Well there anime vice community, It is I, M, here again for another review. Short off the heels of Madoka Magica, one of the most artistic animes I’ve had the pleasure of watching, and Steins Gate one of the most interesting stories I’ve seen in an anime. I admit I was a bit at a loss as to what I should watch next. However, a while I remember a conversation with a few of my friends about an Upotte!! and as the hot blooded gun totting America that I am I decided to give it a shot, if you will excuse the god awful pun.
The fairly recent anime Upotte which, by the way, I still don’t know what that means, surrounds the story of four guns going to an school for guns where they all learn how to be guns forever…I think… When a new human teacher unwittingly becomes part of this staff for this once again gun school. These guns taking on the likenesses of mostly females, (male guns do exist but only in the background.) The main character is the sweet and kind hearted Belgian FNC called funco and her friends: the American hyperactive and popular M14A4, the partially retarded British L8, and lastly the Swiss super smart and blunt Sig (SG 550). The school itself is divided into Battle rifles (high school) Assault rifles (Middle school) SMGs (elementary) building up an arsenal that would make Homura proud, on a side note I assume handguns go to day care or something. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I like guns and I like anime right? So clearly this should work or something right?
I got to say if that synopsis makes you interested upotte is probably for you, I think, but if you have any other reaction I think for the most part I have to turn you away. While Upotte is funny at some level all of its jokes almost require some predisposition to firearms (something I find odd being a Japanese anime) and while it does an alright job explaining things to the audience, an explained joke is as we know makes for a poor joke. That said when upotte hits it hits pretty well, I found myself chuckling a few times when that is a rarity for me. I especially love the jokes based around twisting your expectations of the only male in the show, who the environment of the show makes you assume is a pervert only to always be reminded he’s just a regular teacher in every scene is much more concerned with making sure Funco does her homework then doing something R rated to her behind the bleachers.
Upotte bills itself as a comedy, but I assure you it has many other themes to it. Ecchi for one being VERY prominent. Something that I am use to in anime and for the most part I tolerate, but there is a level of especially weird when it’s guns being hyper sexualized. Especially one scene where while not shown clearly it is obvious a Finnish Sako is playing pocket pool with herself in the middle of a fight over thoughts of Funco. Oh by the way(I almost but btw and wanted to punch myself in the face lack of professionalism), most of the guns are Lesbians, it’s got more yuri then most yuri anime. Watching these extremely hyper sexual middle school aged guns running around makes me more disturbed then pleased, and not disturbed in a interesting way, just off put by the weird nature of the whole idea that apparently when I fire a gun I’m having sex with it.
Aside from the comedy and the disproportionate Yuri there is an unsurprising amount of action in Upotte considering the premise being about, oh you know, guns. Filled with small skirmishes culminating in a big east verse west battle to the death, except not because their guns not people so they can’t die. The action segments are pretty well done and don’t fail at being entertaining something that gives a little more life to the overall product that would have otherwise been bland. This action all ends with having a bad guns don’t kill people, people kill people message that makes this feel like weird political cry for gun legalization in a way, kind of like high school of the dead manga was. Something I may agree with but seems like the wrong place and time to have it.
All in all Upotte is both saved and crippled by what it is, a show about gun girls in middle school, for gun nuts alone its somewhat creepy. For anime fans it’s got be at least a little disjointed and confusing, but perhaps if you’re a fan of both you’ll get a pretty good time with this short ten episode series. Funny with a little bit of action definitely puts it over the copy pasted harems that seem to pass for comedy in anime putting it a decent 3.5 Cat Russian gun things out of 5.
Well Hello again anime vice it is I, M, here again to bring to you a uncharacteristic surprise from the innards of my cold dead heart a review of the “Dark” magical girl series Puella Magi Madoka★Magica brought by the ever loving hands of Shaft of Maria-holic fame one of the most unique and well loved studios ever to cross into our world. Under advisement from a couple of good friends, mostly with the intention of hearing my opinion on it, so off to Crunchy roll I went. So before that best I explain to the unknowing what exactly Madoka Magic is.
