Anime Reviews  

      Warning:   These aren't actually reviews, but opinions and rants and so on.

        If you are unfamiliar with the series being reviewed, please look at the Anime links page .   Whenever I do a review, I make sure to add a link to a site for the show.   There may be links above for shows I have not reviewed though.   Spoilers are a risk here.   If it's a really long review (like for a series), there might be a separate page for that review- just follow the link.

        This is sort of an Andy Rooney meets Anime meets Siskel & Ebert thing.   Yes I know he's dead but it's still 'Siskel & Ebert,' it's still 'GTE,' and it's still the 'Tyler Mall.'   The point is most of the stuff i've written here is cynical / nitpicking / etc..   The links above are for balance- if you want more information on one of the shows or you think i'm being too down on one of them, well that's what the links are for.   As a note to Video Burn in general and Mr. President in particular, i'm thankful for getting to see all these animes.   Even when i'm ripping on wuss-boy, it's not a matter of 'i'd rather not be watching Evangelion,' it's a matter of me being really old (29) and liking to complain about everything.

      One other thing I think i've noticed about writing these reviews.   If I write them when it's very late or i've had a bad day or whatever, i'm pretty unforgiving with any reviews I write that evening.   When it's been a long day at work, I don't come home and kick the dog (I wouldn't even if I had one); I rip on wuss-boy (Shinji of Evangelion) or Yui of Fushigi Yugi.

        On another rambling note, regarding the images at the top of this page.   As extremely grumpy as I may be at times, there is the other side of things for me.   The above images being a good example- they pretty much send me into conniptions of laughter.   Yes, I know it's a girl- she's in His And Her Circumstances.   No, I am not a girl.   No, I am not implying gayness or anything on my part.   It's just that expression...

DragonBallZ:   Androids, Assassins

        This, as of August 18, 2000, appears to be the latest dubbed tape out in stores ($8 at Target).   Episodes 118, 119, and 120.   Dr. Gero wakes up 17 & 18.   They kill him.   They wake up 16.   18 and Vegeta fight.   Vegeta's losing; get's his arm dislocated or broken (not sure which or both) at the end of episode 120.

        16 seems nice enough, kind of like a more pleasant, nicer version of Reccomb.

        17, looking at the cover of the tape, is of undetermined gender.   From what Vegeta says and from 17's voice, it's clearly male (unlike some frosty individuals I could mention).

        18.   Ah, 18.   This is the first time i've seen a girl on DragonballZ participate in any kind of combat.   Before it's always seemed like they're pretty much only there as a source of comic relief, so it's nice to see 18 roughing up Vegeta.   I know in the original series of Dragonball, Chi-chi participates in one of the tournaments as a fighter just like everyone else, but I haven't seen that part of the series.   I also understand that eventually 18 will marry Krillin.   I just hope she doesn't end up being essentially domesticated the way Chi-chi appears to have been, that she (18) continues to be a main character/combatant.

        I know Vegeta is and has always been a kind of over-the-top character with lots of ego and arrogance and so on, but he just seemed more nuts than usual on this tape.   When he was fighting Freeza he seemed to eventually realize he was beaten, but he hasn't shown any sign of that so far.   Of course, this was all before his arm got popped.   "Tis but a scratch."   "A scratch?   Your arm's off."   "No it isn't."   "Well, what's that then?"   "I've had worse."   "You lie."   "I'm invincible..."   "You're a loony."


Episode 1:   Angel Attack

      So what appears to be something like a nuclear blast turns the whole area into craters, but the car survives.

      Gawd this Shinji kid is such a total wuss.   I don't care how much of a hero he becomes- He's a wuss.

Episode 2:   Unfamiliar Ceiling / The Beast

      Kiddo, the reason your father doesn't want you around is that you're a loser.

      The city that Shinji saved?   I don't recall seeing anything happen to the angel.   Guess his wussiness disgusted the creature so much it left.

      Well that's the first Anime girl i've ever seen who drinks.   I see we have all those special touches Gainax brings us.   Aw nuts, accept the bounce that is.

      Oh, now we find out what happened with the angel.   Would have saved a lot of money if anyone had thought to lower the buildings during the fight.   Bet it'll be like the saucer separating on Next Generation- they'll pretty much forget about it after the first couple of episodes.

      Let me guess- wuss-boy is going to, at some point, suddenly and for no logical reason turn into the confident hero like the girl from Gunbuster.

Episode 3:   A Transfer / The Phone That Never Rings

      "I don't think he has any friends."   Really?   What part of his happy-go-lucky personality clued you in?

      If info about the Eva is supposed to be top secret, why on Earth did anyone trust wuss-boy with it?   They had no choice?   Fine, then why are they putting wuss-boy in a public school or even in public at all?   They can't stand to have him around very long, and this gets him away from them for at least a little while each day?   Okay, that i'll buy.

      Another angel.   I wonder if this battle will be as satisfying as the last one?

      I understand why they lower the buildings.   Aside from aesthetics, why do they go to all the trouble of raising them in the first place?   Why not just leave them underground all the time?

      Hey...Is that kid with the camera...He sounds like Chi-chiri from Fushigi Yugi.

Episode 4:   Rain, Escape, And Afterwards / A Hedgehog's Dream

      "I'm a coward...And a wimp."   Yes, you most certainly are.

Episode 5:   Rei / Beyond Her Heart

      Background info on Rei.   How she got hurt and how she's a bit loopy, but not as wuss-like as the boy.   Some kind of involvement between Rei and wuss-boy's father.   Don't know yet if it's a couple thing or a crush thing on Rei's part.

      Angel of the week attacks.   Whoopee.

      Wuss-boy is a bit less wussy.   Now he's just awkward (for the moment).

      I know the story says they have to use 14 year olds to pilot the Evas, but I still say it's just a plot device with no internal justification- 14 year old pilots only because that's the show's target demographic.

      Wuss-boy's dad, who is in command of the whole thing, didn't call for wuss-boy until what- 5 minutes?- before he needed wuss-boy to pilot Unit 01.   Had non-genius man (wuss-boy's dad) thought ahead and realized that some accident or other might happen to his existing pilot (Rei), he might have come up with the very obvious idea that maybe he should have a back-up pilot ready.   Had he done this- started to train wuss-boy earlier- maybe stuff like the warning to wuss-boy that the angel is about to fire on him would result in more than 'duhhhh...' and the Eva being shot.

