Daydream Sanctuary Features

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring 2010 1st Impressions: Jap!Warriors + Chi!Spies (Extra: Gurren Lagan Parallel Works 2 Trailer)

The new season turned out to be better than I expected it to be. So I thought of checking out the first episodes of the new titles that I think have a chance to be good despite my low expectations. But before that:


Now for the next two Spring 2010 series I've checked out so far:
[ Hakouki: Shinsengumi Kitan ] Japanese history FTW!
[ Senkou no Night Raid ] Chinese history FTW!

[ Hakouki: Shinsengumi Kitan ]

Ah~ Shinsengumi~ I first heard about them from Rurouni Kenshin (The Hajime Saito of that series and this series are SO DIFFERENT O_O). And I saw them again in Gintama (KONDOUs and HIJITAKAs AND SOUGOs ARE DIFFERENT AS WELL O_O)~ I love samurai stuff... shinsengumi not excluded... how could I ignore this~
I didn't have high expectations for this though because the manga gave me headaches T_T (blame HER!!!). But I still thought of watching it because... well... THERE ARE BISHIES xD
There had been so many bishies introduced on this episode. Had trouble remembering their names? Then here: Kondō Isami, Hijikata Toshizō, Inoue Genzaburō, Okita Sōji, Nagakura Shinpachi, Saitō Hajime, Harada Sanosuke, Tōdō Heisuke, and Yamanami Keisuke.
No, I wasn't incredible enough to be able to memorize those many names. I got them from Wikipedia. It appears that our characters here are based on actual historical people, and all 9 of them, under the Kondou faction of the Shinsengumi. (or so I think. I didn't do a double check).
I doubt that these bishies will be that similar to their historical counterparts (as if it's the first one; there are already jap history shows that aren't exactly being historically accurate, and has no intention to be... at least not 100%).... but at least the series was able to portray what the shinsengumi had been really like during those times. They may be popular, but I've heard that though they had been some special police force with excellent swordsmen, they had also gotten their reputation tarnished to the point that they got the nickname "wolves of mibu" (originally they're called "ronin of Mibu"). And they're really serious on their shinsegumi stuff that a girl who was able to witness what they did is of minor importance.... or at least supposedly. She becomes uberly special to them in the later episodes. You don't need manga background to be able to anticipate that... this is based on an otome game after all =_=
Oh... about the leading girl... I admit that she's not that bad in this episode... NOT YET. Oh just wait on the part when they find out there's something special about her, so special that they have to protect her while she just cries about her uselessness (oh, the ED has her crying at the beginning, thanks for reminding to me T_T). Yes, her determination to find her father, and her guts to escape twice because of her concern for her father had been remarkable... but that's as far as she can go. I don't mind her getting into trouble at the beginning of the episode and had the bishies rescue her out of coincidence (they might've not been there if it weren't for the zombie dudes)... but.... she called him a "GOD". Later we'll see her blushing on every one of them, definitely. And oh.. after witnessing the bloody action and the bishies talking to her... SHE FAINTED! What timing.... Also, she claimed to have not seen anything when she obviously did then she finally gave in when they have stated the obviousness of it. And PFFT! There's this thing about her pretending to be a guy. I get why she's doing it (women are so discriminated during that time to the point that they're forbidden on so many things... and going out alone would certainly be one of them), but the issue for me is that she's SO OBVIOUSLY FEMALE AT FIRST GLANCE. There are girlie-looking boys? Fine. But her VOICE is so obviously girlie and she didn't make an effort to sound boyish. HOW COULD THEY NOT FIGURE OUT FROM THAT??? Boys at her age would certainly have had deeper voices already, right?I DON'T GET IT!!!! IF YOU CAN'T DO GENDER BENDERS PROPERLY, THEN DON'T BOTHER!!!!! And oh, she has a sword, huh? It's necessary for her disguise, BUT DON'T EXPECT HER TO BE ABLE TO USE IT! IT'S JUST FOR DISPLAY!!!! She can't even unsheath it for Pete's sake. Fine, I know there are good characters don't have to be fighters, but she's not gonna be useful on anything AT ALL except for *spoilerspoilerspoilerspoiler*. What's worse is that her curiosity makes her butt in to other people's business... making the bishies fight and even go angsty (we'll definitely be seeing that soon!). UGH... she's not that despicable YET but she's showing her patheticness little by little... then maybe KABOOM later because I already wanted to kill her after just around 3 pages of the manga with her. UUUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH...............
Okayz, enough about her. It appears that people got bored because there had been lots of dialogue... but the episode is setting up the story and it's introducing the characters! The dialogues help us understand the situation in the setting, and also in getting to know the characters' personalities. And it's NOT ALL talk... it began with some chasing then zombie attacks then zombie killings. The actual waste of talk time in this episode was when the leading girl talked about her story (YES! I'M BIASED!). They should have disposed of her already as soon as possible. Ugh. But since she's a main character, she was given special consideration. Great.
Nevertheless, this appears to be a series that deals with the dark side of Shinsengumi. It may be filled with pretty bishies, but it doesn't seem to have any intention on making things fluffy and flowery. It promises some nice action... and bloodshed~ Animation had been good (DEEN, why hadn't you been that serious on the animation quality on Hetalia and 07-Ghost? T_T) It will be having supernatural elements too (if ever the zombie shinsengumis weren't hint enough... OH I LOVE ZOMBIES!!!!) and in the future we'll be seeing vampires (yes, more blood for everyone~ That is, if it follows the manga).
Thanks to those I'm highly interested on the historical and supernatural elements of this series. Just ignore the girl, and everything looks fine for me. The bishies , aside from being pretty, are fun ya know~ I admit some are pretty stereotypical though... but I really like these three:

But Hijitaka is the hottest when he cuts his hair and starts wearing the western outfit:

WHEN ARE THEY GONNA START WEARING THESE??? I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL!!! THEY ARE HOTTER IN THESE!!!! (though the leading girl will be gazillion times more annoyingwhen they're already in western outfit)

[ Senkou no Night Raid ]

History + Politics + Action + Supernatural + Comedy (YES! THERE IS!) + Kyaa (BLAME AOI!) = HOW COULD I RESIST THIS COMBINATION???!!!! xD
I already expected it to be awesome but I'm delighted that it's even more impressive and entertaining than I expected it to be! Though... errr... this is the only show in recent years that I needed to watch... twice (well, I just repeated the scenes I need to understand better on the second watch; not the entire episode)
Why?? errr... because.... THE HORRIBLE MANDARIN DISTRACTED ME!!! Hahahahahaha!!! I'm already kinda used to Engrish, but... errrr... Jap!Mandarin??? NO. Hahahahaha!!!! But actually, only the main characters (those voiced by the Japanese voice actors) are the ones who speak funny chinese, but with the other characters, it seems that actual chinese voice actors had voice them. They don't sound awkward, or at least, as awkward as the main cast did.
Ah well, if Engrish had been forgiven, why not on weirdly spoken Chinese as well? Besides, at least they're consistent on the language barrier. They weren't lazy to make the cast speak in Japanese and just note of the original language they're supposed to be speaking; but actually made their voice actors speak the language. And the main characters communicate with that foreign language, unlike the certain movie I saw wherein a Japanese dude was speaking Japanese to an American yet the American understood him o_O
Now back to the episode.... overall... people actually find it... BORING? I saw complains on the color themes, the action scenes, the story, and the characters....... I DON'T GET YOU!!!! @_@ Well, for me, this series excelled on those areas!!!!

Let's begin with the color themes. They are dull colors, eh? It's a series set during world war times... and most of the events are set at night.... How could you expect a war setting to be freakin' colorful... especially the war times based in RL history? Just where have you seen soldiers/assassins/spies/the-like fight during WW times in flashy red/pink/yellow and other flashy/fancy colors??? They fight in plain areas, not in tournament fields or amusement parks or whatever. It's visually good and fits the story and setting... but for those who only like eyecandy... I don't think it's for you ^^;
And then with the action being not cool.... ARE YOU SERIOUS??? Their supernatural powers actually make the fight stuff even more spectacular. How Aoi has been beating up the soldiers in the way while Kazura carries the president was awesome!!! I like the fight choreography (do stunts; and do it quick. No need for action attack names or numerous attacks.), and the effects on the supernaturalish parts like bullet deflecting had been nicely presented! The teleportation part was fantastic (I miss Nightcrawler)! And it's true that they get away on tight situations thanks to their powers, but that doesn't mean they're invincible, nor it's something convenient to them. It appears that they even have limits (seems to me that mr.telekinesis has a time limit) and depend on something (like for mr. teleportation needing something to focus on).
And oh the vehicle riding! I looooove the motorcycle stunt! And Kazura does kickass reckless driving!!! There are so many action stunts here that had been really incredible! I don't get why people aren't impressed with the action. It has a supernatural twist yet the attacks are close to real ones. Or wait, do people prefer attacks wherein the ground breaks when a character gets landed on it after he got punched once (in other words, there are fighters with inhumane strength)? Or those with cool and flashy weapons that are used by cool and flashy characters that do cool and flashy poses? ...WHUT....
And the story.... if you dislike history and politics to the core... you won't ever appreciate it. Much more if you hate stories with x-men-like characters. That's the usual reason that I think why some people will find this boring... another is that the mission didn't have much... errr... impact? ... and that the story's confusing. The former depends on one's tastes (the first mission was cool for me. It wasn't just a rescue mission. Turns out that the one they're rescuing is an asshole; and there's some politics and business going on), but for the later... perhaps lack of background on the historical events it's based on? I'm however the type who is even more interested if I don't get what's going on ^^; Makes me crave to know and understand~
I don't know much about the Koumintang and Chinese history during the 1930's... but this series made me interested on it~ Ah well, I can't fully tell that this has been historically accurate... but it's fiction so meh, why give much of a damn about the accuracy. The issue though is... hhhmmm... there was a mention of the chinese and the japanese having some alliance? They hinted it being a shaky alliance... so it's not something that's supposed to have happened. If I remember correctly, Japan attacked China during that time. Hmmm... possibly the anime is making a "What-if" scenario if ever those two countries do work together during that time? Interesting.