Set in what seems to be an extremely prosperous and slightly futuristic Japan the series follows a dark recreation of the magical girl genre as a whole; where magical girls are given one wish in exchange for lifelong service (as in until death take you) hunting Witches the manifestation of human curses. The main character is non-magical girl Madoka who is very much in personification of every main character of every magical girl series ever made however this world is not every magical and hopeful in tone prefer harshness and grimness, here the threat of death is present and often, taking on a gruesome reality that is true to the concept. Madoka just stumbles upon a cat creature trying to convince her to sign a contract to become a magical girl, and a magical girl very much set on stopping her from agreeing to this contract. The Series whole thematic tone is suppose to be dark something that is fairly different from the happy bubbly magical girl genre whose target audience is for the most part little girls and people looking for happy feels. This tone change is a flip of the switch by episode 3 where even the ending theme is changed to match it.
The mere mention of shaft should make anyone with knowledge of their work know that the art at its worst is interesting and at its best is some of the best that we’ve ever seen; that continues to be very true with Madoka Magica, the stylistic choices in terms of art and the simple way to present it shows a fantastic sense of taste and beauty. Staying unworldly without being abstract and hitting that healthy medium of fantastical without shattering any sense of immersion, which is impressive to say the least. This artistic treatment enters the battles of which never failed to surpass my expectations, beautifully done and intense enough to excite, crazy in the way it needs to be, but not ever obnoxious, more importantly always fun to watch as it was often the high point in the visual art.
What I didn’t expect from shaft is one of the most subtle and fantastic OSTs I’ve heard since .hack Sign. Being able to craft a constantly powerful while subtle to the point that it sounds almost distant of a melody is enough to put a very real smile on my face. Simply knowing a subtle and unique orchestral score in the background will, if done well, will be a far more powerful a track then any high energy J-pop song blaring at you can simply due to the limitations of pop. Shaft has an artistic talent and willingness to push art and production as far as it can go. With that it’s not at all beyond imagining that Madoka Magica is one of the best things I’ve actually seen or heard in very long time.
Shaft however, in my limited experience with them, has had a weakness in storytelling and focus. While they’re not terrible at it, it is the weakest element of shafts over all fantastic performances. The story in terms of being masterfully dark and springing on you like trap in episode 3 is amazing, but from there the story beats are pretty predictable and while very enjoyable to watch play out are just subpar in comparison to how well shaft does everything else. Strip away the music and art and Madoka Magica is just what the synopsis says, a dark magical girl series, and while an interesting concept is not exactly preformed in any extremely ground breaking ways in terms of story, the series is predictably dark and the story beats while original in the genre are uninspired compared to the rest of the qualities of the series. The worst is probably the latter half of the final episode which is almost difficult to watch as it tries to make a tonal transition.
That does not however detach from the truth of the matter, Madoka Magica is excellent and in a unique way. Many anime series tend to try to be wonders and epic, something like the Grand Canyon something impossible to miss and massive, this a difficult and often faulty attempt for most things, yet there is strange enough almost subtle kind of beauty I believe that is far more unique to media, but not to the world, something to be excellent in the way I cool ocean breeze is, this kind of artistic and musical attitude allows it to share that kind of pleasantness that leaves me impressed and more so happy with the entire series in a way that I personally love. It’s not a series that leaves me in awe just very happy to have experienced it and that is fine enough for me. While the plot objectively in my eyes drop it down to a somewhat harsh 4 magic musketeers out of 5 Madoka Magica for me is one of my favorite series I’ve had the pleasure to watch simply because it left me personally feeling a sense of enjoyment I haven’t felt since .hack sign, Something while not the most intense or magnificent of things an anime can make someone feel, is a personal favorite.
Well that’s all; this is M ending this with the wonderful poetic stylings of magical girls, see you later and hope to give you a podcast soon.