      "The pilot's brain waves are extremely erratic."   That's because he's a wuss!

Episode 6:   Showdown In Tokyo 3

      "As soon as the indicators in the center converge, just pull the trigger."   So...why not have the computer do the whole thing?   What is it that wuss-boy is contributing to the situation (aside from his just sitting there in the Eva) other than his wussiness and higher probability of screwing up?

      Pen-Pen's pretty cool.

      Ya know- give me the lions, put them together, send in the Ro-Beast, and do it all without the angst.   Then i'll be happy.

Episode 7:   Human Creation

      Okay, so the new nuclear-powered Eva is a runaway, maybe it would have been just a touch smarter not to have it walking directly toward the control room in the first place...

      Wuss-boy is too inexplicably brave.   I don't buy it.

Episode 8:   Asuka Strikes

      "You made her cry- it's your fault!"   Yeah- it doesn't have anything at all to do with her being a bitch or with the two of them just not being as coordinated with each other as wuss-boy and Rei.

      Ah...We see that bitch-girl apparently lacks nipples.

      I understand one of the main points of the show, of many animes, is to see giant mecca running around.   Don't get me wrong- I enjoy it myself.   In this story, the whole point of building the Evas appears to be to defeat the angels.   But a machine that is more generalized- the Evas, which can run and jump and shoot things- is inherently less efficient than a more specialized device- such as a rail-mounted version of the positron cannon.   And don't give me 'the angel would just have shot and destroyed it like when it shot at Eva 01.'   Assuming they have the ability to make such a device track its target accurately, it could aim and fire from a moving rail car.   The targeting ability is, I think, a safe assumption since tanks in the real world have such an ability.   Or they could mount the gun on one of those buildings and have it lowering safely out of the way just as it fires.   Or...or...or...   Point being it would be cheaper, easier to build, and probably more efficient.

      And look- the buildings are still up again.   and given the speed of that blast shield raising, a pop-up positron cannon ought to work.

      "Those kids are embarassing us again."   Well, maybe you shouldn't use kids then.

Episode 9:   Unknown

      Did I...miss an episode? Can my life ever be complete?

Episode 10:   Magma Diver

        Wait, what happened to episode 9?   Aw, nuts, I screwed up somewhere along the line.

        Someone ought to explain to Rei about the price of freedom and eternal vigilance...

        Wuss-boy's answer to the question of thermal expansion should have been 'I guess we should experiment- let's try and find out.'

      Why am I not surprised that the angel hatches just as they're trying to raise it?

Episode 11:   In The Still Darkness / The Day Tokyo 3 Stood Still

      "Only 1.2% of them!   Only 9 circuits out of 2,567!"   Hellllooo!   1.2% of 2,567 would be more like 31 circuits!

      "This one's destination must be Tokyo 3."   Really?   What an amazing conclusion!   Considering they ALL head for Tokyo 3...

      Zap, zap with the Eva's gun- no more angel.   And no one can build a gun that works by itself without the Eva?

Episode 12:   She Said "Don't Make Others Suffer For Your Personal Hatred"

Episode 13:   Angel Invasion / Lilliputian Hitcher

      "Angel Invasion?"   We have an angel invading in nearly every single episode!

Episode 14:   Weaving A Story

      It seems to have happened a few times, as it does in this episode- they're running some test on one of the Evas, the Eva goes nuts, they shut the power off, and the Eva continues to go nuts for the 1 minute it's internal charge will last for.   Given that this does not appear to be an uncommon reaction on the part of the Evas, why don't they either disconnect the internal power or at least run it down to at or near zero?

      "The next contestant for the world's most amazing exhibition is...Math Puppy!"

Episode 15:   Those Women Longed For The Touch Of Others' Lips And Thus Invited Their Kisses

      Here we are approaching battle with all those buildings still up...

Episode 16:   Splitting Of The Breast

      Significant info in the episode regarding the Eva's creation.

Episode 17:   The Judgement Of Life

      "You three damn stooges."   Is this a literal translation or was it a Japanese cultural reference that was changed so folks in the U.S. would get it?   If it's literal, I wonder what portion of the Japanese viewership got it?

Episode 18:   Ambivalence

      Okay, so Unit 03's pilot is Toji.   Big flipping deal.   Speaking of which, wuss-boy's flipping out.   Boo-hoo, i've killed someone.   Boo-hoo, it's Toji.   And this (wuss-boy) is the person hand-picked to protect Earth from the angels?   Oh yes, using anti-social, inexperienced 14 year olds is the best way to save the world!

      Oh, and now because we're upset about Toji, we'll threaten to blow up the base.

Episode 19:   A Man's Fight / Introjection

      "...but me, everyone at NERV, had no choice accept to entrust our futures to you."   In other words, you're in deep Kimshe [sic].

      For some reason, to me at least, angel #14 looks like a Holstein...

      Rei, for whatever mysterious origins she has, is doing the job.   None of this stupid, teen angst, boo-hoo I can't do my job because i'm pissed off stuff.   Suicide mission to blow up the angel.   She's the only one of the pilots i've seen so far that I would consider capable.

Episode 20:   Form Of The Mind, Form Of The Man / Weaving A Story 2:   Oral Stage

      Form of the demon, Etrigan.   Wuss-boy survived.   Darn.

Episode 21:   The Birth Of NERV / He Was Aware That He Was Still A Child

Episode 22:   Don't Be

      Ummm...Okay, I won't.

Episode 23:   Rei III

      "The tragedy of the Eva project is it's people."   I agree- they're all psychos.

      5th child.   Yuck.

Episode 24:   The Beginning And The End Or 'Knockin On Heaven's Door'

      " was Kaoro that should have survived- he was much better than I am."   That's not saying much since it merely implies that Kaoro came from the population of every single other person on Earth.

      "If everyone hates me, what will I do?"   You'll live with it just like anyone else you complete flipping loser.

Episode 25:   Do You Love Me?

Episode 26:   Finale:   Take Care Of Yourself

      That's it???!!   The whole summation of the series, the whole point, the big climactic moment at the end is wuss-boy learning not to hate himself?   Terribly unsatisfying.

      So that thing at the bottom of the base ended up being Lillith instead of Adam as the last angel expected?   What's the deal?

Evangelion:   Death

      Includes a re-hash of that greatest of high-drama moments from the entire series- the elevator scene!

