Wednesday, September 15, 2010

“To Be Or Not To Be” - Kaiba (anime) – 8/10 Sugar Cubes

"Limits exist only in the mind” ~Anonymous

Genre: Psychological/ Romance/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi/ Action

Review Status: Full (13 Episodes/ 13 Episodes)

Licensed: Unlicensed in the US

Art/Animation: This is rather cartoonishly drawn, but the animation is pretty good, and the art adds to how strange and weird the story is. Overall, while it does take a while to get used to, not too bad.

Summary: It is now possible to store memory data, so that the death of your body is not actually "death". As memories are stored in databanks, they can be "transferred" to new bodies. Because so-called "memory trading" now occurs, it is now possible to steal memories and illegally alter them.

Society has fallen apart as authority has become lost and stagnant.

One day, a man awakens in a ruined room. His name is Kaiba. He has no memories, but he does have a pendant with a picture of an unknown woman inside.

In the skies are roiling clouds and electrical storms, impossible to pass without losing one's memories; above them lies the elusive realm of the rich and powerful, who barter others' bodies and memories for their own enjoyment and longevity. Below lies a troubled and dangerous world where good bodies are hard to come by and real money is scarce.

After suddenly being attacked, Kaiba escapes into space, and during his travels meets all sorts of people and regains his memories. Throughout it, he continues to be troubled by the world's problems, as well as his own existence. And what of the woman in the pendant, Neiro?

Review: This was an experience. From the art, to the world, to the story being told, this is one heckuva thing to watch! First off, this is not your usual anime style. This looks like your simple children’s cartoon. However, it’s very far from that.

This world is incredibly different from ours and takes perhaps 3 episodes to get used to- and only if you really keep an open mind and just accept things for what they are. Luggage can look like a giant dinosaur. People can switch into bodies that are lime green and have horns. Blood is green, and weird space plants are coming to destroy the world!

And yet, within this complicated world, there is an incredibly simple story about a boy who has amnesia and is looking for his lost love. He encounters many things he only partially understands, such as people tossing away memory chips that aren’t of any use to them and deciding which family members can be stored in the house memory banks. He himself undergoes many trials and tribulations, such as losing his original body and needing to take refuge in that of a young girl- and faces forgetting himself and who he originally was in the process. He encounters many people who have done both good and bad things, and sees both the deep sorrow and happiness that people can experience with eachother.

And in the end, he saves the world and finds the girl he loves.

Overall, this is a great anime for those who like to play with the meanings of things and explore alternate realities.

Recommended: Sure! 16+, though. This deals a lot with sexuality, from Kaiba’s original body being used for sex, Kaiba dealing with confused sexuality, lots of people wanting to get with Kaiba in his Chronika body. This is also pretty violent. People tend to die very easily- one after being overloaded with sex! Language isn’t that bad, but with everything else, it’s a minor consideration. And drugs are very much in use.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Paranoia Agent (anime),
Paprika (anime),
Perfect Blue (anime),
Ghost Hound (anime),
Kino’s Journey (anime),
Liar Game (manga)

“Is It Real, Or Just A Fantasy?” - Paranoia Agent (anime) - 10/10 Sugar Cubes

"I doubt if a single individual could be found from the whole of mankind free from some form of insanity. The only difference is one of degree. A man who sees a gourd and takes it for his wife is called insane because this happens to very few people." ~Desiderius Erasmus

Genre: Drama/Horror/Psychological/Supernatural

Review Status: Full (13 Episodes/13 Episodes)

Licensed: Licensed in the US

Art/Animation: It’s Satoshi Kon. If I have to elaborate, then the colors are vibrant, the character designs individual and recognizable (and good). And the animation is top-notch. Seriously.

Summary: An elementary school kid dubbed with the title "shounen bat" or "lil slugger" has been going around attacking people with his bent, golden bat. Now, two detectives are investigating so they can stop this kid from making any more attacks, but they will find out soon enough... that this case is much more than they expected.

Review: This is one of the anime that sticks with you. From the mystery behind Little Slugger, to the paranormal happenings around town, to the psychological events that make you wonder what’s reality and fantasy, to the mastermind behind it all which creates a criticism of Otakudom, this has it all

The unnerving opening really makes you pay attention to what’s going to happen long before the show starts going. The dissonance between the people and the realities of what’s happening give you the first clue as to what this anime is going to be about and be like. Then you get into the story. Almost all of the episodes feature you slipping into their private lives and their minds, exploring the stress that’s acting on them and what could possibly make them targets for the Slugger. And when they finally catch up to the Slugger….. you discover that it may be more than anyone ever expected.

Each story builds on the others. Each lends a clue as to what’s really happening, and even then you can never imagine what really lies behind it all. Or perhaps you can. Even so, this is a story within a story.

Overall, with engaging characters, and an involving plot, this is a great choice for the mind-bender lover!

Recommended: 14+ for depictions of violence. This does have it. There’s implied child pornography/incest of a sort. There’s death- though not graphic. This really isn’t for those younger unless they’re mature enough to handle it.

Other titles you might enjoy: Kara no Kyoukai (anime),
Mirai Nikki (manga, anime),
Monster (manga or anime),
20th Century Boys (manga),
Shigofumi (anime),
Paprika (anime),
Perfect Blue (anime),
Serial Experiments Lain (anime),
Ghost Hound (anime),
Hour of the Mice (manga)
Higurashi: When They Cry (manga or anime),
Kaiba (anime)