1990′s Flight 005 Conspiracy was directed by Toshifumi Takizawa who also directed the Crusher Joe’s OVA’s and Blue Remains. Character design was done by Tsukasa Dokite, who also worked on the Dirty Pair anime and oh boy, I haven’t heard this name in a long time, the bizarre hentai Cream Lemon (link is SFW).
Flight 005 Conspiracy involves Kei and Yuri investigating two seemingly unrelated cases involving an exploded space flight and a missing researcher. What has started as a strange case quickly evolves into an interplanetary conspiracy, involving organized crime and an experimental compound named Ignoal fluid. While they are at it, they receive the help of handsome detective Danny and grizzled grandfather Dick, who is looking to save his daughter and grandchild. All of whom are endangered by the crossfire of an intelligence agency split between factions of government and previously mentioned organized crime in the form of Dirty Pair mainstay Lucifer.
Super Robot anime has two immediate appeals in this modern era. The first, being fantastic opening theme music and the second, which I will go into more detail later, is accessibility. Super group Jam Project is a great example of outstanding music, its founders, Ichirou Misuki, Hironubo Kageyama (Whom some of us at CotBF affectionately address as “Japanese Bon Jovi”.), and Massaki Endo have individual music that deserves to open this review. Watch all three of these openings and try to pick up on the pump-you-up feel as it just dares you to scream out an attack name. Now image a group made of singers all working the same level of excitement? I consider 2010’s Mazinkaiser SKL (Actually, this time instead of the aforementioned Jam Project, Mazinkaiser SKL’s opening is performed by the tonally more appropriate metal band known as Loudness) to be a perfect example of Super Robot anime and the inherent pick-up-and-go that shows like this champion.
Mazinkaizer SKL is directed by Jun Kawgoe with company Dynamic Planning, who I know as a company hell-bend on producing countless anime adaptions of mangaka. Go Nagio’s huge catalog of giant robot and random perverse demon/angel/demon angel material helped materialize such shows like Getter Robo Armageddon and New Getter Robo. Jun Kawgoe also directed the awesome but seemly ignored Cyborg 009 The Cyborg Solider.
Warning: Starting with MazinKaizer SKL, we are starting to occasionally cover Blu-Rays. Problem is, we have no idea how to make effective Blu-Ray screen caps (we looked up ways, but they did not help/required the out of our budget AnyDVD HD). This means we are going back to the old days when we used to take images off our T.V.s with our phones. So if they look fuzzy to you, they look just as fuzzy to us as well.
Affair of Nolandia was directed by Masaharu Okuwaki, whose repertoire also includes Aishiteruze Baby, Cat’s Eye, and MÄR. Animation director is Yukari Kobayashi, who has worked on Lovely Complex and Gokujou. Notably, as this is Kobayashi first and only trek into the Dirty Pair franchise, the character designs in Affair of Nolandia look slightly different.
Affair of Nolandia finds the Lovely Angels sent to the planet Ookbar to protect a young girl named Missnie. Unfortunately, by the time the duo arrives at Ookbar, Missnie’s caretaker has been murdered and Missnie herself has been kidnapped. After dealing with the planet’s protective Chief of Security named Samara, Yuri and Kei’s traverse to the only place under Ookbar’s clouds with a maintainable ecosystem, the Nolandia Forest. After many ESP-induced mishaps occur during the trek around the forest, the duo are finally able to find Missnie, only to learn that she is naught but a small aspect of a much larger plan soon to unravel.
As of late, it would appear I have been getting paired with nothing but war story Anime, (see my last review of Now and Then, Here and There). But anything is better than having me watch Grave of the Fireflies, so I am not about to complain. What I write here today is a very different story from my last review, and whereas NTHT left a half-assed taste in my mouth, I can feel a little more proud when I tell you all about 2007’s The Sky Crawlers.
Directed by Mamoru Oshii of Ghost In the Shell fame and character designs by Tetsuya Nishio who has also worked on a great deal of Ghost In the Shell and Naruto films
I would tell you more but it seems Tetsuya Nishio’s chief job and portfolio is key animation. It was originally based on the novels by Hiroshi Mori, who so far, have yet to be released in English. The Sky Crawlers, however, was released by SONY pictures for the English language.
Let us travel back in time to the year 1980 where Haruka Takachiho has just created the short story called, The Dirty Pair’s Great Adventures. He eventually made these short stories into numerous sequels such as Dirty Pair Flash and A Plague of Angels. 1985 rolls around and Dirty Pair is now a hit T.V. show, with popularity spawning numerous OVAs and a film. The nature of Dirty Pair’s game is perpetually episodic, with the only real reoccurring characters, the Dirty Pair themselves Kei and Yuri, as well as their pet black cat like creature Mugi. Over the next three months here at CotBF, three different writers will cover three different Dirty Pair titles, I will be covering Project Eden, Biskmater will be covering Flight 005 Conspiracy, and Uwak will be covering Affair of Nolandia.
