faces and Code Geass R2.
Hm. You just started Soul Eater? Coincidentally, me too. I've just finished reading through what's there of the manga (art is alright (though the male lead's design is unattractive); story is...well, shounen, I guess, though it seems to proceed at a nice clip pacewise (in contrast to, say, Bleach); I will also admit to being pulled in by the fanservice and character design of the girls, Tsubaki in particular). I'm in the process of downloading the first couple episodes of the anime right now. To be honest, I only looked into it due to some heavy praise I'd read in a fairly intelligent blog post about Michiko to Hatchin (after Samurai Champloo and Ergo Proxy, this one's a no-brainer; you following this one too?). Your comment seems to negate that...I guess I'll just have to see.
Guren Lagann: :P You're pretty late to the party, though I myself haven't finished this. Most of the characters actually are pretty bland, but Kamina completely won me over after a hilarious transformation scene in episode 3. Simon is supposed to become as 'GAR' eventually, but I haven't reached there yet; I suppose the high points of the series are the climaxes around episode 8 and the end.
I don't really know anything about the other series you mentioned. Your praise for the latter two stands out considering they wouldn't be first impressions (episode 7, you say?). Maybe a plot synopsis?
As for Baccano...just too good, huh? :P I did enjoy it myself, but it seems the anime is only a fraction of the source material. With such a large cast, I only found about half the characters compelling (not liking...Jacob, was it? and Millena?--the 'merry thieves' couple, anyway--or alternatively the scarred crying dude and his gang, didn't help either). The fragmented, achronistic storytelling was fun though; it sorta reminded me of Haruhi's screwed up broadcasting order taken even further.
My current watch list: the aforementiond Michiko to Hatchin (excellent, if moving way too fast for me to catch onto the overarching plot); ef - a tale of melodies (continues the superb 'memories' with characteristically dense symbolism and drama); and Gundam00 (on that count, because I'm a Tieria fanboy).
Though as for manga: I wonder if you're familiar with Vagabond? I picked it up about a month ago, though the scanlating project seems to have stalled. What's out there is of ginormous length anyways, though; weeks of material to get through. It's basically a fairly intricate (though fictional) history of the man who would become Miyamoto Musashi: as such, the insight into traditional Japanese culture and philosophy (Bushido) is fascinating.
Actually, the guy's spelling is Key. You were right. Silly me. -_-
Results of my viewing at the stuff I watched at the club tonight:
Soul Eater 1 - Wasn't impressed at all.
Tenga Toppen Guren Lagann 1 - Even more unimpressed that I was with Soul Eater.
Bounen no Xandou 1 - This was interesting. Hopefully it holds up.
Daughter of Twenty Faces 7 - Brilliant.
Kurenai 7 - Brilliant.
I recently stopped watching Baccano. After 5 episodes, it was able to negate five good episodes of other series. Had to stop.
Hm, thanks for the info, I guess. The name I saw more often associated with those series is Key.
The murder mystery episodes were fun, but a lot of people seemed to think they were weak. I personally enjoyed the bit of HaruKyon development they added, so that was alright. Actually the episodes that I found to drag the most were Mysterique Sign and ep 11. o_O I guess I don't like Yuki or something...?
As for the movie episode, I suspected that connection. :P I found it a really fresh and exciting way to start off the anime, but it seems it really did turn off quite a few people.
I don't really find Kyon's lengthy analogies witty. His occasionally extreme hostility towards Haruhi is also irritating. I'm also not really comfortable with the idea that the main reason Haruhi is attracted to him is that he's John Smith. So yeah, I kinda wish he'd man up (stop complaining all the time). He is intelligent, though.
As for 4chan, :P. I don't know if you can expect any better from someplace like that. If actual physical people talk like that in actual physical anime clubrooms in actual physical company, though, damn. That is really creepy.
KyoAni draws well but that's about all I can say about that anymore. FYI the artist they suck up to is Chi. He was responsible for Air, Kanon and Clannad.
Episodes of Haruhi I liked were the pseudo-murder mystery, the concert and the final episode (according to Haruhi). The movie for the festival...best I not say anything about that. -_- But each to their own. I know why people like it, they have the right to.
The major annoying factor with Kyon, for me, was the excess of his sarcasm. To a point it was funny. Then I just wanted to rip his tongue out so he'd shut up.
On 4chan, in some anime clubs and in random internet threads, characters like Asahina and Tessa from FMP are considered 'rapeable'. The feel-up characters tend to get that label.
:P So you'd say Fumoffu is the best of the lot? And the manga is still better? Hmm...
As for Haruhi, I agree that the light novels are better. With the quality of Baka-tsuki's translations, though, I'd mostly say that's only because the details of the narrative are more complete. I'm quite partial to the anime versions of episodes 1, 12, and 9 (well, 9 being anime original, that's a forgone conclusion) in particular. Episode 1 offered some of the best absurd humour I had ever seen (which is the main reason I like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei as well), while I was just blown away by the concert in Episode 12. I guess it's really these extensions into other media that I enjoy about the anime version, and I still appreciate the experience it gave me as a gateway into the novels.
As for the 'moe' talk about Mikuru, I haven't really seen too many examples of that lately. I think anybody who enjoyed Haruhi for its actual story moved on to the light novels, and there Mikuru is so much a non-feature that she isn't really talked about. Yuki fanboyism, on the other hand, is still pretty rampant, though I'm not sure it's so sexualized. Nonetheless, I don't really understand her appeal either.
What exactly did you find distasteful about Kyon in the anime? I'm not particularly fond of him either, but his character seemed fairly true to the original.