Anime Review Bonanza: Paprika,Battle Angel Alita, Trigun
I was rooting around and found out some older reviews that I’d forgotten about writing, so i thought that this Sunday i’d indulge you anime fans and make up for slacking on the review section and put up 3!
*over dramatic gasp*
Genre: Anime: surreal/fantasy/sci-fi(ish)
Running Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Certificate: 15 for ‘mild sexualised violence’ – of which there wasn’t much and it was certainly mild.
DT’s Rating: 9/10
For me, Anime is a strange creature in many respects. Being created (to my knowledge) by the people who brought you ‘spirited away’, and supported by great reviews in ‘Neo Magazine’, I had great hopes for Paprika, but with anime films – frankly- one can never really be sure if they’ll understand the damn thing, much less enjoy it. But I feel that comes form a Western point of view, I’m still – in many ways- under the subconscious assumption that a cartoon film will be all action and almost childish entertainment, So, when greeted by a film like Ghost in The Shell, beautifully animated but more puzzling than the Matrix, one floats a little between enjoyment and puzzlement. Anime films (I’ve seen so far) are slow and intelligent. There is none of this Western rush – it’s almost artsy. Now, when it comes to ‘Spirited Away’ and ‘Vampire Hunter D:Bloodlust’ this slowness and care exemplifies the emotion, and weaves a brilliant story. In a film where one struggles a little to see the point, it translates as dull and a little vexing. But, regardless of type, Anime films certainly big it up on the creativity and imagination and, coupled with beautiful animation, it makes them pretty special.
Paprika is a film that has imagination (and, thankfully, entertainment) in bunches.
Now that’s not to say that it’s not an intelligent film. It certainly is intelligent, but because it is set in a dreamscape, where reality and dreams merge and converge, you seem to be able to follow the flow of the film without the lack of answers (at first) irritating you. This flow is a great wave of colour and serial charm. Of childish enjoyment and sinister nightmare. The characters are all brilliantly drawn and you empathize with them all, and the character of Paprika – the imaginary heroine that inhabits the dreams – is brilliant. She’s bubbly, brave, sweet, kind and headstrong when she wants to be; giving a tongue lashing to those who deserve it, and moving through the crazy dream land with such fluid enjoyment and belonging that you as an audience seem to be able to relax into the world in ease. She’s your guide.
Frankly, there’s a lot of other reviews on Paprika that give a better summary of the plot than I can,. As well as a description of the dream world that supports the film. In short: there has been an invention that allows a trained professional to view and manipulate their patient’s dreams in order to psychoanalyse them. However when these little devices are stolen all hell breaks loose, and t begins increasingly difficult to discern where the dreams end and reality begins.
Bold, bright, colourful and very entertaining, I’d definitely recommend it. I really enjoyed it on many levels, and I’m sure you will too.
Battle Angel Alita
aka GUNNM (銃夢) – ‘gun dream’
Genre: grungy sci-fi/action
Running Time: (of what I watched) – an hour
Find it at: Veoh TV (online)
Rating: 15(probably) female nudity [+sex refernce] – big ol bloody violence
I was recommended this as a guide for good ol’ 80s style anime shading, and I actually enjoyed the anime itself. The setting is a massive, grungy scrapyard, where it seems that almost everyone are cyborgs of some nature or another. Hovering above them, dumping down all this garbage is the (apparently utopian) city of Zalem (although we never get to see what it’s actually like.) It seems that most people down below are desperate to get to zalem- one way or another.
Enter Ido – A cybernetic Doctor and ex-Zalem dweller, now performing repairs on all the cyborgs down here: in fact he’s the best cybernetics doctor the world has to offer. Without giving away too much, he’s more than he seems (that produces some cool results).
Ido searches the scrapyard for spare parts to get for his clinic. While looking he finds a whole female human head and shoulders [cyborg]- still alive [see bottom pic]! He takes her home and rebuilds her, giving her the name: Gully.
Gradually Gully discovers that she has impressive powers, and that her memory (long gone, of course) can only truly start to be unlocked by fighting. So: she registers herself as a bounty hunter- and lots of action ensues.
This could so easily be one of those sci-fi action beat-em-ups. But it has another layer in it. It seems that this Scrapyard world is full of deception and deceit and twists at ever corner. As well as this, underpinning it all is a river of hope, loss, expectation with respects to Zalem, and -as we watch- we see Gully develop as a person, and fall in love.
The result is both touching and tragic.
The animation is great (albeit it pretty gory at times), and the characters are well drawn. My only problem is that they haven’t seemed to make more of this anime film- because it ends pretty open-endedly. However, at only an hour it’s immensely watchable and carries itself and the plot along briskly.
Definately worth a watch, i think :3
DT’s Rating: 9/10
Known for its Space Western theme, Trigun is about a man named “Vash the Stampede” and the two Bernardelli Insurance Society employees who follow him around in order to minimize the damages inevitably caused by his appearance. Most of the damage attributed to Vash is actually caused by bounty hunters in pursuit of the “60,000,000,000$$” (sixty billion “double dollars”) bounty on Vash’s head for the destruction of the city of July. However, he cannot remember the incident clearly due to his amnesia. Throughout his travels, Vash tries to save lives using non-lethal force. He is occasionally joined by a priest, Nicholas D. Wolfwood, who, like Vash, is a superb gunfighter.
As the series progresses, more is gradually learned about Vash’s mysterious history and the history of human civilization on the planet Gunsmoke. The series often employs comic relief and is mostly light-hearted in tone, although the tone shifts toward darker and more dramatic situations as it draws to a conclusion. It also involves moral conflict pertaining to the morality of killing other living things, even when arguably justified (i.e. self-defense/defending others).
A little while back I finally treated myself to the boxset of the anime Trigun, which I had watched about 3/4 of but never finished. I throughly enjoyed watching it again, all the way to the end (crikey i’d missed some good stuff! haha). generally I’m more into swords than guns, but trigun changed this opinion. I first went to it because I’d heard it was funny and a sci-fi (and sci-fi rocks). Really it’s more of a sci-fi western, effortlessly mixing the genres and grounding it almost in a period of past history, while maintaining the technology of the sci-fi future and the innovative ideas of steampunk and fantasy. It’s hard to describe, but extremely engaging.
The characters are excellent (and the quality of the english dub emphasises this rather than detracts from it). Vash is especially always engaging, extremely funny and very emotional. His various sidekicks and his enemies are all very well written, each with their own backstories. For such a funny and action packed anime it is amazingly deep – throwing up questions about human nature, morality and even a kind of religion and family value, while never detracting from just generally being fun.
The art is excellent (though the anime was obviously done on a tight budget, making it a characteristic anime in animation style). You have to understand a few anime conventions (or at least enjoy them) because most of the humour is visual and way over-the-top at times, which some people might not find to their tastes.
Trigun never cheapens itself by finding easy answers to the intelligent questions it presents. The love interests – for example – are surprisingly maturely done and don’t just go for the obvious attraction-to-boyfriend-and-girlfriend stage most films and cartoons take. Vash’s refusal to take life is presented realistically also showing the difficulties of trying to live in such an idealistic manner, and how it can crumble when argued against other more ‘realistic’ lifestyle options in battle. Even grief is handled touchingly and maturely and I dare anyone not to cry when a certain character dies.
In short, for how goofy it can be, it’s a very mature and extremely entertaining anime that never takes the easy way out of any issues it raises. I throughly recommend it. 9/10