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25 May 2008 @ 10:46 pm
Drama Reviews  
Somehow I've been making dents on catching up on stuff. So, here are my thoughts on what I've been watching lately:



Ultra Galaxy Giant Monster Battle
(I just love that title. Is it a giant monster battle or a giant monster battle? Ah, double meanings...)

I finished it, and at the same time have gone back to the beginning. Which has turned out to be unexpectedly useful. This series grabbed me at first, since it's so obviously set in the Showa universe just further in the future than anything we've seen yet. I keep thinking it would be fun to cross it into the Alliterative universe (particularly since I'm convinced that Oki is Teppei reincarnated.)

Unfortunately I felt the ending just didn't stand up to the beginning's potential. There were too many plot threads left hanging in my opinion, and a lot of stuff shoved into the last episode or so. We finally resolve the mystery of who Rei is, but that's about it. His sister's motivations still seem really unclear to me, and I don't think it was explained why this suddenly turned into Monster Planet -- particularly since we start the series with giant monsters being extinct.

I should re-watch the ending again, just to make sure there wasn't more explanation that I just missed. But in the end, I think the conclusion was so weak as to leave an overall impression of an adequate, but not necessarily solid series. Perhaps once the sequel gets made (since the end really did cry out for one) it will answer the outstanding questions, and thus prop up the series as a whole. For now, it was worth a watch, but it's not landing high on my list of favorite Ultraman series.

(Technically it's only a series set in the Ultraman universe, since we really don't see much of Ultraman himself.)




Shigeshoushi: Just about done with this one. I have the last two episodes to go. I forgot to download the last episode back when it first aired, and am now having trouble getting it downloaded. Feh. The preview for the second to the last episode made it look like I probably want both of the last episodes together.

This series really hasn't grabbed me. The "corpse of the week" theme kind of tended to put me off, since I would start each episode playing "spot the dead person". So I knew never to get really attached to anyone, since they were probably going to croak by the end. And of the regular cast, there wasn't really anyone I particularly liked. Okay, Igarashi's character out of a sense of loyalty. (And a probably misplaced hope that he would turn scary and psychotic like Otoya from Watashitachi no Kyoukasho.) But I have to admit that the character (I can't even remember his name, which shows how not attached to him I was) struck me as pretty annoying. Perhaps it's because I'm getting a bit tired of seeing Igarashi play cheerful ditzes (Mirai set the standard high in this area, so it's nigh impossible for anyone else to impress me in that area), but it really feels like there isn't a lot of there there for the character.

It's not a bad series, but for me it feels empty. I'll be glad to get finished with it, and am debating whether to bother keeping copies of it or just delete it all. I don't expect this is something I'm going to want to rewatch.





Kyou Kara Maou ("Demon Lord From Now On"): It's so odd, watching anime. I've been watching live action stuff so much recently that I look at a series filled with bishounen and think, "why did I think the ink on paper was eye candy?"

That aside, I'm actually enjoying this. It's not a deep series, and is pretty standard color by numbers. But I can cope with formulaic, and I'm somewhat intrigued on where the writers are going with the the demon-human dynamic. I'm five episode in, and several of the characters have differentiated themselves enough to entertain me. I particularly like the fiancee getting all jealous. I'm getting this through Netflicks, and have moved the rest of the disks up the queue.




Rookies: Yet another one that I started because I'm a completest fangirl. Elements of this remind me of a less messed version of Watashitachi no Kyoukasho, only this time Our Hero has a spine. I've only seen one episode so far, but I'm liking it. (What? I'm a sucker for school dramas. Particularly ones featuring bratty teenagers with attitude problems.) I'll be intrigued to see how the series goes once it hits its stride, since there were moments of some really interesting directing. I thought the opening sequence up to the Kawatou showing up at school to be particularly well done.

Igarashi's character is, as usual, pretty backgrounded. I'm hoping once some of the main characters get their angst out of the way that we'll get a little more development on the secondary characters. It's a nice change having him be glowery instead of ditzy. But... hm, how to put it. I'd like to see a little more acting? Eye candy's nice, but versatile eye candy's more interesting.

I'd completely forgotten that I'd picked this up for two fangirlish reasons, not one. It wasn't until I started poking through the cast list out of a vague sense of "I've seen some of these actors before" that I realized the guy with the hair I'd been staring at all episode was Satou Takeru. D'oh! Well, obviously his character this time didn't remind me of Ryoutarou. OTOH, he hasn't really seemed to develop much of a character yet. *sigh* I hope he gets less backgrounded, since I was rather impressed with his acting in Den'ou, and would like to see more. (Not quite enough to feel an urge to watch more Princess Princess D, though.)