Hello Anime vice, it is I, M, again here to put on my lab coat, cook up some science, and review the Visual novel turned Anime, Steins; Gate courtesy of Nitroplus. Appearing sometime in 2011 it gained a good amount of popularity with close friends of mine, culmination in my desire to have a Steins gate marathon over the course of my weekend. So now that that’s over, how do I feel about Steins gate?
Stein’s Gate set in the modern 2010 this spiritual successor to Chaos Head though not entirely in its themes. The story is of 18 year old self described mad scientist ranking up there with Cave Johnson Rintarou Okabe, head of rang tag group of scientist including a 18 year old girl and brilliant neuroscientist Kurisu Makise, student and computer engineer Hasida Itaru, and lastly cute and honestly mildly autistic high school girl, Mayuri Shiina. They together have discovered accidentally that when you combine a phone with a microwave and add a little bit of a crt tv you get time travel complete with all the uses and consequences thereof. This, of course, attracting the attention of the unwanted in the process. Let me put it to you this way, if I have to say anything more than more than an anime about a bunch of college kids cooking up science and finding time travel through combining a cell phone and a microwave not only is this review not for you, but I feel the need to pose this question; what the hell are you doing on this planet breathing my air?
Steins Gate, man oh man, let me tell you. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an anime this good, hate to spoil the surprise, but it’s really good. I entered in with a high level of skepticism with Steins gate and rightfully so, the first episode is one of the most confusing and rather poorly done entry into anything I have ever seen however with every step Steins gate gets better and by the end, to be honest, I’m having a hard time figuring out to begin.
The show for all intents and purposes is divided into two distinct segments, the first twelve episodes are a excellent and pretty funny slice of life anime that basically deals with the development of time travel, the second section of 12 episodes are a very serious for lack of a better word adventure against time itself to stop some bad stuff from going down; that mostly deals with the applications and consequences of time travel. These episodes divided cleanly by a single one, episode 12, that has probably the biggest shit got real escalation curve I have seen in an anime to date. It performs with juggle of themes unbelievably well all while never breaking character for anyone.
Speaking of which, Steins Gate above all has a strong sense of character. It has a ridiculous cast while at the same time as managing them realistically. They react to things as people should; frightening things bring fear; if a character is hurt by another they react like they should. More so the conversations feels natural. Instead of seeming forced, relationships between characters seem sensible and even within their motifs these characters do seem more like people. Media has always had a problem with finding a way to bring a three dimension to a character without forcing melodrama or contrivance. In Steins Gate the drama while dramatic hardly seems melodramatic, unless the story itself address it as melodramatic, such is the case with many characters whose tropes are discussed and their tendencies to follow the trope are often the butt of jokes without necessarily breaking the fourth wall and demolishing seriousness with it. People are pretty funny to be honest and that’s what the humor is in Steins gate, people being what they are.
Most importantly there is the Science, Sci-fi is often one of the most underused or overly generic genres available sadly, so it brings me great joy to see Steins gate push for Science fiction in a semi-different way. While time Travel isn’t a new idea most of the implementation of it in Steins Gate is new enough. Using Time travel in ways that are unique without being completely insane. Admittedly some of the science is bullshit, but time travel is a new science to the characters and often enough they can only theorize why things are working more than knowing, the fact that a good portion of this show is simply a bunch of college kids performing weird experiments just to figure out how this new science works makes Steins Gate a little unique compared to its generic high school romance brethren that dominate the slice of life world or the space Mecha that dominate anime sci-fi.
I know this is turning into just rapid fire gush for Steins Gate, but I can’t express how much it deserves it. It’s not perfect for sure, the characters can be a bit much sometimes being so realistically socially inept as the story claims they are, a tendency to have plot twist with predictability up there with death and taxes, combined with its propensity to try to force information down your throat can turn away people early on. A main sticking point some might have is the small holes in the science of Time travel in Steins Gate, but to be honest every science fiction has a little space magic, mass effect has element zero, Star Trek has more small holes then the back of a gun range. Simply put if science fiction were entirely science fact, then all our microwaves would have a time travel setting.
