Anyway, I haven't been watching a lot of stuff recently, what with Uni and exams and what-not. And attempting to keep up with new!FMA, and assorted other TV, both anime and not. Plus, that time when me DVD player went on the fritz. So a lot of this stuff I watched like months ago, and is not so immediate a reaction. But hey, having time to think things over can be helpful, too.
As usual, spoilers for everything I am discussing, and in no real order of preference.
Chrono Crusade (manga)
I honestly don't know what about this series that inspired me to pick it up - there are people on my flist into it, but only one or two, and it's not as insanely well known as a lot of my other series are. It may have had something to do with the era, which I quite liked when I watched Baccano a while back. Or it might just be that the idea sounded nifty, and it was cheap second hand.
Anyway, for the entire of the first volume, I found the series fun and entertaining, but not all that engaging, if you get what I mean. I liked the characters, but it was just like, you know? And then we got to the backstory bit with Rosette and Joshua, and WHAM, I was hooked. And by hooked I mean unable to put the series down, was literally crying when I got to the end. Oh Rosette!
It's the characters which really make this series, as much as the plot is good (I do like series in which the writer has very obviously worked out how it's going to end and how people get there, as opposed to just going on and on...). Rosette who is like epically awesome, and refuses to give up no matter what - I have a weakness for heroic willpower, it seems. And then Chrono, who seems all sweet and harmless and balancing out Rosette's recklessness... unless you piss him off. And Satella and poor Joshua and everyone. It's so very driven by the characters and how they develop and interact, even when it's being all epic.
And the ending made me bawl like a baby. So much crying. I loved it, but my God I cried so hard.
So yes, I very much liked this, and think it should be a lot better known than it is. I will also be chacking out the anime at some point, though I'm aware they pulled a FMA with it, and because it finished before the manga also went somewhere completely different.
I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON IN FLCL, BUT IT WAS AWESOME!
...Well, that's the one sentence summary. It's complete and utter crazy awesome crack, that might run on some kind of internal symbolic logic, but it sure as hell isn't explained to the audience. And it almost doesn't matter, because it's just so gloriously insane that making sense of it would sort of defeat the point. I mean, who needs sense, when you can watch people fight robots that explode out of a kid's forehead. Or the manga-panel stuff, which is one of the most unique and freaking hilarious (and awesome) things I have ever seen in anime. Also: Haruko, who really doesn't need much more said. She's just so Haruko.
I mean yeah, there is obvious character development going on for Naota and Mamimi. Or to be precise, all the normal kids. They just happen to be surround by cracktastic insanity. (Though Naota and his love for Haruko was rather sweet, actually. Especially where it ends up)
Oh, and the music kicks epic amounts of arse. I really do love it so.
Like I said at the start, I had no idea what was going on, but it was just so much fun and awesome, I really didn't care.
Well, given how much I liked Cowboy Bebop and Trigun, I pretty much had to watch Outlaw Star, didn't I? To complete the famous space western trio, as it was put to me at one point. Though I have to say, as fond as I am of space westerns, Outlaw Star was my least favourite of the three.
Not that I hated it or anything - I did like it, just compared to all the other stuff I have watched, it's one of my least favourite (admittedly, a lot of the stuff I have seen, I really love, so it had a lot ot compete against). It certainly has it's high points - the humour/filler episodes are a thing of wonderment. I mean, a psychic space cactus that is trying to take over the world by selling ice-cream? I don't think words exist for that kind of awesome insanity. And even the more serious episodes and the big arc pick up and become a lot more interesting and entertaining in the second half - at least until we get into the final bit which takes a big step into WTF Land.
The characters were rather fun - Aisha was hilarious, Suzuka was just plain cool (I could have done to see more of her actually), and I liked the subversion of Gene's tough guy facade with his whole space issues at the start. Pity they killed off Hilda, she was great. I'm... not so enthralled with the villains, because they spent a lot of time being nebulous, or just inexplicably weird in a way that other series weird villains didn't bother me as much (This isn't so much referring to the MacDougall's, who actually seemed better defined as characters, as opposed to quirly plot-points).
But yeah, I'm not upset I watched Outlaw Star, and the characters certainly interest me - at least the leads and their developing friendships - but I don't think I'll be rewatching this soon. Except maybe the cracky humour episodes, because they were brilliant.
Revolutionary Girl Utena (series and movie)
Oh, Utena. Utena, Utena, Utena. I knew I had to watch this as soon as someone said the magic words "deconstruction of archetypical female roles in stories" but I never expected to be as utterly blown away by it as I was.
To demonstrate my point: Just a day or two before I started the series, I commented to someone on my flist about I always gave a series a few episodes before I decided if I liked it or not, since I had never once come across an anime series I liked based just on its first episode. And then I watched Utena and how wrong I was, since it took me exactly one episode before I was completely head over heels for the series. And it just kept getting better.
I mean, there's Utena who has my undying love just because she's, well, the kind of character I go for. And Anthy, who they did a great job of showing through Utena's eyes, first as victim, then as possible villain, and then at the very end, someone who refuses to be defined by other people and is taking her life in her own hands. Oh God, how I bawled through the final episode. It was another case of having very little idea of what was going on but being affected by it. If by affected one means being a incoherent sobbing mess.
It's not all Serious Business and sobbing, though, much as I love those things. Well, more the serious examination of how women are categorised and judged by society as opposed to the sobbing. But Utena also has some of the best filler episodes ever, what with the glorious, hilarious crack that is so much of the Nanami episodes (For a character who actually is one of those bitchy mean girls from school, Nanami is very likable. I think it's as much in the way she's so very much a child as it is in that she always gets her comeuppance.) Even the recap episodes are great and move things forward - obvious one being Akio/Utena sexytimes, which even though I knew it was coming, I didn't expect then and like that.
I'm pretty certain I could ramble on about Utena for ages and ages. I know for a fact that there are other people online that have certainly done so (and continue to do so, going by some of the forums I've seen). I love it for the same reason I love Princess Tutu, for being a really skilled deconstruction of stories, and at the same time having characters that are both complex and messed up and still really likable. Plus great music and some really fabulous visuals.
Yeah, it's not perfect. There's a lot of footage that gets used over and over, which is disappointing given how fabulous the visuals are (though I hear that it was a budget thing, which is understandable. Disappointing, but understandable). And there's a lot of WTFery and symbolism that seems to be there just for the hell of it. Though to an extent that might be some of the series charm - it's a bit like Princess Tutu, in which Weird Shit goes by completely unremarked is an indication that whatever is going on, it isn't in the Real World per se.
Th movie, on the other hand, was full of almost FLCL levels of WTFery. Also: glorious, glorious visuals and music. I am pretty certain I've seen a few people theorise, both in fic and meta stuff about how the movie is like the next level on Anthy's escape - she's a lot more actualized, and a lot more the focus as an individual. To be honest, I don't think the movie would make a lot of sense if you hadn't seen the series first, which is why I kind of buy into the Anthy's next level theory.
I'm certainly not disappointed I watched the movie, though I don't have the great love for it that I do the series. And I'll have to watch it again, even if just for the OMG Pretty!
Since I haven't any more Uni for a while, the next up stuff may actually get watched in the not too distant future. Next up in this case meaning anything on the To Watch list, though I think Gankutsuou will be the first of those.
And as always, I am totally up to taking suggestions for series, anime or manga, I should check out. I just might take a while to get around to them.