      With the exception of the 'wuss-boy' playing the cello' scenes, pretty much the entire show is made up of stock footage from the series.   Complete and total waste of time.

      The only thing I can find to speak well of this waste of film about is the reccommendations the fan-sub group added across the top of the screen periodically as to what folks should do to the profiteering bootlegger if they paid some $10 - $30 for the tape.   They suggest:

              Slip them a copy of Battle Can-Can.

              Lock them in a room with Toshifumi Yoshida and a box of Raisinettes.

              Send them a 'love shipment' of fresh gerbils.

              Hunt them down and violate their cat.

      Yes it's a joke.   I mean, they intended it as one.   Don't be offended at them.   I'm a cat person and i'm not because I understand it's a joke.

Evangelion:   Rebirth

      Wuss-boy:   "I am so pathetic."   YES!   I agree.

      Hey...I think that's the first Anime Humvee i've ever seen.

      Wuss-boy is about to be killed.   Misato saves his life.   And now he still wants to just sit there and be miserable.   I have to say, wuss-boy is without a doubt the most complete and total loser in all of Anime.   Nobody, nobody, nobody- not even Kyle (Min-mei's cousin from Robotech) is worse than wuss-boy.

      Subtitled by Cartman's Mom Productions.   Translated from the Chinese subtitles by Mr. Hat.   Timed by Chef.   Edited by Stan Marsh.   Additional help from Kenny McCormick.   Physical assistance by Mrs. Cartman.   Special thanks to the editors of Crack W..h.ore Magazine.   < < I added the ....s so as not to auto-trigger filtering software > >

      And one more suggestion from the fan-subbers:

              Send them a copy of Battle Skipper (dubbed) and watch their heads explode.

Evangelion:   End Of Evangelion

      'Episode 25:   Air'   What?

      Note the SWAT guys behavior right after where Misato and wuss-boy barely make it through the door- when Misato gets hit.   I know they're not necessarily SWAT guys, but that's the best way I know to describe them- the black-clothed soldier guys trying to take over NERVE.   Anyway, the SWAT guys ask for permission to pursue Misato and wuss-boy.   Order is 'no.'   They acknowledge, and do not continue to pursue.   No 'screw the orders, i'm pursuing anyway.'   No 'boo-hoo, my father hates me so i'm going to do whatever the hell I want.'   They follow their orders.   They do their job.   I have more respect for them than for any of the Eva pilots, particularly wuss-boy.

      "I don't have the right to kill or harm people...."   That's right- you're a complete flipping loser wimp.   NERVE would be better off depending on Pen-Pen to pilot the Eva.

      Ah- at last an impressive sequence from one of the Eva pilots (Asuka).   But it looks like she's pretty much defeated- just got hit with a bunch of those spear things- and here worthless piece of you-know-what flipping wuss-boy is- listening to all this, mind you- and still sitting on the floor moping.   I can not- but of course I will try- fully convey the depth of contempt I have for this worthless bit of wasted protoplasm.   And yes, I know he eventually gets in the Eva, makes it up to the surface, sees what's happened to Rei, and looks pretty darned pissed off right as the end credits start to roll.   Of course, when he does presumably defeat the bad Evas it will look impressive, but that won't matter- it's not him, it's not his character, it's not that he's deciding to be brave.   He's just reacting to the sight of what's happened to Rei.

      Oh look- we're doing the heart-thing from Temple Of Doom.

      'Episode 26:   Yours Sincerely'   What?   Now i'm confused- I thought these were supposed to be movies, but 'episode 25' and 'episode 26' seem to imply we're back to normal series.

      So now what?   SEELE's trying to turn wuss-boy into a god or something?   Couldn't they have picked someone better- Kyle (Robotech)?   Sailor Moon?   Anyone?

      The future is up to Ikari's son??   Okay, well I guess the whole world's going to hell then...

Fushigi Yugi

Episode 1:   Girl Of Legend.

        (and stop referring to yourself as 'boy of destiny...')

        Miyaka.   Oh, this is the bottomless pit girl- eat, eat, eat.   The educational system is different in Japan than it is in the U.S..   In Japan, getting into a good high school is at least as important as getting into a good college is here.

        The show works kind of like Never-Ending Story.   While someone in our world reads the book, that stuff happens to the people inside the story (though to the reader as well).

        Definitely Shojo.   Lots of guys with lots of slow motion highlights of smiles, twinkling eyes, flowing (guy's) hair.   Don't worry- it's not just that; nearly everyone is completely nuts.   Basically it's an anime soap opera.

        Miyaka defeats four bad guys at once with complete confidence and assurance.   Then, when they get back up, she's instantly totally scared and helpless, so ogre-boy can save her.   A bit like Maid Maryan in the Kevin Costner version of Robin Hood.

Episode 2:   Priestess Of Suzaku.

        Most unfortunately Miyaka cries in order to get ogre-boy to do what she wants.   Tamahome.   Okay, that's ogre-boy.   Hotohori, emperor.   Good grief, they have sparkles all around him.

        The Konan Empire...shouldn't that be Aquilonia....?

        Miyaka Yugi, the savior of our empire.   Isn't that a bit like relying on Groo for security?

Episode 3:   Seven Stars Of Suzaku.

        Emperor:   "I'm so beautiful, it scares me."   There hasn't been this much love in the room since Narcissus discovered himself...

        Noriko kisses Tamahome.   Yuck; the reasons for which will become aparent later.

Episode 4:   Missing Love.

        "Explain to us, sire, why you ignore all the women in your harem?"

                  "Because I am more beautiful than all of them."

        Noriko is angry with Miyaka because the Emperor's going nuts over Miyaka and ignoring Noriko even though she (Noriko) has been in the imperial harem for a year.   Noriko is angry with Miyaka not for what Miyaka has done, but for what Noriko has failed to do.

Episode 5:   Bewildered Heartbeat.

        Noriko's secret revealed.   It's a man, bay-bee.

Episode 6:   Even If I Die.

        Emperor:   "I don't believe it- there's another man alive who's almost as beautiful as I am."

Episode 7:   Going Home

        Emperor:   "I can't stand the sight of anything so ugly."


        Girl:   "I can cure you as well."

                  Noriko:   "Don't you worry about me little girl, i'm not even injured."

        Girl:   "I'll fix your perversion."


