02 April 2011

The three-month update:

Not a whole lot to cover for three month's time, but there's a bit at least.

I need to plug Netflix one more time. There is a bit of a lag as far as getting anime series, because it seems that everyone wants disc one because they want to see what the series will be like before they get all the rest of the discs, but other than that it's a ton of fun to be able to get anime for free through the mail, and all you have to do is send it back.

I'm old-school 90s, where there were three options for my anime... one was to buy it tape-by-tape, which was $20-$25 and there was no guarantee you may like it. The other was to be able to find a place to rent it, which was a long shot at best (though my college town did have a place like that, thank heaven, even though I didn't rent too many because of the distance). Three was to borrow it from someone else, and since that entailed the other person to be able to lay out $20 or $25 per tape, you'd have to find some decently well-off friends. (Luckily, the college I went to also had an anime club with a small library, that was useful for borrowing too).

Compared to today, with streaming video, Netflix, and fansubs, it's a far different world now. Currently, our choice is the Netflix setup, because it's easier to find it and put it up on the big screen.

Anyway, the first series that I watched with my children is Princess Tutu. My daughter is into ballet, and we thought that it would be a good show for the family to watch. Thankfully, the grand majority of the show is age-appropriate for younger children.

The setting of the show is in (what looks like) any random old-fashioned European village. There are multiple characters who are not even human, and 90% of the cast dances ballet, even the anteater, hippo, and the teacher who is a cat. The series' protagonist is Duck, who looks like a complete human for the most part but if she quacks she turns into a duck.

I wasn't sure that I would enjoy this series, but there are a few points that I wanted to say that work very well in the show's favor, even if it is a show that young children are able to follow. First is that the show's tenor and tone change rather dramatically after episode 13, which *almost* looked like a conclusion. The second is that characters change alliance, which is always interesting in my book because of the interplay between characters who once were unhappy with each other but find themselves working towards a common goal. And the underlying basis of the story is extremely interesting too... you see, the story actually is a story within a story, and it gets very meta. It really allows room for thought and the second layer was more than enough to draw my attention as an adult (as the kids were able to focus on the first layer, which is still absorbing.) The ending seemed a bit rough on the surface, but fits very well with the second layer too. I would recommend this show to people who enjoy the interplay of meta (as I do), who enjoy classical music (as each episode is built around a different melody from history, such as Swan Lake or The Nutcracker), and especially if children are around as it would be a good anime for them to watch to enjoy the genre.

The other two shows I've been watching are "in progress" right now. First, I'm finally watching Neon Genesis Evangelion I had never watched it in the 90s, nor even in the 00s, bu I'm watching it now. It really is bizarre to watch this show because not only does it feel as if I'd watched every scene -- albeit out of order -- due to my enjoyment of anime music videos, but I've read more than my share of NGE fanfiction as well. Seeing the source material fills in more than a few blanks, though there weren't too many blanks.

I'm currently at episode 10 (or so), and there is definitely something striking about this series. The dub really sucks. Being a 90s anime, it's almost as if they created the dub prior to anyone caring about voice acting. My suggestion would be to see it subtitled, because then Shinji won't sound like a 20-year-old and Misato a teenage valley girl.

The third series is American. My wife and I have been watching Psych, thanks again to Netflix (streaming). The show answers a question I had, which would be what Dr. House would be like if he weren't so bent on self-destruction and tried to have fun. The settings even fall into that sort of stereotype, House on the East coast and Psych in sunny California. I enjoy these types of shows, they're the direct descendant of Sherlock Holmes stories yet still have a twist about them. I would recommend Psych to fans of the genre and even to non-fans to try out and see if they are enjoyable.

The work continues with Megane 6.7 and I, we're still doing a Rifftrax of The Last Dragon and hopefully we will be recording within the next couple weeks. Have a good Spring!