Tag Archives: thriller

Durarara! 1 – Headless Bikewoman

So what myths lie in your city?

I was asking myself the question because Taipei had no urban legend, or at least, I was not aware of any.

But the show has intrigued me with its seemingly plain and yet engaging storytelling. Mikato is an average Japanese teenager student and yet he manages to be quite lucky. He meets all the most interesting people that may relate to his life in someway on the very first day he goes to Tokyo. Actually, I saw a lot of interesting things on my first visit to Tokyo as well. For example, I watched Little-Non performing live in Akiba and managed to talk with Nozomi-san (nicest person on earth) – I told her I was a “baka gaijin” and I she jumped out from right behind her desk and assured me that I was not (long story, ask me later). Akiba was so nice then because no ippanjin cared to go there and gawk at everyone else and no stupid police and government officials telling people to “clean up” their acts and stores. That was 2004. Enough with my personal story.

But that was Tokyo: mysterious, exciting, totally different for a surburb boy like me (I lived near DC for more than 10 years). As a matter of fact, a prostitute (she did not look anything like your average adult workers. She was probably a call girl) came into my room and I had to tell her in my poor Japanese: “Wrong room.” I…Yeah, you know. I do kinda regret it because she was pretty.

Tokyo in this show is even more mythical, I mean, the headless bikewoman. That’s right, woman. Because it was a woman’s figure that I saw on my computer screen and the guys bumped into a woman with a scar on her neck. The color of her facial skin was different from her neck.

It may not be the 80’s Tokyo, but it is still oddly appealing. Of course, crime is more rampant than what people in Japan would like you to believe. It is safer than a lot of large cities in other countries, but don’t count on it if you go there.

I found the internet interactions realistic and the animation interesting. The animation is much like Soul Eater just a hell lot less wacky. But the realism is appealing. There is more to the headless horseman myth in this one and I hope to find out more as the show goes on.

Oh and…I think I see a black Russian in the show!!! Awesome! I only wish they animate him so he dances in that famous Russian style and raps in Russian fusion English fusion Japanese. That’d be the coolest fucking thing in anime history…
blog好き poking fun

Watch Durarara on Crunchyroll (Taiwanese need not apply – I didn’t make that rule)

Dance in the Vampire Bund 1 – Misfired Mockery.

OK, this was what I expected:

But this is what I got instead:

Needless to say, I was not happy with what I got. I know it’s the only the first episode and Shinbo directs it, but the apparent over-mockery didn’t escape my eyes. What the first episode served was to make a snide social commentary about Japanese talk shows with a game-like format and obviously staged events and guests pretending to give a shit or that they are actually as surprised as everyone. All these people serve as icons on TV that fit a certain stereotypes to please the audience mindlessly following everything going on without giving any thoughts or reflections. I got one thing to say:

It IS the internet age now.

Continue reading Dance in the Vampire Bund 1 – Misfired Mockery.

Hulu Hoop – 2nd Rotation – Ghost Hunt

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‘Twas a dark and stormy night.  The room felt vaguely humid as I sat upon my chair pondering and clawing at my hair, trying hopelessly to find a speckle of inspiration to fill the void of white paper trussed into my typewriter.  The clock on the wall chimed three times shattering the stagnant silence that had been festering in the room.  I cursed under my breath when came a knock, three times, at the door…   “Who is it?” I called out in vague annoyance.  No answer.  I picked myself up trying to put aside frustration and answered the door.  There was nothing behind it, only air…

Oooooooooooo, spooky spooky…

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Continue reading Hulu Hoop – 2nd Rotation – Ghost Hunt

Canaan 13 – a lot sure has happened…

As the last of the summer season winds down, I can’t help but recall different endings to different shows with a sense of fondness and in a few years from now, when Anime Diet shall become a huge multinational conglomerate in the world of fandom, I shall recall the summer of 2009 with nostalgia.

Canaan ended and I breathed a sigh as if finishing a long and great thrill ride of a movie. The movie had action, drama, pathos, emotional firework; gun firework; personality and agenda clashes; love, hate, sadness, humor, triumph, defeat…There has been so many things happening in this show that I sat breathlessly on the edge of my seat sometimes and staring at the screen in disbelief at other times; from almost overtly complex plots to superhuman abilities; from great drama to over the top acting; from colorful characters to messianic stereotypes. So much has happened in this show.