        The guard locks the door.   Miyaka shouldn't be able to open it.

        Miyaka's back in present-day Japan; Yui's missing.   Never seems to occur to Miyaka where the most logical place for Yui to be is.

Episode 8:   ?

        Miyaka's brother:   "...he demands a sacrifice..It is scary!!!"

        Yui went into the book.   Miyaka eventually goes back in.   Miyaka's brother is the reader now.

        Two hours pass in present-day Japan, while three months passed in the Konan Empire.   I have a problem with this- it seems like what we will soon find out happened to Yui would have been mentioned in the book in present-day Japan.   Unless the story in that book skips to the exact moment of Miyaka's return, so much time shouldn't have passed in the Konan Empire since no one has been reading the book.

        Aaaand another thing-   The Priestess of Suzaku is supposed to be this big important protector of the realm, but we'll just let her run all over the place, with a war approaching without any guards, escort, etc..   Yeah, I know, it's the 'Captain Kirk beams down all alone to a dangerous planet' thing, and the story wouldn't work if it wasn't this way, but still...

Episode 9:   Enemies Unseen.

        Chi-chiri is monk-boy, got it.   Miyaka realizes Yui must be the Priestess of Seiryu.

Episode 10:   Looking For You.

        Miyaka:   "Wait...playing dead only works with bears and boring boys."   Unless they have a hand-cart... (go buy yourself a donut as a reward if you got that reference)

        Miyaka and Yui reunited at the Kuto palace.

Episode 11:   Priestess of Seiryu.

        Kuto general is Nakago.

        Judging from the way the guards check the room Miyaka & Yui are hiding in, Groo aparently is in charge of Kuto security.

        Miyaka:   "If I don't have the scroll, i'll never find the other three warriors."   Nobody ever thought to, oh, say, copy the blasted thing.

        Yui:   "At last I can go back to Konan with Miyaka and be closer to Tamahome."   Is Yui stupid or does she have selective amnesia or what?   Yui was the one reading the book in present-day Japan before she and Miyaka switched- why is she suddenly completely unaware of the relationship between Miyaka and Tamahome?   Or, let's say she is aware.   Then what right has she to later accuse Miyaka of not being a good best friend?

        Chi-chiri:   "Oh, shut!"

        Tamahome:   "That's a pun, right?"

        Hinge point- stupid one- but a major hinge point for the story nonetheless:   Yui sees Miyaka and Tamahome kiss and overhears Miyaka saying to Tamahome "That's the whole reason I came back from my world- I couldn't forget about you; I knew no matter what I had to be with you."   Yui hates Miyaka now in a big way.   Blames Miyaka for leaving her there, for the bad things that happened to her (Yui) and for the fact that Miyaka has Tamahome instead of Yui.

        Yui:   "You tricked me, didn't you?   You didn't come back here for me- it was only your desire for Tamahome that made you return."   Everything else aside, the main thing Yui seems to be basing her anger at Miyaka on is the belief that Miyaka lied about why she came back.

        Myself:   "What the HELL is this???!"   Forget the fact that Miyaka did finally come back, forget the fact that she and Yui have been friends forever, forget the fact that Miyaka was genuinely happy to see Yui, and forget the fact that Miyaka was in no way responsible for Yui wandering into a bad part of town on her arrival.   'To hell with that- i'll just blame Miyaka for everything.'

        This is the same sort of thing I was talking about with Noriko back in episode 4- Yui is holding Miyaka responsible not because of what Miyaka did but because of what happened to Yui.   Yes, I know how very very bad what happened to Yui turns out to be, but this still doesn't change the fact that it was in no way Miyaka's fault.

        Another thought as I continue to over-analyze this:   The logic Yui is using appears to be similar to the logic the poor tend to use to blame the wealthy and powerful for the poor's position in life- it's your fault i'm this way (poor) because you're that way (rich and powerful); to heck with my responsibility for my choices and my life- it's all your fault because you've been more fortunate/done better.   Aaaanyway, back to the show...

        Nakago is a seriously manipulative s.o.b..   You just watch though- I bet he'll end up being a 'good guy' because he's another cute guy.   I still don't hate him as much as Kyle though (Minmei's cousin for Robotech).

        Oh...hey...Chi-chiri's eyes can open.

        Grrr...last scene is Yui looking at her scar and presumably blaming Miyaka for it.   Hello, Yui- who put the blade in your hand?   Who's fault does that make it?

Episode 12:   Only You.

        We find out what happened to Yui when she first arrived three months ago.   Yui wanders into the slum district of Kuto's capital.   Who's fault?- Yui's.   At the very least, it's certainly not Miyaka's fault.   A gang of thugs rape her in the alley.   While the show doesn't show any naughty bits, there is absolutely no question that this is what happened to Yui.   Certainly not Yui's fault, but it's not Miyaka's fault either.

        And while we're on the subject of things that aren't Miyaka's fault, let's consider the three month thing.   Assuming (don't tell me, it's an old pun and I already know it) Yui realizes that she has arrived in a different place than before (first episode), doesn't it occur to her that she and Miyaka might have arrived at two very distant points?

        Ah, we also find out that the scar on Yui's wrist is from her attempting suicide because of the rape.

        Yui:   " For three months I waited for Miyaka to come back to this world, and when she finally did, it wasn't even for me."   I don't give a rip that she's here, that she found me, or that she's happy to see me.   And Miyaka's not being a good best friend?

        Yui:   "I'm going to make sure your hopes and dreams are as dead as mine."   That's right, everyone should be as miserable as you.   No, in case you're wondering, I wouldn't be a very good rape crisis counsellor.

Episode 13:   For The Sake Of Love.

        Chi-chiri switches with Hotohori so Hotohori can go help Miyaka.   Ah yes, Miyaka's better off with Hotohori than she is with Chi-chiri who can phase in and out wherever he wants and blast stuff and freeze people...   Boy, some emperor he is, if he places his desire to be with Miyaka over her safety or if he's too stupid to realize that Chi-chiri is more powerful than he is.

        Cross-dressing schtick in this episode.   All the thugs are conveniently unaware of Hotohori's voice.

        Yeah, yeah, bandit sub-plot that'll obviously end up with the fifth Suzaku person.

Episode 14:   Wolf In The Fortress.

        More messing around with the bandits.   Yay.

Episode 15:   City Of Resurrection.

