January 28, 2008

Series I shouldn't buy, but want to

There are some shows that tempt me. I know that if I buy them I'll be disappointed, and look at myself in the mirror and say, "What a rube. You shoulda known better." (Like Godannar did.) But they call to me.

Angel Tales (ANN, $80): It's a 12-girl harem show. The hook is that everyone in the show is reincarnated. All 12 girls are reincarnated animals. The guy is reincarnated, too. Everyone knew each other. The guy has lots of power, only he doesn't know it. And he doesn't know where the girls came from, either, at least at the beginning.

The girls are cute. The show is, apparently, really stupid. Chris Beveridge gave the four DVDs ratings of B-, C-, C-, and C+. But the advertising art, and such frame grabs from the series I've seen, makes clear that the girls are really cute, and spend a lot of time in bikinis. Sigh. (I have such low tastes.)

And it's got a lot of familiar voices, especially Chiba Saeko, whose voice I like a lot, and Kawasumi Ayako, which nearly makes it a must-buy.

Girls High: It's coming out in three weeks as a thinpak for just $24. I wouldn't want to watch the damned thing, but man, for that price, it'd be nice to have to rip and scan through looking for cheap thrills, of which there were many in the series. And besides which, I want to encourage Media Blasters. (And I really do have low tastes.)

Jinki Extend (ANN, $45): I shouldn't get this, because it's a classic mecha story, and I hate classic mecha stories. But I'm a sucker for a pretty face, and that redhead is a cutie. She's also a geek, a double win. This is probably the one of these I'm most likely to regret buying, if I do get it.

Mermaid Forest (ANN, $70): It's a very intriguing concept. Two people gained immortality by doing something evil: eating the flesh of a mermaid. After centuries of life, they're tired. They want to die, but cannot. They thus engage in a quest to find yet another mermaid, in hopes that there may be a way of losing their immortality, of growing old, and dying like everyone else.

Chris Beveridge gave it a rating of B+.

Problem is, it's a horror title, and generally I don't do well with those. Shows with oppressive atmosphere generally haven't worked for me, no matter how good they were. I've tried enough of them now to know that it just isn't my thing. Moreover, the TV series may not end the story. There was a sequel, and it isn't available in R1 any more, because the license expired.

Wedding Peach (ANN, $30): It's a second-rate rip-off of Sailor Moon. There's nothing good about it. It's something of a no-name cast -- or maybe it would be more accurate to say that they've worked a lot, but not on shows I've watched, for the most part. We're talking something here that's monumentally stupid. Yet I'm tempted. I can't get Sailor Moon; it was never released here on DVD. (Or if it was, it's long out of license and out of stock.) So this is the closest I'm gonna be able to get -- which isn't very damned close.

I've seen a lot of mahou shoujo shows now, but the only one that was really the classic type was Card Captor Sakura, which was really good, but not really quite the norm. (It was CLAMP, after all, so among other things it dripped with weird sexuality, all implied, never explicit.) Among other things, the characters in CCS were too young. The classic mahou shoujo is a joshikousei.

Sailor Moon is the archetypal mahou shoujo show, but I can't get it. Wedding Peach is really my only chance of experiencing it -- but I know that if I buy it, I'll spend time looking at myself in the mirror and saying that I'm a rube.

So... I will get Girls High when it hits as a thinpak. Not possible to withstand the temptation on that one, because the price is so low, and the cheap thrill density is so high. As to the others, Angel Tales is the one that tempts me the most. It's also the most expensive, alas.

I was just going through Bob's online listings and came up with all those. He's got special sections in each DVD alpha listing which concentrates all the boxed sets into one page, and I was looking for bargains. While I was in there, I noticed something else which is not useful to me but which y'all might want to know.

Divergence Eve and Misaki Chronicles are now out as boxed sets, respectively $34 and $40. The character designs are absurd and the fan service is gratuitous, excessive, and distracting, but they tell an amazing story about very engaging characters. Very much recommended, particularly at this price.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 09:54 PM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
Post contains 833 words, total size 6 kb.

1 I saw an episode or two of Angel Tales at a convention, and although I knew that it was stupid it was somewhat entertaining. One way or the other, I have one volume of it now. Not recommended, I suggest you to stay strong. I did not find character designs too attractive... The oldest one is ok, and the turtle girl is kind of... suitable. On the other hand, you called Miki "cute", so I really have no idea what you see when you look at them. The bikini is probably a lie, BTW. They must have a beach episode later, but nobody spends much time in bikini otherwise. I may need to get back to you on this, with screencaps. The rest I haven't seen. I'm pondering if I should bring up the topic of indiscriminate hating of mecha and the resulting harm... RahXephon had some serious fan service power in places. When Cindy, and Elvy (to say nothing about Kim!) check out Ayato's drawings of Mishima with an experienced eye... on the beach... Let me tell you, that's 5 times better service than Angel Tales. Haruka in Xenoglossia is just living fanservice powerhouse too. And Yoko of Gurren-Lagann simply tops them all, meacha or not. But perhaps it's a topic of a post, with screencaps.

