Baccano! : critique


To summarize my experience in one word
CRAZY!
The craziest anime I’ve seen till now.

Before I start, an advice to potential viewers who want to start seeing this show.
Do not judge the genre of this anime based on the opening you see (its not about gambling or Halloween for that matter) as I was one of them. The first time I stopped watching the series after watching the opening.

Lets start by taking a look at the story..
One of the best stories told in non-linear fashion that I have ever seen. The best part is the non-linear story-telling doesn’t bog the story or the viewer down. The story concentrates on what mostly happened during three years – 1930, 1931 and 1932. It connects seemingly unrelated events to build a story that is larger than anything you would’ve imagined in the beginning. So much so that you begin anticipating as to how things reached to the point of where they are in the future from where it was in the past.
The editing done on this series is also one of the best – gives nothing way and carries the sense of mystery throughout.
Also there is humor which always left me grinning (especially scenes which had Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent; Isaac and Miria continue to spread happiness unconsciously wherever they go) and some scenes really make you laugh out loud.
That’s all I can say about the story without giving out any spoilers.

Characters
Has the craziest cast of characters I’ve seen. And the number of characters is pretty large too. Again this doesn’t bog the story down. In fact by the end of the series you will remember the name of all significant characters and their quirks. Also the characters remain etched in your memories long after you’ve finished watching the show.

Animation and Music
Neither is the animation lacking in any way nor is it over the top. It is enough to tell the story, with nothing remarkable standing out.
The action scenes are executed very well. The violence is plenty and all of it had a realistic and raw feeling to it.
The background music is combination of jazz and sometimes the high pitch from the symphony which stands out as the theme music of Baccano!(usually comes around the half-way break and the ending of the episodes)
Overall the background music for scenes never felt misplaced and always felt right – which is all you need. I almost never skipped through the opening sequence as the tempo of the jazz just seemed to fit the craziness of Baccano!

Overall I rate it 9.5/10
A masterpiece which I would whole-heartedly recommend anyone who has already watched some anime.


a critique by Prashanth Sunder

Kill la Kill


“A young girl arrives at a school of super-humans to find out the truth behind her father’s murder.” – IMDb

Pretty bland and conventional plot for an anime, nothing wrong there. I picked the series on a whim clicked by an intriguing review at MAL which went something like “so i watched the first episode of Kill la Kill, and, i like it”. This is where i went like “well that escalated quickly”. Now after having followed through all the episodes I rest my verdict on the fact that Kill La Kill is more than meets the eyes.

Matoi Ryouko invades Honnouji Academy wielding some kind of scissor-sword opposing the majestic Student Council President Satsuki Kiryuin and what have we here ? a talking highschool sailor uniform, some camel toe shots, bouncing tits and pervading nudity and what not, almost like another Ikki Tousen attributed with whacky animation and gags. Fan-service gone wild, Perhaps that is all one might perceive at first glance, but a prominent inspection might reveal it to be far more than that. Because pervasive fanservice is the very substance in the series ! Continue reading

Tatami Galaxy


Rahul Ghosh

‘Tatami’, the cultural knowledge of which probably is visually clear to everyone who have been accustomed to watching anime for a while now, you’ll know when i say that it is a type of flooring material used in Traditional styled Japanese houses. The word is actually derived from the verb ‘tatamu’ which means, to fold or pile. Now, placing the word side by side particularly with the word ‘Galaxy’ definitely has a connotative implication of ‘claustrophobia’ which i guess most people did perceive. Yes, the shows throws the protagonist’s life as living in a 4.5 tatami room, almost like in a huge cube and the events occurring all around his college life are directly relate-able to the claustrophobic experiences he comprehends while expounding in the aspects of the space.

The show exhibits traits of dark comedy, much relate-able to the anime ‘Sayonara Zetsubo sensi’, heck even the protagonists look way similar. Though Itoshiko is a character who completely taints himself to pessimistic way of life exhibiting suicidal tendencies, the protagonist here is ideologically much more alive and doesn’t live by tending to hang himself everyday, nor is his life psychologically contorted to the point of living every second in horror within the walls of his apartment, as seen in the films of Roman Polanski who also dealt with the theme of claustrophobia. The show also perhaps is relate-able to the anime ‘Welcome to NHK’ which portrays the life of a shut in/NEET, but the line differentiating both the series is on the level of layered and visual symbolisms which is the main concern for this series, a symbolic succession resulting in an exhalting fulfillment. Continue reading

The Skull Man


Vishal Gaur

This anime is based on the manga “The Skullman” by Kazuhiko Himamoto but it wasn’t his original idea. Kazuhiko being an avid fan of Shotaro Ishinomori, just revived his original work “Skullman” and created a story around those original 3 chapters created by Ishinomori. Ishinomori made this manga while working on “Kamen Rider” which is a classic and highly successful series of that time, original “Skullman” ended up being the building block for KR. Continue reading

Serial Experiments Lain


A review by Rahul Ghosh

Lain Iwakura is the sort of ordinary girl who isn’t much tech savvy in the era of computers but a string of events consequently leads her to get devoured by the world of ‘wired’. So much for a plot summary, for the rest Lain lives up to it’s name as a bonafied mindfuck of a series.