        Zombie village sub-plot.   Genro's the fifth Suzaku.

Episode 16:   Battle Of Sorrow.

        More zombies.   Yay.   Nakago tortures Tamahome.   Yay.   Mitzkakei, demon-girl's ex, is sixth Suzaku.

Episode 17:   Magic Flute.

        Looking back at episodes thirteen through sixteen, they could have accomplished all of the core plot developments without the sub-plots in a single episode.   Assuming the series runs twenty-six episodes, were the last four episodes and their sub-plots mainly present to stretch the series to the necessary length?   I've just been told the series runs 52 episodes.   Good grief.   Nothing stretches a show out like stupid people doing stupid things.   Yes, yes, I know we wouldn't have a show to begin with if they all had some common sense.

        Child:   "Are you my big brother's wife?"

                  Hotohori:   "No, I am a man."

                  Child:   "But you are so beautiful."

                  Hotohori:   "Even though they're poor, they're so bright and honest."

        More stuff in Tamahome's home village.   End of tape cuts this episode off before the end.   Well, shoot.   Even though most of the people and what goes on in this series are really stupid, I still want to see the remaining episodes.   I can't stand unfinished stories.

Gun Smith Cats

        I understand the whole point of the series is girls and guns.   Fine with me, but I still have the same questions regarding this series and how it would/will be received in the U.S..   No, what would make more sense is that this series ought to go over well with the conservative, NRA types and not at all well with the gun control people.   I wonder how Gun Smith Cats tapes would sell at the Great Western Show?

        The ATF guy uses extortion to get the assistance of the Cats.   The Cats are strong and capable accept when they're dealing with the ATF guy, but then they're weak and vulnerable.   Also, they know enough to be in the gun business, but they don't even know about one of the key permits they lack and they don't know how to deal with the government.   They should have known to go to the ATF guy's superior (the fact that he ends up being one of the bad guys aside).   Point being, they show ignorance, but only at selected points that aren't consistent with the story.

        Certainly is a nicely drawn Cobra, but it's a bit expensive for them if that one shop is all they have, isn't it?

        Episode 1.   A hook- a huge hook for moving cargo crates- swing past Rally, brushing against her chest, and rips off the front of her blouse, exposing her still bra-covered self.   And it does this without really knocking her back or injuring/scuffing her at all.   Not that i'm against a bit of T&A, but it was a scene worthy of a Gunbuster pilot.   Hey, this must be that fan service thing.

        And another lesson, for good or ill, about society:   Big, ugly, militia-type bad guy- McVeigh-esque psycho who must be brought to justice (metaphorically here).   Cute, young, occasionally half-naked gun & bomb girls- Our Heroines!

        The press conference with Assemblyman Edward Haints seems like a good example of a Japanese perception of American culture.   "I don't think anyone believes the American way of life has to include this dangerous menace...I'm just doing what any red-blooded American would do" says Haints.   The problem I have here is "American way of life" and "red-blooded American" sound like the sort of expression a gun rights advocate would use, not a gun control advocate.   It just doesn't feel right- Haints' rederic is off.

        The Russian agent girl, just having shot the two ATF agents in the control room, is told "put down your gun" by the two agents down the hall who have their weapons ready and aimed at her.   She then turns- nice and slow- and raises an automatic, pointing it toward and firing on the two agents.   The agents, who have already shot her twice in the shoulder, don't fire even though they can plainly see they're about to be shot.   That's just not how someone would react.

        And how come whenever there's a horde of ATF/cops/whoever there never seem to be news vans or helicopters or anything?

        Waaait a second...Natasha in Natasha Badinov?...


Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

Episode 1:   Iggy Of 'The Fool' & Nidul Of 'The God Geb.'

        Series opens with a virgin sacrifice.   Joy.   More like JoJo's Bloody Adventure.   Oh good- blood's done now.

        A dog.   Okay.   At least it's not a Furby or some other bundle of barf-inducing cuteness.

        Helicopter guy.   Canteen.   Head.   Yuck.

        That's odd- the water creature couldn't penetrate the metal of the truck but could penetrate the metal of the gas / water can.

Episode 2:   ?

        The diffuculty, aside from the not-always-consistent points at which the episodes start and stop, is the tapes I saw list two different titles for each episode.   There doesn't really appear to be an opening with each episode.   I realize this is done to save time and tape space, but it's a little more difficult for me to do my thing this way.

        Of course, if they hadn't started the truck to run off in, if they'd just dealt with the water thing by the wrecked helicopter, they wouldn't have a broken truck now.

        The guy needed the dog to tell him the sand flying up into the air is where the water thing is attacking from?

        "The wound is slight- it's not anything fatal."   Oh yeah?   Blood was spurting several feet from the guy's neck.   Slight, indeed.

        "All we can do now is leave the fight to Jutaro."   It's not like they could, oh, try to help?   Make some noise, anything?   Some friends.

        And that is a seriously gross dog.

        Okay- the engine / radiator exploded but the truck's fine now.

Episode 3:   Darby The Gambler, Osiris- God Of The Underworld.

        Gambler guy.   They can't kill him because if the (the good guys) do, the trapped guys soul dies.   So why don't they torture the gambler or convince him in some other way- other than betting another soul- to give the trapped guy's soul back?

        "Kill me and two souls perish!"   So don't kill him already.   Jeez.

        I consider myself agnostic for the most part, but one thing I don't think i'd ever do is bet my soul on something.   That tiny tiny bit of faith I have floating around seems to tell me it's a bad idea.

Episode 4:   Dio's World, The Evil Void- Vanilla Ice.

        I see- the sacrifice and the blood and all that are part of the opening credits.   Yuck, I say.  Double yuck since it doesn't have anything to do with the story.   I guess that's supposed to be Dio with the bone things coming out of his face, but the whole virgin sacrifice schtick doesn't do anything to advance the story- it's gratuitous.

        Poof, they're at Dio's place.   Did I miss an episode?

        "Incredible- she's not physically concious."   I understand that it's part of the story telling schtick, but there isn't any external logic explaining why she can do this.   It's an unjustified plot device- like the 'cosmic cloud' they encounter in every third episode of the original Star Trek.   No, that's not a good analogy- the cosmic cloud, however poorly explained, did have the purpose of advancing or starting the story whereas this girl and the whole hospital thing doesn't actually contribute to the story.