And on the characters.... WHAT? THEY'RE BORING??? eeeeehhh.... BUT THEY'RE ACTUALLY HILARIOUS!!! Especially Aoi!!!! Ah well, the comedy here is not obvious comedy. It's pretty subtle I guess (either that or only I am humored by it?). But still, there are quite a number of parts to laugh about in this episode, starting with AOI'S HORRIBLE VIOLIN PLAYING!!!!! Wahahahahahha xD And HIS LAUGH!!!! He even has a laughing partner!!! They go LOLz, so amusing xD
And his moments with Kazura are so cute xD He keeps on telling Kazura to use his power already, and when Kazura finally gave in, the teleportation experience made him so jolly like a little kid xD Hahahaha!
Fine, that's me fangurling. The characters aren't just spy dudes with supernatural powers. We have a hero who dislikes useless wars, which is probably why he gets along well with the boss because of the similar ideals. His partner appears to have some past with his power that he avoids using it unless necessary. Then telepathic girl seems useless without her power, but she's being called "Milady" which implies to me that she may also be royalty or some other high status. So in other words she might be some rich girl but doing justice stuff in a secret group. And then there's this other guy who has excellent vision and is a very useful human GPS. Not much info on the fourth dude aside from his powers and that... he appears to be smarter than he looks for he was cautious enough not to make the others go to the car because it might be a trick, and it really was a trap. And we also have this mysterious dude who is usually near the boss. Bottomline, they're not just archetypes. There's something more to their personality and they're interesting enough to make one curious to know about them. I wonder about the source of their abilities (it might be something like Darker than Black) and how they got recruited... and their reason for fighting. (I WANNA KNOW! NEXT EPISODE WHERE?)
I'm so pleased with this but *sigh* it saddens me that many people didn't appreciate it =( Anywayz, overall I think it has the potential to be a good spy action series as long as they can keep this up. The animation was splendid and the music was cool! The characters are interesting (And Aoi is fun!!! I LOVE THAT ENTERTAINING DUDE xD) and the story's really promising. I look forward to the next episode! (I'm tempted to blog it.... but I got my hands full on APH and DRRR!!.... guuuh)

Whoaaaa... longest first impressions post for this season ever.
Supernatural + History FTW! xD Hahahah!


Yukihito said...

Wow, Senkou no Night Raid is out! I've been looking forward to it since I saw the awesome trailer, I'm just slow to notice when things are out >_<

I have Hakuouki ready to watch too, just got to find the time to watch XD

Aorii said...

Frankly, all the supernaturals in Night Raid hurts a lot for any historical authenticity one might expect from it.

The case with China back then is that it was fractionalized by a lot of warlords. The KMT-Communist alliance was the major power after two northern expeditions, but they didn't stamp out all the other groups yet. Inevitably, some of those might ally with the Japs to deal with a mutual enemy, since the KMT is obviously Japan's main enemy as they plan for their invasion...

There is no such thing as a possible Japan-China alliance, they've been fighting for hundreds of years by 1930s. They're already treading thin ice on this so if they do a what-if... well, things won't look well.

My main problem technically, is that the voice acting sucks. The Japanese version wasn't that bad to begin with (especially all those fake laughs), the Chinese simply makes my ears bleed.

Sapphire Pyro said...

@ Yuki-chan
Happy watching~

@ Aorii
But this is not the first series that inserted supernatural elements on a historical series x_x I don't get why it became a big issue on this one and with the others it didn't. And besides, I don't think there's a historical fiction that is 100% historically authentic @_@ what-if scenarios don't always mean they are possible events, I believe.

As for the voice acting on the chinese lines.... oh it's worse than engrish X_X this is the first time I thought being unfamiliar with the chinese language can be a good thing sometimes. man, it's so horrible, I can't watch it as a whole in peace if it continues in other episodes O_O;;;

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