【Anime】 喰霊-零- / Ga-Rei -Zero-

More old anime.

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Title: 喰霊-零- (Ga-Rei -Zero-)
Studio: AIC Spirits and asread
Director: あおきえい (AOKI Ei)
Original Creator: 瀬川はじめ (HASEGAWA Hajime)
Episodes: 12
Genre: Seinen (Drama, Supernatural, Action)
Status: Completed, not licensed.
My Rating: 9.3/10

Ga-Rei -Zero- is set in an alternate version of Japan riddled with destructive supernatural spirits which regular people cannot see. In order to protect its citizens, two factions of the government have set up specialized teams dedicated to fighting against these spirits, and the most elite teams employ members which have the natural ability to perceive spirits, fighting against them with unique exorcizing weapons. The series follows the missions of the elite teams and explores the relationships between the members. Ga-Rei -Zero- is the anime-original prequel to the original manga Ga-Rei by HASEGAWA Hajime. -Zero- does not assume any knowledge of the manga on the part of the viewer.

Review: This is a series which the viewer should start watching without knowing anything, as its main appeal, in my opinion, is in its unpredictability and shock factor. The first-time viewer only needs to know that the series is good to incredible and is worth a watch, and should not be given clues as to the series progression. I highly advise against looking at anything related to Ga-Rei -Zero- (besides this post, maybe) if you have not seen it before. Also, try not to read any episode summaries (especially avoid Episode 1 summaries) or look at reviews which detail parts of the plot. Perhaps hold off on reading the manga as well. I also do not recommend marathoning the series in one or two sittings. I did so in a single sitting, and it was not to the best effect. I believe I could have had an even better experience had I paced myself and watched 1-2 episodes at a time to give myself more time to think about all the things that happened.

Because of my firm belief in not disclosing anything relevant about the plot in Ga-Rei -Zero-, I will not mention any character names or specific events which happened in the series. This will be a spoiler-free review about the general elements which I found noteworthy.

I highly recommend this series to anyone mature enough to cope with relatively brutal and graphic violence, and to those looking for a compact but substantial and exciting series. I especially recommend this to those who like unpredictability and like to have their expectations destroyed. As this is a relatively heavy series, I do not recommend it to those looking for quick entertainment or those who are currently in very low spirits.

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【Anime】 Ani*Kuri15

Old but good.

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Title: Ani*Kuri15
Studio: GONZO, Production I.G, GAINAX, Studio 4°C, MADHOUSE, Comix Wave Film, Satelight
Directors: MAEDA Mahiro, YABUTA Tatsuya (with Murata Range), TAKEUCHI Atsushi, HAYASHI Akemi, OSHII Mamoru, Michael Arias, KON Satoshi, ODA Tobira and SHIMIZU Yasuyuki, SHINKAI Makoto, NISHIMI Shoujirou, NAKAZAWA Kazuto, KAWAMORI Shoji, SOEJIMA Yasufumi, KIMURA Shinji, and KOBAYASHI Osamu.
Episodes: 15
Genre: Short experimental animation
Status: Completed, not licensed
My Rating: 9.0/10

Ani*Kuri 15 was a short animation series which aired on NHK from 2007 to 2008. Each episode was one minute and was directed and animated by different directors and studios. There were a total of three seasons, with 5 episodes each. These shorts have no recurring theme due to the differences in producers, but they were all meant to showcase a sample of the variety of styles and themes found in Japanese animation.

Wikipedia: Ani*Kuri15

Review: This covers all fifteen episodes, but some “reviews” are shorter than others. Majority of reviews do not include summaries. The episodes and main producers are listed as “director name” x “production studio name”. Click on the title to see a frame from the short. Recommended ones are asterisked.

I (highly) recommend this series to anyone interested in exploring the different styles present in the Japanese animation scene, and it’s a very good starting point for getting to know all the studios and directors showcased here.