        No, that is not Vanilla Ice.   Cooler than the Vanilla Ice we've endured all these years.   But then, what wouldn't be?

Episode 5:   Dio's World- Kakyoin's Hierophant Barrier.

        Not that it's cool to see people being hit and blood and stuff, but it's nice to see a scene where a car driving through an area crowded with pedestrians doesn't miss every single person.

        Awww.   Mr. Joestar stabbed in the throat.   So why isn't this wound 'slight and nothing fatal?'

        I miss Iggy.

Episode 6:   Dio's World- Farewell My Friends

        Finally they hit the bad guy, but then give him a minute or two to recuperate.   Why doesn't anyone in these shows ever keep at the other person until they're sure the other guy is really dead?

        So the bad guy 'refuels' his blood from Mr. Joestar's (apparent) corpse.   Suppose- just for a moment- that an anime character wasn't conveniently stupid.   Kakyoin knows only the head is Dio's and that the goal is to crush Dio's head.   Kakyoin gets in a good attack on Dio- multiple hits without Dio hitting back.   But Kakyoin hits Dio all over the place- from his knees to his head (Dio's).   Had Kakyoin had more than three neurons firing at the same time, he would have focused his attack on Dio's head.   Dio wouldn't or at least might not have been able to reach Mr. Joestar's (apparent) corpse.   This was a story telling element worthy of Flame Of Recca.

        Soooo...Kakyoin finally makes the bad guy's head explode by punching him in the knee.   That's it?   Almost the dumbest thing in all six episodes accept...

        The sick girl wakes up from her coma for no apparent reason other than it's the end of the show.   Gosh, i'm so glad she survived.   Not.   Sick girl who we know from the get-go will eventually wake up and be okay.   Whoopy flipping do.



Episode 1:   Legendary Samurai:   The Man Who Fights For Love.

        Kenshin, the person with the red hair, is male.   The hair style makes for a bit of confusion at first.

        Kenshin, Kaoru, Dr. Genzai, Suzume-chan, Ayame-chan introduced.

Episode 2:   The Bratty Samurai:   Why Don't You Become My Student?

        Kaoru:   "Maybe no one's coming because they're afraid of my beauty."

        Yahiko introduced.

        Kaoru can fight.   It's a nice change from my other favorite series, DragonballZ, where the girls are pretty much entirely helpless.

        The 'bossman' in this episode is unique in that he makes an obvious and sensible decision that no one else ever seems to make- realizing by reputation or (in this case) by seeing Kenshin in action how vastly better than anyone else in the room Kenshin is, bossman orders his men to not fight Kenshin.   Exact opposite of Jine, who we'll meet a few episodes later on.

Episode 3:   Samurai In Sorrow:   The Man Past Forgiveness.

        The Chief (of police) and Yamagata introduced.

        I'm not clear on why Yamagata reacts so strongly to Kenshin saying 'And you used insight to create change.'   A part of Japanese culture having to do with openly stating one's true feelings or giving a direct compliment?

        Is Yamagata supposed to be of British blood?

Episode 4:   Something Stinks:   It's The Gangster Sanosuke.

        Sano introduced.

        Ooooh.   Are the three drunk guys in the restaurant supposed to be the 'sword squad' guys from the previous episode, out of uniform?

Episode 5:   Sakaba v. Zanba:   Fight The Desperate Fight.

        Background on Sano.

Episode 6:   Visit From The Darkness:   The Kurogasa Appears

        Yahiko:   "Don't complain- it's great experience enduring torture like this."

        The Kurogasa (Jine) is the most direct example of a certain kind of logic that seems to be a hallmark of anime.  Jine knows and admits quite openly that Kenshin as the Hitokiri was the finest killer he ever knew.   Kenshin as the Rurouni apparently isn't good enough to beat Jine.   So what does Jine choose as his primary goal?   Tick Kenshin off badly enough to become the Hitokiri again!   But, having admitted that Kenshin was the best, Jine is implying that he would lose and therefore be killed.   Jine's goal, then, is to force Kenshin to become the Hitokiri again, but at the expense of Jine's life.

        Since Kenshin and Sano can each shake off Jine's Shin No Ippu (his freeze trick), if they had guns, they could have shot Jine.   I mention this because the police tried to shoot Jine, but couldn't un-freeze themselves.   Some of you, dear readers, may watch those 'police video' shows on tv in the US and may recall having seen the one with the black guy who had gone nuts and was wielding a sword, threatening to attack anyone who approached him.   The 'honorable' thing, I suppose, would have been for one of the police to go find a sword or try to take the guy out with a baton.   Instead they eventually got him off balance and knocked the sword away with a fire hose.   It wasn't an issue of honor- it was an issue of 'let's take care of this guy while avoiding getting ourselves hurt.'   Personally, I subscribe more to the school of thought exemplified by Indiana Jones dealing with the black-clothed guy with the big sword in Raiders Of The Lost Ark.   Bang, he's dead, it's done.

        So what could they (in Kenshin) have done to more effectively deal with Jine?   Instead of having everyone in nice big easy to kill clumps of people, they could have had several snipers set to shoot Jine through one of the windows.   Wouldn't Jine's Shin No Ippu have got the snipers too?   I don't think so because there ought to be some kind of range limitation and because it looks like Jine needs to know who he's trying to get with it and has to be looking at them at that moment.   Couldn't Jine then get out of the way of the bullet?   Assuming he hasn't seen the sniper or the flash from the gun, he shouldn't know the bullet's coming.   I'm not sure for the weapon technology of the time, but I want to say that bullets travel faster than sound, so he shouldn't be able to hear the bullet coming.   Won't the bullet break the window and thus make a noise allowing Jine to hear the breaking and get out of the way?   Again no, since the bullet will still be travelling ahead of the noise.   What if Jine sees the window breaking and, realizing what's about to happen, moves?   No, because we're assuming the bullet is coming from a direction (probably behind) Jine isn't looking.   Wouldn't Jine have already found and killed the snipers though?   This is the hitch- this is the scenario I haven't been able to make an alternative to yet.   The show hasn't been entirely clear on Jine's m.o.- does he just run in the front gate, up to the guy, kill the guy and everyone along the way or does Jine kill every single person in the entire area?   If he doesn't, the sniper scenario does the job, so let's assume Jine can find and kill every single person in the compound, indluding the snipers in the trees.   It's another situation where my not knowing the limits of that time's technology prevents me from answering- how far away can a sniper reasonably expect to hit Jine from?