The showdown between Alphard and Canaan (or is it really, Canaan Alpha and Canaan Beta) continues. In the last episode, we saw that it was probably impossible to save Maria from a certain death. Well, guess what? Yun Yun does have a superpower after all – it’s the power of not giving up. Somehow, she jumps off the train, chases down the sections left behind, saves Maria, who weights as much as she does, by carrying her on her back and saves the day. I didn’t know having two appendixes makes one a super fast runner and endurance athlete!

As Canaan experiences the near loss of Maria, she understands something. She’s been out of the past for a long while now thanks to Maria, who isn’t her light (messiah) exactly, but a good friend that accepts her and supports her. It’s an old concept and can be added as extra cheese sometimes, but in this case, thanks to Maria’s strong character, this support is firm and not flimsy. Canaan no longer needs someone to be her light; she finds the strength just knowing that someone compassionate cares for her, which is enough for her to become invincible.

Alphard loses the fight; she realizes what Siam meant when he called her not by the name “Canaan”, but by the name “Alphard”. It’s a bright and the strong existence but lonely. Alphard is at the top of the game, but she’s also alone. Wanting nothing else but away from her past shadows, she has been doing her very best to become the top and in her pursuit of being the one, she loses her feelings, emotions and caring. In the end, she has no real allies but people whom obey her out of fear.

After all, Alphard never got rid of the past and that’s why she has been trying to kill Canaan. But ultimately, Canaan, who has moved on, is stronger.

Alphard falls into the water below.

Maria is saved.

Minoru goes to the bar and shuts the TV off and mourns for the loss of his friends in the adventure by awkwardly talking about missing Hakko’s nice butt.

As the Maria and Minoru rides in the Taxi driver’s car, the almost pointless Anime idol’s slow song sends them off with a hint of longing and sadness, in addition to a gladness of flying home. It just fits everything so perfectly all of a sudden.

As for the rest, please view it on your own. It’s best just savored and not spoiled.

Additional notes: Wondering what happened to Cummings? Watch and be surprised!

Canaan 11 – X-Files + Hopelessness

I never caught on to popular shows in the US, and I’ve never watched many X-Files episodes. But you know, the underlying plot in Canaan is so much like the X-Files – an experimental virus, a political conspiracy among the CIA, China, Japan among other things, a shocking cooperation between the CIA and the Snake (Michael Moore-esque much?)….We have a nearly perfect formula. Add great action, pathos, awesome performances by two tragic characters – Liang and Hakko, voiced by veteran seiyuus Tanaka Rie and Noto Mamiko, and we have a summer blockbuster. Damn, I thought nothing good came out in the summer in the anime world!

Continue reading Canaan 11 – X-Files + Hopelessness

Canaan 09 – What is love? Baby don’t hurt me…no more.

Minds unsettled.

Past revealed.

Ideals VS reality.

Crazy longings and dreams.

It’s the kind of episode that keeps one on the edge of his seat. It’s also the kind of episode that makes others begging the pain to stop.

Continue reading Canaan 09 – What is love? Baby don’t hurt me…no more.

Canaan 07 – I don’t really get it but…

Here’ are my thoughts:

So the Snake Syndicate released UA virus at the International Anti-Terrorism Conference, where Bill on weed the fictional President of US and the representatives from all over the world are trapped. With some manipulation, the Syndicate is betting on the US government will order the US military to do that drastic thing –

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, in term, will possibly cause an international conflict and leads to a war? Is that part I of their scheme?

Part II seems to be some kind of economic manipulation. The front company of the Snake does a economic thing –

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, and so…What, I don’t know.

My two issues with these schemes:

1. Just because the previous US government was disgustingly aggressive militarily doesn’t mean they would take the fictional operation shown in this show. Certainly, not the present government

Come on! Have you watched 24? Have you watched Air Force I? Have you seen all these Hollywood films? XD

Kidding aside, with more than 9 hours left, they would’ve tried something else. Seriously. There are so many talented people in US that even if the

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never arrives, they would’ve figured out something. That’s not pride; that’s trusting the intelligence and the power of teamwork, US style. Most likely, if it were any other countries in the world, they’d just perform the destructive operation on the conference center.

