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

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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

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

Spring and Chaos


spring and chaos cover

This is the tragic story of one of Japan’s most beloved poets, ‘Kenji Miyazawa’. Born at the end of the 19th Century. Kenji, like many artists, did not receive recognition for his tremendous literary contributions until after his death at the tragically early age of 37. The movie portrays people as cats, a homage to the stories Miyazawa wrote. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know about Kenji Miyazawa, or for the matter of fact anything about Japanese Literature, as director Shoji Kawamori does an admirable job of giving the viewer a sense of who Kenji Miyazawa was by attempting to show the world as he might have seen it, his own perspectives and perceptions. Miyazawa loved the beauty of the world and the science behind it. When something in nature catches his eye, Kenji freezes and intensely writes about what he sees in a notebook while seemingly entranced. At the same time we learn he could be captivated by modern technology as he stares hypnotically at a light bulb as it burns out, Kawamori carefully provides these scenes with the proper stipulations of cinematic artistry. The visuals in conjunction with the narrative are also to be cited. Scenes of starry or cloud-filled skies give way to amazing sequences that explore a sense of something greater in the world and the possibility that Kenji was closer than many of us ever have or ever will be to understanding it. Also, at times the visuals can give way to violent and disturbing images as Kenji wrestles with his inner torment. Spring and Chaos may not be able to turn you into a poetry connoisseur but it will definitely make you lean from the window and view the world a bit differently.

All said, I would recommend people not to look up at Kenji Miyazawa’s biography as of yet before watching this piece, for what I felt that this movie is more entrancing if one is oblivious about the author.

Reviewed by Rahul Ghosh

Tsumiki no Ie / La Maison en Petits Cubes / The House of Small Cubes


Screen

Screen

12 min. – Animation, Short, Drama

PLOT

As his town is flooded by water, an old man is forced to add additional levels onto his home with bricks (cubes) in order to stay dry. But when he accidentally drops his favorite smoking pipe into the lower levels of his home, his search for the pipe eventually makes him relive scenes from his eventful life.

VERDICT

A short, sweet, emotional drama with some solid metaphor. Time may take many things from us, it may give us many sorrows as well as happy memories. But it also teaches us to move on in life. As the old man dives underwater, he relives all the happy memories he had throughout his life. He may have wished to stay there and forever keep those in mind. He may have even wished to die, leaving behind all the sorrow and loneliness. But he decides to move on. He teaches us one of the most important things in life. Something which we must always keep in mind. No matter where we live or how old we are.

AWARDS

Won the Oscar for ‘Best Short-film, animated’ in 2009 and The Annecy Cristal in 2008.

Watch the film here: http://youtu.be/0V9BYAZP3yU

ben-to cover

Ben-To



“Those who have tasted blood can never be dogs again. They won’t be able to stomach a pig’s humiliation either. It only depends on you whether you can be a wolf or not.”

Every once in a while you get a show that gatecrashes in your life, take you by the scruff of the neck and throws you into a maelstrom of adrenalin. Ben-To is one such anime and yet when you try googling it, you get search results for Ben 10! or at least that’s how it used to be not too long ago. Anyway I personally thought the show was simply terrific and I’m going to elucidate the reasons behind my admiration and love for this show.

Story

It’s totally offbeat. Based on the original light novel by the same name,the story is as bizarre as it can get for a slice-of-life/action genre. As the name suggests, this anime highlights the value of half-priced bentos in the supermarkets. The half priced bentos are exquisite, available in small numbers and are otherwise very expensive if the discounts aren’t given. Now this is exactly what leads to an indomitable hysteria for the bentos amongst the youth who are ready to fightben-to cover to death with one another over them. They literally duke it out every night just to get the delicious bentos for half price. The rule is the same as any battle. Winner takes it all. At least if not anything, the winner takes the most prized bento the house has to offer.They are known as the wolves and each area has its own superstar like The Ice Witch, The Monarch, The Wizard, The Beauty by the Lake, Hentai/Wanko(Barky) [ROFLMAO!!!!!], Orthros etc. Sato (hentai) and Yarizui (The Ice Witch) are the protagonists. Sato’s life changes forever the Continue reading

Bakemonogatari


imageIt’s proved to be one of those shows where I’m glad that I tried them out even after them having “dull” synopsis and quite “boring” genre (Mystery, Romance, Supernatural…except mystery none piqued my interest).Any way I’m glad that I picked it up and wondered that how misleading synopsis can make you “almost” drop a good series.

In my opinion, Bakemonogatari proved to be more of a psychological thriller with a bit of horror taste on the top…and i’m not saying this because of the way anime is “directed”, instead of talking about it, It’d be better to experience it yourself.

Anyway, it’s been presented in “arc” style. Each arc is like 2-3 episodes long except last one.Also, I found two negative points about this series.

  1. At times, you will feel that the “psychological” feel is being imposed on you or rather it’s been exaggerated at some points…and too much of anything feels bad right.
  2.  Some cuts are very-very quick…which feels rather annoying at times.

Our main character is again a “typical” nice-guy type protagonist who likes to help those in problem around him…all the more if they are girls. He doesn’t really develop much character-wise (maybe a bit towards the end). As for the other characters,there is quite minimal to no development in them…as I said, it’s arc based…so they can only get maximum character development in those 2-3 episodes only. The only character I felt to be gone through most character development will be Senjougahara Hitagi-chan. Continue reading