        And for those of you who are inclined the belief that all this speculating is a waste of time, just 'what-iffing,' and serves no purpose, I would remind you of a Certain Unnamed Individual who is of an older generation.   This person would say something like that, that it's just speculation and is therefore a waste.   Perhaps, but speculation is a way of participating in and enjoying the show.   The 'waste' point of view is, frankly, a geezerly position and/or one likely to be held by someone who is not an enthusiast of the show.   For example, why should a Trek fan be so happy to acquire an actual set prop when many of the fan's acquaintances see it silly, nerdy, a waste of time and money?   One way of looking at it is that it's a matter of whatever makes you feel good.   Complaining makes me feel good, so here I am.   Wonder what i'll be like when I reach 'senior' age?   The other way of looking at it is the Dogbert way- 'You're not me, therefore you're irrelevant.'   To the extent this does not prevent me from functioning in society, I (and, I believe, pretty much everyone else even if they won't admit it) agree for the most part.   That Certain Unnamed Individual would be likely to point out at this point that this is the point of view he/she holds that I frequently attack.   Here I would draw the distinction that I apply the belief (or at least I try to) that everyone else's opinion is irrelevant to my own life- I don't expect others to agree that they themselves are stupid and that they should listen to me.   I guess I won't be starting a conservative radio talk show any time soon.

        One of the more memorable 'moments' from the series is at the end of this episode when Kaoru is taken.

Episode 7:   Fight Under The Moonlight:   To Save The One I Love.

        Got to hand it to whoever makes Kenshin- fancy titles.

        Jine defeated.   Jine doesn't mind dying because he saw in Kenshin's eyes that, in that moment, Kenshin was the Hitokiri again.   Okay, so he got to see Kenshin really really angry, and he considers it to have been worth his life.   Baka, baka, baka.

        Jine:   "This is so great."   Yeah, he just stabbed himself with his own sword on purpose.   Wonderful.

        One thing I do wonder about is if Kenshin could have defeated Jine without becoming the Hitokiri again if he had his succession technique (which he learns later in the series)?

Episode 8:   Unexpected Battle:   A Beautiful Woman Runs Us Ragged.

        Megumi and Aoshi introduced.

        Megumi's relationship to Kaoru feels similar to Naga and Lina on Slayers.   Megumi uses her confidence in her...well, sexiness I guess, to give Kaoru a hard time.   Of course, Kaoru makes it easy by getting angry so quickly.

        Megumi:   "What a violent woman!"

        I wonder is this a Japanese mannerism (like in real everyday Japanese life) or is it specific to anime?   I've seen both Megumi and Naga do it- they put the back of their closed hand up to their mouth and do a sort of 'ho-ho-ho' laugh.

Episode 9:   Strongest Ninja Clan:   Fear The Oniwa Banshu.

        More plot development with Megumi.

Episode 10:   Aoshi:   Lethal Power Raised To Beauty.

        Woof, what a title.   Battle to recover Megumi from Kanryu's mansion.   All of the Oniwa Banshu here die accept Aoshi, so he's a touch upset.   I still think it's strange that he chooses to be upset at Kenshin since it's Kanryu that kills Aoshi's men.

Episode 11:   Adios My Strongest Friends...Crashing Shadows And Light.

        Aoshi's the first to really challenge Kenshin.   Jine doesn't count since he was defeated handily after he ticked Kenshin off enough.   But Kenshin doesn't get ticked off with Aoshi...Hmm...Yeah, let's say Jine counted, but I still say he isn't (wasn't) in a class with Aoshi.

        Hero or not, Kenshin dodging direct fire from a gatling gun has some plausibility issues.

Episode 12:   Birth Of A Junior Samurai:   The First Disciple, Yahiko's Battle.

        Another difference, if i'm not mistaken, with Japanese and American culture.   Being a girlfriend / boyfriend seems to imply a more significant relationship in Japan than it does here.   Not that their relationships are different; it's just that the term seems to imply more for Japanese culture.

Episode 13:   You Can Do It Toramaru:   The Dosukai Journey.

        The version of this episode I saw appeared to be from a different fansub group.   I prefer the Shinsen Gumi fansub for the translation, the picture quality, and the larger font size.

        How nice- Kaoru found someone who actually likes her cooking.

Episode 14:   Welcom The Assassin Group:   Jin-Pu-Tai.

        I think this is the only episode i've ever seen Megumi make an angry-face in.   Kaoru, on the other hand, makes them all the time.

Episode 15:   Take A Pledge:   The Hidden Sword Technique, Shiden-No-Tachi's Here.

        Yamagata's in this episode.

Episode 16:   Jump To Your Dream:   Adventure Of Narimo The Flying Bullet.

        Sometimes I get tired of the oops-I-forgot-about-my-loan schtick.   I know it's a plot device and I know it's necessary to drive the story, but it feels like they're reaching a bit.   An otherwise competent and capable individual is stupid in just this one particular area.

        Kenshin sings in this episode.   Maybe someone wanted him to do Karaoke?

Episode 17:   Run Yahiko:   Get The Sakaba Sword Back.

        This is, I believe, the third and final appearance of Gohei, the bad guy from the first episode.   But i've only seen up to the end of the Shi-shi-o story arc, so Gohei might have shown up later in the series or in one of the OVAs.

        I understand that Gohei's got a serious grudge against Kenshin for making him unable to practice budo any more, but I would think if he's become rich, Gohei would be happy with that.

        And if Gohei's unable to do budo (to use his fingers), why is he able to umbrella-fight with Yahiko?

        And if the only major difference between a sakaba sword and a regular one is which side is sharpened, why doesn't Kenshin use a regular sword until he gets his Sakaba back?   Okay, so maybe he'd become or be tempted to become the Hitokiri again if he did that.   So just turn the regular sword around and use it as a makeshift Sakaba?   As with the previous episode, it's necessary to the plot even though it doesn't make complete sense.   At least, to me that is.

        Noice...ah....visualization when Yahiko kicks Gohei.

Episode 18:   Rai-Ju-Ta's Desire:   The Vision Of A Forbidden Kingdom.

        This is the first episode of Kenshin that I ever saw; at Greenwood.   It's the first episode with the spoiled rich kid.

