TL;DR – This is an ambitious return into the world of Ghost in the Shell that exceeds expectation in some areas but I am not sure the overarching story is going to work for everyone.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
There are a couple of shows that serve as a gateway into the world of anime. One of the greats is Ghost in the Shell a grand cyber-punk post-human jaunt into the future. For a lot of people, it was the movie that was their first contact, but for me, it was the Ghost in the Shell SAC. It was this, bright bold explosion, exploring religion, philosophy, what it meant to be alive. Since then I have wondered if anyone could capture that again, and the less said about that movie the better. Well, today we get a chance to see as we dive back into the world of Major Motoko Kusanagi (Atsuko Tanaka/Mary Elizabeth McGlynn).
In the time since the show and movie, the world has become a very different place. The G4, that is America, China, Russia, and the European Union, moved the world into an economical system called Sustainable War, which sounds about as bad as it. This is escalated by the Global Simultaneous Default when all the world’s financial system collapsed at the same time. Since Section 9 had been disbanded, most of the team joined in on the sustainable war effort as a mercenary team called Ghost. They worked their way up from South America and at the start of the series they are travelling through the ruins of Palm Springs. They are there to stop a raid on the gated section of Los Angeles but there is more going on than they first thought. Now we will be looking at the series as a whole and as such there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – It’s fine, nothing amazing but not a complete mess.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
I’ve been quite enjoying the jaunts into the world of Altered Carbon as of late. A world of switching bodies and switching cast members. A world of excesses and a world of death that is only real death half the time. I’ve watched both seasons, so when I heard there was an animated movie, well I had to give it a watch and well … it’s fine.
So after the events of the Second Season (I think, but I’m not entirely sure), we open on the planet Latimer. Here a young girl Holly (Brittany Cox/ Ayaka Asai) is running from her life through the upper streets as air cars and large holograms walk around her. She is being chased by two thugs, who are trying to catch her. Running into a club she is almost at a needle casting facility when a ninja slaughters the two thugs and turns on her. Things are bad but then Takeshi (Ray Chase/ Tatsuhisa Suzuki) arrives to save the day. Teaming up with local CTAC operator Gina (Elizabeth Maxwell/ Rina Satô) they get Holly to the safety of the Yakuza or as it turns out maybe into significantly more danger than she was before.
Now, this is an interesting film, in that we are usually a bit cagier about spoilers with films, but then it is also hard to talk about this film without getting into spoilers for both past seasons and a big reveal in this film. So with that in mind, there will be some big [SPOILERS] around character points going forward but not for the ending.
TL;DR – Its music, story, animation, worldbuilding, and characters that you really care for even though they are all broken in some way
A while back I took a moment to write about Why I loved Star Trek DS9 and since it was a great time of writing I have been meaning to get back at it again. I had a couple of choices but with the announcement that Netflix is producing a ten-episode live-action remake of Cowboy Bebop, well I got instantly dragged back in time to my high school days when the show rippled through my life with every beat of those conga drums, and well I instantly knew what to do next. Why Cowboy Bebop? Well, there are a lot of reasons, the music, story, animation, characters, but more than anything, it was the way it shaped how I viewed television and animation as a medium and got me more and more interested with how it is all made. It is also one of the go-to shows, as well as Samurai Champloo (サムライチャンプル), that I recommend whenever someone want to start exploring animation. So with that in mind let us dive into the neo-noir space-western from Shinichirō Watanabe (渡辺 信一郎) all about trying to escape the past and then realising that you can’t, and then also Ed, hello Ed.
In the Cowboy Bebop world, the human race has expanded out into the Solar System when the first Astral Gate (a faster than light transport system) exploded next to The Moon raining down Luna debris on Earth. The world had one choice escape or die on Earth and so they expanded out terraforming the Moons of Jupiter, Venus, creating the crater cities of Mars, and also Asteroid outposts across the Solar System like Tijuana (TJ). By 2071, because the human race is spread out across such a large region of space it has meant that enforcing law and order has become a challenge, so the powers at be implemented a bounty system and so Cowboys spread out chasing bounties and bringing back criminals to face justice … for a fee of course. This is where we meet our crew of the Bebop the ship they travel around the Solar System catching criminals while trying not to have to spend all its bounty on repairs.
TL;DR – An ambitious series
drawing inspiration from multiple religious and mystical frameworks that while
pioneering in many respects, completely fails to stick the landing
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Today I get to finally explore the third pillar of 1990s sci-fi anime with the
massively influential Neon Genesis
Evangelion. For me, this was almost a form of closure given how much I have
watched the other two pillars Cowboy
Bebop and Ghost in the Shell but
I never got to see Evangelion. It was
also interesting to see a show that has been massively influential to the genre
but watching it with 20 years of extra context on top of it. Well if nothing
else, the ending stinger to last year’s Desert Bus now makes sense. With
that in mind, let’s dive in and explore Hideaki Anno’s work of gods, and
angels, and science, and man.
So to set the scene, in the year 2000 a great calamity arouse across the world
when the second impact occurred in Antarctica blasting the icy continent to
ruin and melting all its ice causing extensive flooding across the world. The
UN authority declared that the cause was a giant meteorite impact, hence common
term of it being ‘the second impact’ (okay sort of, but also sort of not, it
gets complicated). However, this is all a cover, because what really happened
is that a creature of great power was discovered under the ice, this Angel was
called Adam and something the researchers did trigger him destroying
everything. 15 years later, Shinji Ikari (Megumi Ogata/ Spike Spencer/ Casey
Mongillo) is running through deserted streets to a pick-up location. The whole
area has gone into emergency lockdown for some unknown reason, and that reason
turns out to be a second angel that everyone kind of expected was coming. Just
before he is crushed, Shinji is rescued by Captain Misato Katsuragi (Kotono
Mitsuishi/ Allison Keith/ Carrie Keranen) and taken to Tokyo-3 where a
secretive organisation Nerv has their headquarters. The leader of Nerv is
Shinji’s father Gendo Ikari (Fumihiko Tachiki/ Tristan MacAvery/ Ray Chase) who
is at best distant, but a more fair description would be icy or even abusive.
However, Shinji does not have time to process that because he is announced to
be the Third Child, and one of only a few people that can pilot an Evangelion
which he has to do like now.
TL;DR – This is an
interesting premise and it is playing with some interesting themes, even if it
doesn’t quite always come together.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
In recent years Netflix has been starting to make a big push into the anime arena
possible as a way of holding off some of its competitors. Well in the same week
that Neon Genesis Evangelion finally
made its way on to the streaming service we get an adaptation of one of the
most famous manga series 7Seeds.
Well, you have animation, set in a post-apocalyptic world, and add a growing
mystery, well count me in.
So to set the scene, one day Natsu Iwashimizu (Nao Tōyama) wakes up in the
middle of the ocean on a sinking ship. The last thing she remembers is having a
big dinner of all her favourite things and then she wakes up all alone. But
before she has a chance to process what is going on Mozu (Kazuhiko Inoue) is
screaming for her to get into a life raft. The two of them, along with Arashi (Jun
Fukuyama) and Semimaru (Katsuyuki Konishi) find themselves on an abandoned
island filled with odd creatures and plants. Is there anyone coming to help
them? Where are they? Is there anyone left? Well, the answer to that is a large
no because a cataclysm has happened. Now from here, we will be looking at the season
as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.