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Tamagotchi the Movie

Reviews - by - April 4, 2010 - 22:27 Europe/London - 1 Comment

Tamagotchi the Movie, published in 2007 was produced by Susan Deming, directed by Dan Kuenster and written by Kuenster, Deming and David Lewman and inspired by the much loved digital pet in an egg shaped key-ring, the Tamagotchi. The adorable little pet was first released to the world in 1996 and people of all ages, from children to parents and everyone in between seemed to own one. This addictive, pixelated pet enabled the owner to nurture, play and even clean up after their digital pet, with the upside of less bad smells and the only exercise the user would get would be with their thumbs.

Owing to the gadget’s success, in 2007 Tamagotchi the Movie was released in Japan and was every bit as adorable as the virtual pet was itself. The storyline begins with a young girl, Tanpopo who is confused and indecisive about becoming a big sister for the first time. She sports her very own Tamagotchi key-ring and is seen playing with it before she gets a phone call from her mother asking her to take a bag to her. Unbeknown to Tanpopo and the rest of the population of Earth, thousands of miles away, across the sea stars, another planet exists known as Tamagotchi World. Housing hundreds of little Tamagotchi’s who are all living their own little lives and it’s at this point the remaining characters are introduced. The key character, Mametchi who is a sprightly, young Tamagotchi keen to become an inventor like his father, but who also shares Tampopo’s confusing emotions of becoming an older sibling.

In what appears to be a freak accident, Mametchi transports Tanpopo from Earth to Tamagotchi World whilst conducting a new experiment. Unrealistically, Tanpopo rather than being distraught at being caught up in a whole new world, is more than happy to find herself on a strange planet; where every item, bush and building has a face and even Black Holes, one of the universe’s most feared entities, is made to look adorable. This becomes even clearer when she finds she can spend each day playing with the digital creatures she has come to love back on Earth and not suffer any implications as she will be able to travel back in time. So the work and adventures begin to try and help her return home and for her and Mametchi to realise that being an older sibling is nothing to be scared of.

The characters are all well thought out and with enough emotion and problems for young children to relate to. Tanpopo is faced with the realisation that a lot of children her age are forced to come to terms with, not just sharing their parents attention but also that they now have to be the grown-up one with someone who will be looking up to them. This beautiful message is conveyed brilliantly and reassures a lot of viewers with some very conflicting emotions, which by extension will make a viewer enjoy the movie that bit more. Pretty deep for a film inspired by a digital pet, right? Not to worry, the rest of it is complete fun and nonsense! The characters are adorable, colourful and funny.

Something the viewer may find surprising is the fantastic quality in the animation! It’s smooth, clean and crisp, with multiple characters moving at the same time. Not what one would expect from Tamagotachi the Movie. There are plenty of big named animes out there that aren’t as privileged to have this same standard of animation. A little over the top for what is a pretty standard storyline? Not at all. If such an incident was to occur such as being transported to a world run by cute little pets, living in cute little homes where even the sun lives its life exploring different hot springs, then this is what you’d want to see! Everything in this movie is overflowing with colour, sparkles and glowing rays of light. Tamagotchi the Movie looks so good it actually looks edible!

The voice actors are perfectly synchronised with the Movie. Not that this would be difficult to achieve, anyone willing to accept a few gulps of helium could do the job.

Gravitation Boxset

Reviews - by - March 27, 2010 - 18:14 Europe/London - Be first to Comment!

Initially a very successful twelve volume manga, Gravitation has now been adapted into an anime series that’s thirteen episodes. It’s been released as four separate volumes and now available as a single boxset. Directed by Bob Shirohata and distributed by MVM Entertainment in the UK, this anime is primarily about one young man keen to become Japan’s next successful Pop Idol in a band called Bad Luck. However, this simple plan runs into a few problems when the lead character meets another young, sexy, cool and bad tempered man who gets in the way of his plans.