Speaking of a theme or central idea, well Lain doesn’t have one… to be precise the theme is not bound by any single strand of interpretation for what i recon Lain throws at us several dimensions of symbolism, at almost every scene. Most of the time you’ll be just blankly staring at the screen going “What the fuck is happening ?”, yes.. Lain is just Incomprehensible at almost every second, and honestly I wouldn’t recommend watching the series to anyone Well here’s my take on the series : Continue reading

Aoi Bungaku (Blue Literature)


bungaku

“The Masterpieces are Blue”

A compilation of literary masterpieces from Japan. In the form of Novels by their respective authors which the directors tried to put forward through this series was actually to upheld the point of whether television or film can match the artistic genius and greatness of Novels or Poetry.

The series adapts 6 different stories by different authors, also each differs from one another in terms of the animation… Which is no doubt wonderful as it is by the Mad House studios. The stories also differ from the social or moral value they impart. It’s Dark and tragic at times then again enlightening values like friendship and trust, also few topsy turvy situations with frequent fluctuations from a moment of warm comedy to cold murders.

I’ll break the review in parts from here on in order respective of the stories.

No Longer Human
written by Dazai Osamu, and later was uncovered/related somehow as the biography of the author himself. The story is a dramatic character study of the troubled protagonist suffering from mental trauma and psychological horrors, at a stretch it is tragic and emits an aura of despair… The valuable part is how it portrays Japan and it’s society from the time of World War, wonderfully handled. ‘No Longer Human’ is personally my favourite from among all the stories in the series.
The story ends abruptly as the author left it incomplete and perhaps talking further might end up in me spitting out some spoilers so will move on to the next one…

Under Cherries in Full Bloom
By Ango Sakaguchi is another story from the series with a whole different aura, it starts off with a comical situations which had me stunned for a moment, but as the story progressed it started showing it’s true nature following through a series of cold murders and. I don’t know how to react in respect of this story… laugh or grief… it is one of the most bizarre ones i’ve ever seen, so will let people to decide on this one. xD

Kokoro 
written by Natsume Soseki who is as considered the Charles Dickens of Japan for good reason. This story was adapted twice times from the perspective of two different characters. Is a romantic tragedy with the moral theme of trust. Each episode reveals two men’s unique perspective on a life-changing event, creating a discrepancy in narration. Whose side of the story is true? Who is the man to blame?……… won’t go any deeper.

Run, Melos! 
Might be one of the most straight forward and touching stories among the lot with a satisfying ending. Once again written by Dazai Osamu, is based on a wonderful theme : ‘friendship’…. The story is about an author in itself writing scripts for plays, dramas and one of which is shown in the story is also intertwined with the theme itself. One of the strongest arcs in the series, I personally quite liked it.

The Spider’s Thread
By Ryunosuke Akutagawa starts off quite brutally with blood and gore following through a series of Heinous crimes and having the main character end up in a death sentence. The story was aimed at entertaining children. My verdict : It would’ve been better if it were a bit longer.

Hell Screen 
By the same author as “The Spider’s Thread” and also set on the same world but unlike ‘Kokoro’ this one doesn’t foretell the same story from the perspective of a different character, rather it’s a whole different one. About an artist who is commissioned by his lord to paint images of burning hell, but is unable to because he cannot draw something he has never seen himself, so is prompted to produce images from scenes of cruel tortures of his country men… and then it goes further into a psyched and twisted ending.

In conclusion I will say it has been a good vacation for me and was glad that I picked up this series although I had once avoided it. Won’t keep it as ‘must recommended’ for all, because it might not be everyone’s cup of tea and I don’t want to exaggerate over my verdict .

9/10

Reviewed by Rahul Ghosh

Casshern Sins


casshern coverBack home for vacations at the end of the year, having hit some major shocks in my first semester exams I was in pursuit of refreshments. And well, Vinay  introduced me to this wonderful series.
Casshern Sins is not pretty much what it looks like if you’re seeing this picture for the first time. It is not the usual action adventure shounen-esque series you watch, but a very deep psychological series.

The plot – The world is in ruin. Robots are rusting (dying) everywhere unable to repair themselves. Signs of Human are rarely seen, which ensure their extinction. As despair consumes the heart of everyone there is one who is to blame for all the happenings : Casshern, who killed Luna, the Sun that was named Moon. Struck with amnesia as seen in the beginning of the series, Casshern walks into a journey remembering the sin he committed….

Each episode, for the most part, explores a different aspect of humanity, usually regarding hope and despair. They end up giving away moments of vain hope, enraging emotions transformed into love, rarely having scenes of unfettered rage. The first fair half of episodes are quite dull regarding the number count and how long they tried tried dragging it, makes more reasons to why it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Whereas the second explores a mystery about how even the most unlikely chance at life can bring out the ugliest in anyone, the emotional impact creates such unrelenting momentum that these roadblocks do nothing to deter anyone from the end.
Fight scenes, at first it’s not hard to expect a depressing setting with some above average, albeit grizzly, fight scenes. However in the very next moment it turns into an introspective piece, symbolical. Just as how the very emotional depth that can be drawn from a single blue flower (As seen in the series) is uncanny, especially as it becomes an unusual personification of death, and as the glimpse of rust on the cheek of a Robot or the emptiness in their eyes bring out the terror of death as a monster which devours on every being.
In my personal opinion, this is one series hard to categorize. It is stands in it’s own as a masterpiece of artistic integrity. But then again tastes may vary, as this definitely is not everyone’s cup of tea.

P.S. I recommend this to every hardcore Evangelion fan.

8.9/10

Reviewed by Rahul Ghosh