Impressions: Code Geass, VOTOMS, Master Keaton, Kaiji and Dennou Coil

Sorry that I haven’t posted for a week, but I had a bad case of real life and not a whole lot to say. Well except for the whole ADV announcement. And all I can say is finally… but still no word on Kurau. And I just shelled out to buy the first three disks. And no word on Welcome to the NHK either. Which isn’t a good thing. But I’ve got my fingers crossed and breath held on that one.

Anyways on to what I’ve been watching.

Code Geass: You know I hate to be one of those pretentious people who gush over this show. But… damn. There’s so much about this show that I like that it’s hard to sort it all out. Yes, I like Lelouche. To be fair, I did like him better as the anti-hero at the beginning because he was strangely unaware that he was treating people like his father had treated people. And I have to say the combination of genres didn’t bother me in the slightest. I really enjoyed the dichotomies and the dramatic irony. Good lord, did that show have some dramatic irony.

In fact, if I have any problem it’s that it had a tendency to either rush complications or drag them out too far. Slight spoiler ahead. For instance, they kill Clovis off really quick, but Cornelia’s still alive by the end of the series. The same thing with Mao. There’s a bunch of scenes hinting at his character, but when he finally came up he got killed off really quick. It ended up making him feel more like a plot device (or an explanation for what happens with Euphie.) But it really is a small gripe in what was overall one of the best mecha shows I’ve seen in a long time.

Armored Trooper VOTOMS: So OnDemand has an Anime Selects channel and they have (or had depending on when you’re reading this post) the first seven episodes of this series up. Now, I’ll admit that a lot of the Gundam that I’ve watched has made me a bit leery of 80s mecha shows. But again, this one actually surprised me. First of all, no whiny boy pilot. Yeah, that’s right; the pilot in this one is a veteran solider who gets caught up in a larger conspiracy. He does get a bit angsty a couple of times. And he put the tacit in taciturn, but a cast of rakes, scoundrels and corrupt cops makes up for it. Really I don’t have any other way of describing it except for, “This is what would happen if you crossed Gundam with Blade Runner.”

My only complaint are the costumes. In a show that is as dark as this show is, all of the side characters are wearing stuff that looked like it’d gotten dropped out of an episode of Superfriends. But if you can get past that this is honestly a good show.

Master Keaton: Okay, so this is a series I bought because it’s been compared with Monster. And it’s a good series so far (I’ve only watched four episodes of it), but it is episodic, which doesn’t really bode well. It’s at least worth a rent if you can find it. And so far it’s a fun series. But I’m going to have another blog post about something pretty specific this show does that is interesting.

Kaiji: Yes, I bit the bullet and started watching this one. And I have to say, it’s good in that action movie kind of way. It’s main saving grace is that Kaiji is a jerk. And that the stuff that the characters go through is inventive in a “just believable enough so I can suspend my disbelief” kind of way. But it isn’t something I couldn’t live without. I’ll admit that I love the OP on it though. Man, I wish I could find a copy of that, because that alone would be worth it.

Dennou Coil: This is a show that my mind isn’t made up on either. On the one hand, it’s got crazy cyberspace going ons, creepy anti-virus drones and a fairly interesting mystery. On the other hand, I’m not in love with the characters. It isn’t that they’re bad. It’s just that they’re pretty flat right now. Not completely flat, but certainly not piquing my interesting. I’m holding out hope that it gets better.

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Agree or disagree? Leave a comment or e-mail iniksbane@gmail.com

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12 Comments

  1. Good point about Mao; Code Geass‘s style of storytelling is one where some characters feel like devices, which takes a little getting used to. But in the end Mao felt like Gauron to me (probably it was the way that he just wouldn’t die).

    As for VOTOMS . . . sad to say, it’s one of the few shows I’ve had to resign myself to never seeing, ever.

  2. “Kaiji is a jerk.”