Shuichi, the lead character, is a cute, ambitious young man with dreams of becoming a world renowned Pop Idol with his band: Bad Luck. Yet, in the first episode he finds himself in a bit of a rut, uninspired, struggling with his lyrics and on top of this, he’s got studio deadlines to meet. Bad Luck or good luck, whilst taking a walk with these lyrics he stumbles into a far darker, cooler and sexy young man named Eiri Yuki, who just so happens to be a famous and grumpy novelist. He sees these lyrics and has got plenty of things to say about them, and not all of his feedback is positive or seen as constructive. Despite this unfriendly start, Shuichi becomes a victim of the nasty side of Eiri and the clearly infatuated Shuichi has his emotions ripped apart by Eiri. Whilst all of this is happening, his music career isn’t exactly moving forward either. The storyline isn’t the first of its kind, but it still gets a thumbs up for originality due to its unusual love story.

There is a fairly large cast of characters, all ranging from humours to serious. A lot of the auxiliary characters are very generic and it’s mostly the main characters that have any form of character development and even that is on that slim side. Shuichi is a typical lolli-shota character, young looking, happy-go-lucky and wears his heart on his sleeve; whereas Eiri Yuki is a darker, more distant character, full of maturity and great one-liners. Their relationship could be compared in many ways to that of Hunni-chan and Mori from Ouran High School Host Club; except for the “adult” relationship between Eiri Yuki and Shuichi. The two are opposite ends of personalities yet form a confusing and unbreakable bond. Even by the third volume, Eiri Yuki’s personality is confusing. He never lets on what he is truly thinking and to make him all the more mysterious he has a hidden past that’s not revealed until later episodes, a hidden past that holds some very deep, dark secrets. The rest of the characters are completely forgettable and for a band that’s attempting to be the next big thing, the rest of Bad Luck are dull and characterless.

The quality of the voice acting cast in English isn’t too bad, the key characters have got good, somewhat-unique voices and they are easily understandable. The Japanese cast are much better in this situation, with their voices matching the characters in a better way; however, both tracks are watchable. The subtitles are also well done, the positioning is good and the majority of the “extra” bits of information, such as signs, are translated for the most part as well – something that’s being dropped from a lot of releases at the moment.

The character designs are fairly good. Each character is clear, distinct and almost glows. With plenty of costume changes, close up shots and singing there’s many chances to cost-save, but for the most part they’ve avoided this. The actual quality of the animation is just about average, with a few extended “sweeping” shots where nothing’s actually moving and it’s rare to see more than one character moving at the same time.

In reality it’s all about music, it’s about sexy men, big hair, soap opera worthy relationships, bright colours and sparkles. It’s very obvious whose attention this anime is trying to grab just by its imagery. It’s funny, filled with heart throbbing moments and the occasional adult humour.

Gunparade March Volume 1

Reviews - by - March 22, 2010 - 20:50 Europe/London - Be first to Comment!

“Gunparade March” originally started out as ,a video game for Playstation. Due to its huge award winning success, it was later featured as a twelve episode anime series and also a three part manga. The anime version of Gunparade March was produced by J.C.Staff and broadcast on MBS in February 2003 and April 2003 in Japan and only recently made it’s way across to the UK. It is comparable with many other animes, such as: Gundamn Wing, Baldr Force EXE and bizarrely enough, Tenchi Muyo.

The opening of the first few episodes gives a brief but detailed description of what is happening in a fictional world, where alien life forms known as the Genjyu have taken over control of the world and people have been living in fear of these creatures since the late 1940s. Rather than being intelligent life forms, the Genjyu are no more than parasites, spreading across the world at an incredible rate and leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. To try and battle these creatures, all modern forms of warfare have been employed and it would appear that not even a Nuclear bomb is able to disperse the creatures and prevent full invasion. As such the use of these powerful weapons have left the planet poisoned with radiation. Yet the aliens continue to live on whilst the human race struggles to live ordinary lives alongside them.

On first impression this anime is nothing special, it could even be described as cookie-cutter. The storyline, though interesting, would only appeal to one type of audience – the sort that love guns, machines and robots thrown in for good measure. Not to forget the Genjyu, who are huge, vicious aliens that can only be destroyed by a monster fighting-weapon-laden-robot, the Humanoid Unit AMTT-500, who incidentally looks a little like Metriod. This is all discovered in the first episode and not to mention a bit of bloodshed to seal the deal for those out there that judge an entire anime within the first twenty minutes.

