15 February 2010 | papabearEG
I'm oddly fascinated
I'm not an anime fanatic so my list of anime series Iike is short. As an animator I tend to like the higher budget shows like Akira. Most are so crudely animated it's painful to watch. I almost didn't bother with this series for that reason. However, the story captivated me. I knew it was going to be difficult to follow until more of the future plot line had been exposed and so far, I'm not disappointed.
Animation The only reason I'm going to this much depth in my review of the animation is because other reviewers didn't feel qualified to make comments. As an animator I don't feel much more qualified but like most animators I'm stubborn and opinionated when it comes to my trade. Take with a grain of salt. Obviously my taste in animation is a bit different than the style represented here, so I'll do my best. To poke at those Sins committed in this film that are basic to any animated show. Animation is, after all, a form of acting and a story telling tool. The way it's drawn and timed can impact a story just as much as a actors reading for a voice or editing does. I want to get this out of the way first. The line work is intentionally rough and I really like the sketchy look of the show. It has an unfinished, raw quality that influences your reaction to the characters and gives the show a more honest impression, if that makes any sense. The lack of polish let's you feel that the characters are more personal and believable. The one thing, and it's a big thing, is they extended this rawness to the frame count as well. Here it has the opposite impact on the story, making it feel cheap and rushed. There are entire fight sequences that are around 12 frames per second or much less. Often to the point it looks more like an animatic (placeholder) than a finished product. I had a difficult time watching those sequences. Over all the show stays around the 12 fps range, which is really a shame. This story deserves better. It's obvious this is where the shows budget hit hardest. I especially dislike the exaggerated reactions (screaming, crying, anger) that are often the hallmark of anime. I expect them in anime but the bad frame rate makes it seem as if they were cheating or trying to avoid working on something difficult to animate, and in the end made me feel the people with the money were stingy or didn't get the story well enough to invest in it properly. I've seen work come out of high school art departments that were far better. I hate when things are handled so carelessly. It's an insult to the audience.
Audio I hope someone can clear this up for me. why is it that anime has such horrible over acted voices? At first I thought that it was intentional from the start. A trademark if you will. Then I got Akira on laser disk and watched the program in it's original language. The acting was subtle and very well done. The English translation, however, was loud and horribly exaggerated. It was like someone trying to talk to a hearing impaired individual. I felt as if they think American audiences are dumb so they scream at you instead of acting naturally. For example, a bar scene at the beginning of Akira, a patron leans back in his chair and yawns. In Japanese, it's a normal, somewhat subdued yawn. The English track the guy leans back and in a very loud exaggerated voice goes ERRRR YAAAAWWWWWNNN! AHHHHH It bugs me. Badly. Am I just missing the joke here? Story professional complaints aside, I found myself unable to turn off the player and go to bed. The characters are charming and easily identified with. I wasn't happy with the explanation of quantum theory but it was one of the better attempts at a very difficult to grasp concept. I felt they brushed over important concept and focused on less important ones. The explanation of "entanglement" confused me and I understand the theory! They Have an animation depicting Schrödinger's cat. Rather than explain that theory they used a more convoluted example of sand on a beach, all the while using boxes holding the cat rather than sand. I found the description confusing and far less effective than if they had just stayed with Schrodinger's Cat.
The concepts around quantum mechanics is what make the story hard to follow at first. Eventually you get it just because the events around the characters.
I was enamored with all of the characters. The lady with the southern accent cracked me up. I grew up in Texas so the accent was a bit hard but it coming out of an anime character was jarring to say the least. Ioved it.
This review sounds far more negative than I intended. I have very positive feelings toward the show and highly recommend it. It's entertaining and has a unique take on a common sci if element in today's shows. It is creative and refreshing. I agree with all the other reviews. Don't give up after only a couple of episodes. You won't be disappointed. That being the common theme in other reviews. I really don't see many people doing that though. After all, none of us did, and Im not even that much of a fan. Not to mention animation problems that made my eyes bleed. If I can enjoy it that much then you should love it.