Posted by: Author at January 28, 2008 10:46 PM (cFJHG)

2 If I recall correctly, the first fight scene in both the Jinki:Extend manga and anime ends in an attempted rape. It struck me as lazy characterization: "Hey, how do we let the audience know he's a bad guy?" "Have him pin one of the girls down in the middle of a battlefield and try to get some."

-j

Posted by: J Greely at January 29, 2008 12:25 AM (2XtN5)

3 Sailor Moon did get a DVD release, more than one I believe, but as you say the license has lapsed and it's in no-man's land now. It takes a long time to build up to the good bits, anyway, and then after a few episodes of really strong story it goes back to random plot generator again.

(As an aside: At the start of Sailor Moon, the girls are in junior high, but they actually get older over the course of the show. Neptune and Uranus start out as high-schoolers, and Pluto is a babe. And unless my mind is totally fried, so is Chibi-usa's adult form.)

Magical Project S (Magical Girl Pretty Sammy TV) and Pretty Cure are good substitutes if you can't get the original. Magical Project S is far more tightly plotted than either Sailor Moon or Pretty Cure - it's one season, 26 episodes, where the other two are 200+. But now that I've looked around the net, it doesn't appear to be available for cheap, and Pretty Cure apparently fell into a black hole when it was licensed by 4Kids.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 29, 2008 12:52 AM (PiXy!)

4 Oh, and no fan service in Magical Project S Not a lot in Pretty Cure either; junior high students again, and seasons 3 and 4 are continuity reboots, so they don't get any older.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 29, 2008 12:59 AM (PiXy!)

5

Really don't bother with Jinki Extend.

I got the first volume when I was exprimenting with different genres and its everything you'ce said you don't like about mecha (and from what I've read gets worse as the series progresses.) Plus it has two story lines intertwined that make it very hard to follow what is happening (apart from a big EVA rip-off)

Girls high is on a par with Najica for underwear overload (Disclaimer- I've only seen the first episode so have no idea if it stays as high the rest of the series)

Myself, I'm can't believe how much I'm looking forward to Strawberry Panic to come out in March. I'm a sucker for yuri though....

Andy

Posted by: Andy Janes at January 29, 2008 01:29 AM (V4JGB)

6 I ended up enjoying Wedding Peach well enough, though there's the usual element of self-defense it that. It did make almost miss a Super Bowl, which ended up being watched at the office while the DLTs processed; they ponied up for a party tray, anyway. ;p

It has a bit of a "creepy" reputation that I don't think is deserved. Sure, we're talking high-school-aged girls here, but there's practically nothing that would be considered loli by modern standards.

At its best, it's a competently-executed magical girl show with a somewhat goofy premise. At its worst, it dips into the high-school-romance melodrama. But usually, it's monster of the week, dispatched by a few girls in wedding dresses.

I probably have some of the Sailor Moon check discs in a box in storage; there's a whole load of shows I never bothered going through afterwards. I'll post when I eventually dig the sucker out, see if there's anything that can find a better home.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at January 29, 2008 01:55 AM (LMDdY)

7 I really enjoyed Wedding Peach. For $30 it's a steal.

Incidentally, I'm not sure where WP gets a "creepy" rep. There is no fan service in that series whatsoever.

As for Mermaid Forest, it's a series Rumiko Takahashi did for fun. And for $70 you can bet I'll be grabbing it.

Posted by: atomic_fungus at January 29, 2008 05:10 AM (7HKUt)

8 I can't believe you would even contemplate buying Angel Tales as much as you hate lolis. The 12 girls are all about one year apart in age so they range from 6 to 18 if I remember correctly. So three quarters of the girls are too young for my taste although to give the producers credit I don't recall much of any fan service from the young girls. The older girls got it going on though especially Yuki (the snake).

Posted by: Doyen at January 29, 2008 07:04 AM (p7ML6)

9

I don't hate lolis. I dislike lolicon. Not the same.

You can have lolis in a harem show without lolicon. Cynthia/Grace in Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite is a major and important character, but they never play her as a lolicon interest. I really like her a lot, and I'm glad she was in the series.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 29, 2008 08:01 AM (+rSRq)

10

One of my favorite series, Petite Princess Yucie, is entirely about lolis.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 29, 2008 09:05 AM (+rSRq)

11 Angel Tales is from old days of modesty when KnJ would've been unthinkable. So, in general it's pretty safe. However, I as far as I understand Usagi is not quite legal for the role she's made to play (blame artificial consent ages in most countries). It's all immaterial though, I still think that series is too dumb to exist and the fanservice is rather insubstantial in it.

Posted by: Author at January 29, 2008 01:18 PM (cFJHG)

12 If you can't get Sailor Moon, I really think Wedding Peach is a great choice if you want to see a real protypical magical girl anime.  It also has the significant advantage of having much, much less filler than Sailor Moon.  Yeah, it was a flaming attempt to cash in on the Sailor Moon craze, but it ends up rising above that and earning a respected place in the pantheon.

Posted by: Toren at January 29, 2008 07:54 PM (no4iw)

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