However, by the second episode the story widens out a little and it can entice a much larger audience. It becomes humorous, with typical characters with similarities that can be found from across the Sci-fi genre and a few others to boot, such as a cute girl like Sasami from Tenchi Muyo. The storyline has pulled on inspiration from Tenchi Muyo with a lot of action, but with a lot of comical every day life moments thrown in. There is plenty of time to get to know the history and the lives of the characters, which the first few episodes spends a lot of time doing.

The main characters are actually young adults still in a Training school where they are taught to use the Humanoid Unit AMTT-500. These students treat the Genjyu invasion like an everyday thing, laughing and discussing more ordinary concerns such as having a boyfriends and homework. The characters seem to vary from very serious, to flirtatious, Lolashota to playful. As could be expected from teenagers, some of the subject matter isn’t always family friendly and the humour can be a little crude now and again.

The artwork is nothing out of the ordinary, with a pleasing look but the characters are all a little generic however the backgrounds and the characters themselves have enough detail. The animation quality is fairly good, although there are an awful lot of still shots of space, robots and a lot of close-ups of people talking but with little movement. The voice acting is very standard, almost forgettable on the whole and the Japanese cast isn’t much different either.

U Don’t Know Me

Reviews - by - March 20, 2010 - 22:06 Europe/London - 1 Comment

“U Don’t Know Me” is a yaoi published by Net Comics and written by the author known as Rakun. Originally published as donginji (doujinshi) in Korea, “U Don’t Know Me” is a love story where two best friends, close to brotherhood, reveal their secret desires to each other that have stemmed from childhood in a world where this is still taboo. “U Don’t Know Me” is a romantic, sexy, humorous with a pinch of violence piece of work and has a story comparable with other popular manga such as “There’s Something About Sunyool” and “Merry Family Plan”.

The two main characters, Yoojin and Seyun’s relationship blossom, as they grow older, from best friends in their childhood and become passionate lovers in their teens. Yoojin is typically tall, dark and handsome, martial arts professional and all round cool guy. Whereas Seyun, who is not only handsome, but is seen by his lover as far weaker and less cool with a hint of lolli-shota. Life is seemingly sweet until Seyun moves away with his irrational father during his childhood; however, things do not work out and years later he returns. Yoojin is still living with his parents when Seyun moves to his own place nearby. It is from here the two realise they were always more than just friends. Yoojin often too forceful and Seyun tougher then he acts, it’s a complicated relationship from the beginning and this is before the parents find out!

The quality of the artwork is decent and the actual imagery is graphic throughout the entire manga, the front cover alone is somewhat suggestive and goes much further than this giving the viewer exactly what’s hoped for. Like any good quality manga, it is easy to read. There are many double pages pretty much dedicated to the less then subtle sex scenes, picturing more passionate moments and leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. However, it’s not all seriousness as there are plenty of chibi sketches that express the storyline has taken a lighter turn and the reader is welcome to laugh. The more that one reads, the more the manga feels like an anime, which is a great sign. Darting from one box to the next ensures the entire yaoi can be enjoyed and finished well within the hour. Ideal for saucy lunch hours and bathtub reading!

“U Don’t Know Me” is a perfect read for anyone who enjoys a typical yaoi storyline. Two sexy young men sharing passionate moments that become more graphic and intense as the pages turn over. The storyline consists of a shock factor most of us born in the 80’s have long since gotten over but can’t wait to know more about. The romance coincides neatly with the heart throbbing sex scenes and the more heart breaking discussions as Yoojin and Seyun debate if what they’re doing is right.

Although very enjoyable there are some scenes that feel as though they are only put in to make up the pages. Seyun has this gangster like image around him that Yoojin does not see. In school Seyun is revered as one of the toughest school kids around and is known for loosing his temper and getting into fights. However, when with Yoojin, he is described as a ‘kitten’ and only looses his temper during heated debates of which anyone could be guilty. Thus parts of the storyline seem almost completely irrelevant which leads to impatient thoughts such as “Let’s have another sex scene or a strange twist!” However the storyline is not without it’s shocking moments that render the reader unable to put the manga down before knowing what happens next.