Steins gate all around brings a package I can’t begin to express the quality of. Despite its imperfections I’m happy to give Steins Gate a very special place. In all the Manga and anime I’ve seen, a number well over a hundred by now, and of all I’ve only truthful been able to say two manga and four anime series have a 5 out of 5 ranking out of all that I’ve seen in my life. Something that hasn’t changed since the Mirai Nikki manga ended, but I’m happy to change that. So without further stalling; I give Steins Gate a impressive 5 time traveling bananas out of 5. Well that’s all Vice users, now I’m off to sleep, tomorrow me and the other boys are going to get together to all kinds of science stuff and make a podcast, see you later!
Well hello Anime vice friends. It is I M, reviewer and fellow user of the site. Me and a couple of my friends wanted to have some fun and do something a little special for you guys, and so birthed the first ever M-cast a discussion a lot about anime, a little about Video Games, and mostly about non-sense. I along with Anime vice users PyroBlue, and Homer Slobotnick with a little help from non-user Patrick "Patches the Clown" discuss a myriad of topics and eventually touch down on our mostly serious discussion of Avatar the Legend of Korra. Although rank amateurs at our best I hope you listen and enjoy and if you feel up to it send me some more ideas if you like it, all and all I had a great time making this and hope to give something back to whiskey media as a whole, so without further interruptions I give you,
I apologize in advance for the cursing and novice behavior and while we intended too censor it lovely Patches left me to it, While I dont have the bandwidth to host a podcast but your welcome to turn this video into an mp3 on http://www.youtube-mp3.org/, also this is a avatar spoiler cast so know that going in. On my last note bonus points to anyone who can listen to the name slips and guess all our names
Well hello again, this is M here again late tonight to bring you the quick review of a short little movie by the name Dead Space Aftermath the second of the Dead Space movies. Some of you might remember my previous review of the last dead space movie being pretty abysmal, but along with friends of mine (namely PyroBlue a new member to the site) I decided to watch it as Aftermath has made its way onto Netflix because good god I would never pay real money to see this.
To those unfamiliar to the game series Dead space may find that they are completely shit out of luck as in terms of plot so to save you some time, you folks who don’t care, don’t watch it, it’s not meant for your eyes and is about as coherent to you as the writings of an autistic 1700s scribe writing in Cyrillic is to the average American, but to try to explain in base terms it follows the interrogation of 4 survivors from a ship meant to find out what happened to a ship…that was sent to help find out what happened to a colony…and so on…worked out about as well as their predecessor, meaning poorly. Turns out they were after an ancient artifact called the marker that can get inside your head as well as bring back the dead as horrific monsters.
To be honest this movie isn’t as bad as I feared nowhere as good as anyone should hope, but not as bad. A clear improvement in budget and effort was made and the actually acting is not that campy through most of it, while the horror is far from scary a few scenes are kind of fun in their gruesome ways especially in a group laugh tracking the movie, most impressive in terms of being different is that the movie, being told from multiple perspectives, takes on a new art direction from each perspective, much like the halo legends movie released a while back, these art styles range anywhere from interesting to good to actively bad, but consistently bring life to what otherwise would be a soulless affair, the main improvement is simply I can tell someone at least tried during its production, something that is miles ahead of its predecessor.
The bad is apparent from the start, the dead space movies were nothing more than trans-media blitz meant to try and drive up interest in dead space, specifically dead space 2, the first movie was spectacularly boring and difficult to watch feeling more like a hour and a half add then anything meant to be consumed alone as entertainment, and while the sequel is much improved its still far from objectively worth someone’s time and continues to be just another unnecessary attachment to a game series. It’s boring sometimes ugly and just so spectacularly mundane it becomes somehow worse than just mediocre, Aftermath simply proves the old adage that if one aims to be average they will be less so.
End of the day I did enjoy my time, but that’s more do to the company I shared the movie with the quality it inherently has, end all be all Dead space aftermath fails but not so hard at a 2.5 green eyed Koreans out of 5.