But oh well, this is what makes Canaan the show so exciting! I Enjoyed this part.

2. I doubt the

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would really cause that effect in US and abroad. Hey, we’re in a global economic crisis but the governments are working something out. But my argument is weak, I admit, in part because I didn’t study economics and don’t really know how the second part of the scheme is going to pan out.

OK, now Canaan is even more powerful than before…I mean, I always thought the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception in Tsukihime and Kara no Kyoukai was super awesome, but damn…The omni-tracking eyes that Canaan has is even better! It even interferes with electronics…somehow.

Lian has been pushed over the edge over and over again, and with her crazy obsession, there bound to be a gigantic explosion to come. Once again, Rierie does a wonderful job portraying the crazy woman. Her feelings run in a deadly, tightly stretched string, and Alphard keeps on unintentionally teasing and not caring about snapping it hard. Alphard is way too cocky and not caring about any possible consequences. In any case, Rierie wins with performance in voice acting here.

There are more plots but let’s save them for later.

Great animation as usual.

Black Lagoon 23-24 (END)

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Impressions (SPOILERS)

And so the most intelligent and exciting action anime to come along in a while closes its most extensive arc yet, with plenty of room for more seasons to come. (Though my hopes that Yukio, the schoolgirl Yakuza boss, might become a recurring character were, alas, not to be.) The reflective dialogue in this and the previous episodes lifts Black Lagoon into the ranks of the more intelligent action genre films like Michael Mann’s Heat or Collateral. This is also a show that isn’t afraid to develop characters very well, only to kill them off –arguably, Yukio is better sketched than mainstays Rock and Revy, though here we get to see a very, very vulnerable (for her) side of Revy. She’s back in character by the very last scene but we get the impression that when she says “If it were anyone but you, I’d have put two or three holes in you” it is as close to a love confession as she will ever come to.

Some of the broader issues Black Lagoon brings up are very interesting. Rock throughout the show, though more at the beginning, represents “civilian” values or perhaps more precisely the point of view of someone accustomed to comfort and unused to the brutally utilitarian underworld. The show, usually through the voices of Revy and Balalaika, works hard to undermine that viewpoint as being naive and arbitrary (though I wonder: Revy, ostensibly a nonbeliever, blurts out in episode 23 that the only thing that saved Rock’s skin was “God’s grace” and Balalaika’s surprising mercy). Eventually Rock adopts many of the values of the underworld, though never without completely losing any sense of compassion. It’s as if he has come to some sort of balance, of a sort, able to act decisively and coldly when necessary, but without becoming a war addict like Balalaika.

If one wants to push it a bit one can see a little of the realization that the pacifistic attitude among many modern Japanese is based less on principle and more on denial. I certainly agree, if the naive pacifism of many an anime is any indicator of general attitudes in Japan. Now I’m not sure the violent cynicism that passes for cool in this show–a very American attitude, I might add, and one which will make this show very easy to swallow for fans of films like Pulp Fiction and The Boondock Saints–is any better, but it certainly has a better claim on reality, I think. (The characters, Yakuza schoolgirl and Revy included, are also self-aware enough to admit that part of them longs for the flabby tranquility that Rock’s Japan stands for.) I also find it interesting that the prevailing attitude of most of the characters in the show is that they are beyond help, beyond any point where they can change their paths. This fatalistic attitude, laden with notions of “destiny,” is what seems more “Japanese” about it; Americans are more inclined to think that “it’s never too late to start again!” But everyone in this show already considers themselves as living in the twilight, as living dead. The Sartre quotations are oddly appropriate; the existentialist despair that pervades this show demands nothing less. There’s nothing left except to make one’s own meaning and go all the way, guns blazing.

More excellent analysis of this final episode is here.

So: Black Lagoon ends fittingly, with a gun shot, with the characters returning to their posts and ready for more adventures. May they go on many more than we otaku fanboys can see. Preferably with her:

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Continue reading Black Lagoon 23-24 (END)