Ah, Akiba@deep, how I love you. So wacky and geeky yet oddly cool. So much nostalgia, seeing all the familiar places in Akihabara. This show is lovely.

That said... it's kind of been losing momentum for me since the zombie episode. Maybe it's because the subject of the mystery doesn't interest me that much (not a zombie person, and if I want to see big boobs, I'll go have a chat with a mirror), but the last couple of episodes I've watched haven't been as cool in my opinion. We'll see how it goes for the rest of the series. In any case, it is by no means a waste of time watching this series, and I highly recommend it. (For all that I've had to refrain on multiple occasions from posting rants on subbing dos and don'ts while watching. I wish I had softsubs for this, the subtitles are annoying me that much.)

I'd love to see the actor who plays Page in something different. He manages to be stutteringly dorky yet cool at the same time. A tricky combination, and he does it with style.





I saw about five minutes of the first episode of Keitai Sousakan 7 while in Japan, and made a note to track it down. I'm not sorry I did. I'm loving this series. Something in the chemistry between the characters totally works for me, and the main character's balance between apathy/minor delinquency and submerged heroism just tickles me. I'm seriously considering translating this(*), I like it that much. I'm hoping that it continues to entertain me, since I've been missing having a weekly series that I can't wait for the next episode on.


(* Yes, I know I'm already working on one regular project, and have a side project I'm playing with. Don't worry, I'm not dropping the main project. It's just that I'm not the only translator on it, and with the volume of translating I normally do (read: most days at work at lunch, and sometimes at home when the project grabs me), it doesn't keep me occupied unless I start stepping on peoples' toes. Wisdom dictates I find something else to keep me occupied. And I am insane enough to ponder doing two side projects, particularly since the first one is so short.)





I've never understood why fandom decided that it should be romanized "Kiva". The katakana's pretty unambiguous, and given that he transforms when his bat-thingie chomps him, "Kamen Rider Fang" seems the more appropriate romanization. *shrug* Maybe it's just that the stuff I deal in usually uses the katakana "u" with a small "a" to represent "va" instead of "ba". /end persnickety translator rant

I haven't given up on this completely yet -- though largely because I remember that I didn't care much for Den'ou at the beginning either, so maybe like Den'ou, Kiba will grow on me. So far it feels to me like they took various elements out of the past several years' worth of KR series, threw it in a blender, hit frappe, then garnished with a large does of goth. Then end result tends to feel a bit like... well, a formless mass of nothing with various disjointed bits floating in it.

The main character has been improving steadily, but at first it felt like they were trying to re-do Ryoutarou, only lamer. I can see no reason why he would grow enough of a spine to go fight the Fangaire. Similarly, I don't see why he got over his "allergic to the world" thing so quickly. It just all feels very, very contrived.

Similarly, the giant flying thing that comes out of the building to fight the giant monster. When did monsters turning giant become a Kamen Rider trope? It makes it feel like it's trying to be a sentai team, only with, well, no team.

And the stupid, annoying flying thing needs to die.

...

In case you couldn't tell, this is probably not my favorite Kamen Rider series. We'll see if it manages to climb the rankings. Though it will take someone at least as cool as Deneb to manage it, and that's kind of a tall order to fill.





So all in all, lots of stuffs getting watched. Yayz! I'm pleased with Rookies and Keitai Sousakan -- particularly since I'm given to understand the latter will be a year long show.
 
 
 
VerusMaya IIverusmayaii on May 26th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
On Kiva: Fandom didn't decide it was romanized "Kiva", Toei did. Underneath the logo it reads "Masked Rider Kiva" in English. If that wasn't there, I'm sure everyone would be calling it Kiba because that's a lot cooler and logical.
Your description of throwing everything in a blender to create the show is incredibly accurate, and I really couldn't agree more. I'd like to put the blame on the writer (Inoue, who seems to have lost his ability to put together a coherent and mostly plot-hole-less story after finishing Agito, as seen by Kamen Rider 555's huge failure and his more recent writing on the Devil May Cry anime) but there are probably a variety of behind the scene reasons.
As for the giants... Hibiki fought giant monsters, but that show is kind of an oddity in the KR franchise to begin with. Den-O had those Gigandeaths, but they dropped those pretty quickly now that I think about it. Who knows. Kiva is kind of a mess right now.

Keitai Sousakan 7 has grabbed me too, even though I'm holding off on watching the raws every week since it's one of those shows that requires understanding. It's going to be a year long? Thank goodness, I was afraid it'd be drama-length or something. It has a lot of potential, and I've completely fallen in love with Seven's character. It's always nice to get something out of the KR/sentai/Ultraman norm.

Akiba@DEEP is one of the best shows I've seen. :D