    Not sure why that’s a saving grace to you (stops him from being a crying pansy?), but I like him because he’s a anti-jerk jerk. A jerk…FOR JUSTICE…or something. I think it’s much more introspective and examining than the normal action show (any of the narrator’s tangents about the nature of man, for example) but there are a lot of elements that are there just to look cool. I think the suspension of disbelief is getting a bit bent out of whack near the end but hopefully it will stay somewhat grounded. Also, hopefully, you will stay there with it, because I can’t comment on any of these other shows. >_>

  3. Kaiji, and Votoms, all in one page? This is great!

    -Votoms

    -Kaiji

  4. Sorry, I hate pressing the submit button too fast.

    Anyways, I can’t wait for the 5-6 sub for the pailsen files (current votoms).

    For kaiji, I’ll wait for the 21 subs. Too bad the manga has not been translated (sub or official). There is around 3 sets of manga about kaiji, with these 26 episode covering the 1st one, “I think”.

  5. @ animanachronism – Yeah, I was really amazed by the show’s ability to make me not care about things that would normally bother me, like the Deus Ex Machina with Euphie towards the end.

    And that sucks about VOTOMS. Because if you’re into noir at all, it really is a show for you. Region coding sucks.

    @ CCY – Yeah, you pretty much hit my thoughts right there. He really is a jerk for JUSTICE. At least some of the time. And he does have moments where he’s kind of a crying pansy, but I think it’s so over the top in those sections that it doesn’t really bother me. I mean it feels like he SHOULD be crying. I just have a thing with anti-heroes, or at least flawed heroes. And the thing is that he’s not a BAD guy, he’s just a loser who’s caught up in a bad situation.

    @ dorne – Yep, I like watching a bit of everything. I haven’t watched the Pailisen files yet. I was kind of worried that I needed to watch the original VOTOMS to get it. Although I’m thinking I’m going to watch it. Just to find out.

  6. @inikbane

    You should get the subbed “Roots of Ambition” along with the subbed Pailsen Files episode because it is the prequel of the recent prequel.

    @The Animanachronism

    What is the reason for not watching VOTOMS? I’m curious if it’s because of the past tv series or the new prequel series, or the entire idea of VOTOMS.

  7. @ iniksbane: I think Code Geass is the most seductive anime I’ve seen (in a totally non-sexual way – probably). As for region codes . . . well, I try not to go on about it, but I guess the irritation rises to the surface now and then.

    @ dorne: I can’t watch the original VOTOMS ‘cos it’s not legally available in my country and fansubs are widely unavailable – if there ever were any made, since it’s too old to have been subbed-as-broadcast (I think?) and for obvious reasons making fansubs via DVD rip is (ethically, more) problematic. Maybe I should try to hunt it down streamed, or something.

  8. @The Animanachronism

    I.. I see. Wait, you can’t buy the english dvd sets even if you wanted to? Hmm, even if you wanted to, they cost quite a bit. They have high prices because there’s so few of us who like it.

  9. @ dorne – he’s in England so even if he bought them and got it shipped over there it wouldn’t work in his player because the Region coding is different. He’d have to either find it fansubbed or ripped from the DVD. And because it has a kind of limited appeal (even though I think it’s better than any of the Gundams that I’ve seen), it isn’t likely to either be picked up as a release there.

  10. @inksbane (and possibly The Animanachronism): Ah, sorry, I always make false assumptions. I assumed The Animachronism was from Singapore o_o; Votoms has been ripped from DVD, but it’s very hard to find.

    http://www.bittorrent.am/torrent/1523359/1/252/(G_P)_Armored_Trooper_Votoms_(complete).html

    I’ll check to see if it’s subbed. 13 GB of goodness I guess…

  11. Just so you know, the Kaiji OP is a cover of a classic Blue Hearts song. I’m pretty sure they have one album issued in the US too…

    I’m also very fond of Code Geass and I’m pretty sure whoever directed this series also directed Planetes.

  12. @ smashingtofu: Since I can’t resist jumping in and promoting him, it’s Goro Taniguchi who directed Geass and Planetes (and Infinite Ryvius and s-CRY-ed).


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