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【Anime】CANAAN

Old news anime…

2009-05-12-163167
Illust: 関口可奈味

Title: CANAAN
Studio: P.A. Works
Original Scenario: 奈須きのこ (NASU Kinoko)
Character Designs: 武内崇(TAKEUCHI Takashi)
Episodes: 13
Genre: Seinen (Action)
Status: Completed, not licensed.
My Rating: 7.8/10

OOSAWA Maria is an aspiring camerawoman who travels to Shanghai with her co-worker, reporter MINORIKAWA Minoru, in hopes of getting a big scoop. While they’re on the job, they get caught up in terrorist-related activities which have to do with a lethal virus called the Ua virus and its victims. The anime is based on a bonus scenario written by NASU Kinoko for the game 428.

To be honest, I’ve never really read/seen any of Nasu’s works before (5 paragraphs of Tsukihime doesn’t count!), so I’m not sure if CANAAN is the regular, awesome Nasu affair, but CANAAN’s story was pretty great, in my opinion. I wanted to watch this for four reasons:

1. 428 got 40/40 from Famitsu.
2. Alphard reminded me of Revy from Black Lagoon, who is awesome, and is voiced by Sakamoto Maaya
3. The OP sequence’s ranking as interpreted by Baka-Raptor.
4. The ED theme was sung by Annabel, one of my favourite doujin artists.

There was a lot of progression each episode, and the sequence for how they revealed everything (from the initial individual encounters to the reasons behind the whole grand plan), was done really coherently, and the best thing was that after everything was revealed, they went back to the characters and developed them a little more so that at the end they didn’t seem shallow at all. There weren’t a lot of plotholes that I noticed either, and even the silly mascot helmets were explained. Unfortunately, I thought the actual concept itself was pretty over-the-top. A superstrong virus, world government leaders, fighter planes, synethesia to this extent…It’s good to try and incorporate some real world stuff into elaborate stories like these, but here it just seemed a little out of place, especially when the whole thing is centered around relatively unserious large-eyed characters.

I should also note that the animation was seriously impeccable. After seeing a certain slideshow anime, I forgot that anime was supposed to immerse the audience with animation, but CANAAN reminded me with every second I watched. GJ P.A. Works!

The characters were in general awesome, but with a large, important exception: Maria. Maria is absolutely useless. She cannot take pictures, she cannot fight, and her most outstanding skill seems to be getting kidnapped so people can get a certain character to fight with them. I really felt that she was just there to act as a plot device to develop other characters and trigger events, and other than that, she didn’t seem at all like a character. Her voice is also not sugoi. Other than Maria, though, the rest were almost more than awesome, and I could say that the entire main cast (except Maria) was above average in terms of likeability. Here’s my ranking:

1. Hakko – Mute, beautiful, slightly deadly woman who stole every scene she was in despite not talking. So awesome.
2. Alphard – More like 1.02, because she’s equivalent to Hakko in coolness, but she really didn’t have enough scenes in the series, and if she appeared more often, she’d be my absolute favourite. At first she reminded me of Revy from Black Lagoon (Tattoo, ponytail, shorts, nonexistent fashion sense), but she is more composed and slick. She’s also voiced by Sakamoto Maaya, whom we all love.
3. Canaan – So unemotional and strong she is awesome. Although it seems like she likes Maria in a really yuri way to most people, it seemed to me that she just loved Maria since Canaan doesn’t really have anybody else to love. Crazy fighting style and pretty eyes, too, but just how old is she anyways?
4. Liang Qi – Psycho, sadistic villian who would’ve been my top favourite if she fit in with the rest of the too-chill cast. She is very entertaining to watch, and her dialogue is so incredibly interesting, but is far too exaggerated and insane. I couldn’t believe she was voiced by Tanaka Rie. Must’ve been a mistake in the credits…or not.

Overall, CANAAN was a really satisfying series to watch, especially because the fights were so well choreographed and animated. Great characters and a coherent plot that doesn’t make you think TOO much makes this series above average, but the existence of Maria pulls it down a bit, and the themes are not life-changingly deep. (Actually, it is slightly shallow.) Recommended if you want a quick, beautiful action fix with an awesome cast.