Patlabor The Motion Picture

        It was...okay.   There wasn't really anything sufficiently cool to be a 'wow.'   Seemed kind of slow and not terribly exciting.   The tape I saw was letterboxed, which was nice.   There's no T&A, bounce, or anything like that.   The biggest complaint I have about Patlabor is that the movie is mostly about people talking about and investigating labor issues.   The movie has fairly little to do with the labors themselves.   The only time the labors are actually doing anything much is the very end of the movie.

        Good Line:   "You are two of the brightest stars in the field, aren't you?"

        Yeah, Right Line:   "We wouldn't have marketed the H.O. system if it wasn't safe."

        Nitpick / Snide Comment 1:   The H.O.S., 30% larger than the old O.S....A new, albeit bloated, operating system with a rash of bugs.   Should've gone for 40% and made it Microsoft.   No, I take that back- it would've had even more bugs.

        Nitpick 2:   Okay.   Sound triggers the labors to go nuts.   Got it.   But it seems to me that something like a software patch would stop the labor sensors from picking up the particular frequency that sets everything off.

        Nitpick 3:   Ohta.   I understand that Ohta's being 'gun-happy' is a comedic character device, but I still wonder about the different perceptions in Japanese v. American culture of gun use and ownership.   Here in the U.S. it seems like you're either a gun control type, in which case Ohta is a seriously dangerous and unstable person to have around, or you're a gun rights type, in which case...i'm not sure.   But it would seem like, for a gun rights type, Ohta is not a good character because he serves to give your opposition so much (no pun) ammo.   I guess gun issues are taken so seriously here in the U.S. that it's difficult to accept on some levels or for some people that Ohta is funny.

        Nitpick 4:   Reloading Alfons.   So...she has to stop...get out of the cockpit...and reload individual hand.   Is it just me, or does this seem a touch inefficient?   Should have had some sort of quickload cartridge mounted on the labor- a cartridge thing that holds all 5 or 6 bullets at once with bullets already in place; hold the cartridge up to the cylinder, press the button, and all of the bullets slide in to place at the same time.   Quick, efficient, and she wouldn't have had to get out of the blasted labor to mess with it.

Patlabor II   The Motion Picture

        Okay.   As i've said to Jason (Video Burn president, look at the links page), i'm still in the 'all anime is good' stage.   I don't know exactly what, for me, constitutes a bad anime but I think a pretty decent working standard is that i'd have to rather watch an equal amount of Scooby Doo than the anime.   While Patlabor II doesn't sink to that standard by a long shot, it's still pretty cruddy.   First, a couple of good things.

        The Patlabor movies have wall-eye vision (ala Hotshots) as a comedic device when someone's yelling at someone else.

        "It's war and it's going to be a long one.   Toilet paper is limited to 15cm..."   I'll refrain from sharing the details of my step-grandfather's lectures on how to do the job with a single square...

        "That's fine against infantry, but what about TAAANKS?"

                  "Well, you'll just have to aim very carefully."

        This movie struck me as similar to the Robin Hood movie with Kevin Costner in that pretty much the best effects are right at the opening of the show.

        Disclaimer:   The labor's head turning to look at the reporter doesn't count.   The military labor standing up doesn't count.   Labors being shot by the helicopter or otherwise just sitting there don't count.   So there.

        My main gripe with Patlabor II is that it has next to nothing to do with labors.   There are labors actually doing something for a grand total of (at most) 12 min.   The entire movie is 105 min long.   There is a gap, starting right after Ohta stabbing the target thing, of 85 min in which there is no labor activity whatsoever.   None.   Boring, boring, boring.   While I still prefer it to Scooby Doo (or the Flintstones or the Jetsons), this is pretty well the worst anime i've ever seen.   Not that i'm not thankful for getting to see it, but maybe I ought to make a tape of Plan 9 From Outer Space with Japanese subtitles.

Perfect Blue

        "I'm sorry- I forgot to feed you yesterday."   But i'm going to take a nap so I can forget to feed you today too.

      Mima's never heard of the internet?   Okeedokee.

      Oh, she has a Mac.   No wonder her life is going insane...Wait, it's a Mac and it's too complicated for her?   Next week- Mima and Minmei go head - to - head on Jeopardy!

      Okay, so it looks like she has a stalker.   If she's such a big pop star, I would think either she would have had to deal with this sort of thing before, or her manager or someone else would have.   Oh, I get it- she's going to run around and be nuts without, oh, talking to the police?   Oh, that's what Rumi does- some sort of celebrity protection agency.   I still say it's the sort of thing Mima should have known to tell Rumi about.

      The show Mima is an actress in- not Perfect Blue but the show within Perfect Blue- is filming a rape scene.   On those rare occasions when I have- purely accidentally- come across hentai, I always wonder what this thing the Japanese seem to have for rape stuff is?   Is this some sort of expression of the national unconcious of a nation of men who, because of the order their society imposes on them, feel they need to seek personal power in some other setting?   And while we're on the subject, what's with the tentacles?

      Ah, so we do appear to be dealing with a lone stalker.   Granted, things are complicated by Mima apparently being insane.

      "Nobody likes idols with tarnished reputations."   Madonna.   Jenny McCarthy.   Drew Barrymore.   Bill Clinton.

      Mima sees illusions including other versions of herself.   I wonder if she and Lain would make good friends for each other?

      There's a letter bomb.   Now the script's writer has been murdered.   But I won't bother to tell anyone about this web site or to go see the police or anything.

      Now that I think of it, doesn't perv-boy look just a tad unusual?   As in, shouldn't someone have noticed him before?

      Now she's noticed perv-boy and still she doesn't say anything about it.   Good grief.

      For all Mima's insanity, it makes me think of Margot Kidder or Carrie Fisher (whichever was the one who went nuts).   Felt sorry for her when I heard about it.

      So Rumi's nuts.   So...was it Rumi that did all the killing?   One thing that's nice or at least interesting to note is that the Japanese people appear to be just as susceptible as everyone else to the idea that fat or otherwise less attractive people are bad and thin, attractive people are good.   And people wonder how societies like these can produce people like Harris and Kliebold?

      The main objection I have to these stories with multiple interlaced realities is that there isn't usually an externally logical reason for the way things end up.   They have all these realities, all these possibilities that are being juggled.   At the end of the show, they just pick one reality and say that's the one that's real.