Dirty Pair: Project Eden is directed by Koichi Mashimo, whose other works include Captain Kuppa and Dominion Tank Police. The creator was Haruka Takachiho, the man behind the popular Crusher Joe series. Tsukasa Dokite was in charge of character designs; he also worked on Gude Crest – The Emblem of Gude.
Some stories tell us that war is a horrible thing, where a few others tell us that war is filled with glory and honor. Most of us, I am sure, realize that war is not a pretty thing, and yet, we still have it. Do we perhaps secretly enjoy war in its bloody, painful glory or is it perhaps that bashing heads simply is the easier choice? Sophistry aside, war stories are far from uncommon, but they all usually try to tell us something about cruelty, and 1999’s Now and Then, Here and There is no different*.
Now and Then, Here and There was conceived and directed by Akitaro Daichi, who also directed anime such Jubei-Chan and Kamisama Kiss. Hideyuki Kurata was the writer, who also worked on Kamichu! And The World God Only Knows.
Mech suits have been around in anime since 1979 with the introduction of Mobile Suit Gundam. There have been many iterations and different styles over the years. I have a personal history with Mecha; some of the earliest anime that I watched had them in it. Be it the Gundam series, Blue Gender, The Vision of Escaflowne, the list keeps going. So it is easy to say I have some experience with these machines and love them dearly. Enter in 1988’s OVA Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01 and from the start I was intrigued.
Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01 is written and directed by Shinji Aramaki, who also directed 2004’s Appleseed film. He also wrote the story for Megazone 23 Part I & II. Character designs are by Hideki Tamura, who also worked on Dream Dimension Hunter Fandora. Hideaki Anno, who is best known for working on the popular Neon Genesis Evangelion series, did the animation. In 1990 Hideaki won the Animage Anime Grand Prix award for Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, respectively in 1995-1996 for Neon Genesis Evangelion; and finally for The End of Evangelion film in 1997.
1989′s Megazone 23 Part 3 is directed by Shinji Aramaki and Kenichi Yatagai. Aramaki has worked on other such titles as Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01 and the upcoming Space Pirate Captain Harlock film in 2013. Yatagai’s other works include Super Dimension Fortress Macross II: Lovers, and the 1994 Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA. Character designs are by Hiroyuki Kitazume, known for Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack and Urotsukidōji: Legend of the Overfiend.
Megazone 23 Part 3 takes place in Eden, the last remaining city on Earth and follows a young hacker named Eiji Takanaka. He is a proficient player of the futuristic virtual reality game “_HARD ON¯” and plays with the majority of his friends; notably Bud who is almost as good as Takanaka is both in hacking and the game. Sporting a high level of hacking ability Takanaka is brought on at E=X.
When mangaka Tsukasa Hojo started releasing his manga City Hunter within the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump, he started the ball rolling for what would be an almost fifteen yearlong franchise. By the end of City Hunter’s six year serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump, along with other manga like Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and Saint Saiya, City Hunter was running four T.V. series, two OVAs, and one film strong. I would like to bring to your attention the late nineties T.V. special outings of City Hunter, whose attempts to mix then modern nineties’ updates while still trying to keep to its late eighties’ flourishes entice me. That is why I will be reviewing the City Hunter property with the most misleading name, 1997’s City Hunter The Motion Picture (Goodbye, My Sweetheart).
City Hunter The Motion Picture (you know what, Goodbye, My Sweetheart sounds less awkward so how about we just call it that instead) was directed by Kazuo Yamazaki, director of both The Five Star Stories film and the second half (non-Mamoru Oshii) of Urusei Yatsura. What interests me the most is the combined force of character designers Yukiko Kamimura of Black Jack 21 and Keiichi Satou of The Big O and practically all things Karas. Now they both have been character designers for other City Hunter properties, but the fact that they are together in this one denotes further discussion later.
At CotBF, we have a predilection for late eighties and early nineties anime, not that we have what we have been reviewing them much lately, but you will see visual trends common between them and our review tonight. But for all of Cyber City Oedo’s and A.D. Police Files (why must I belittle myself by referencing early green criticisms) shared vision of a distraught and crime invested NeoTokyo (which ironically we also covered), there tends to be a level of underlining seriousness yet at times snarky outlook towards the eminent future. 2006’s Project Blue Earth SOS seems to sidestep this stark tone from an optimistic viewpoint, making it quite the interesting specimen.
Project Blue Earth SOS is directed by Tensai Okamura, creator of everythingDarker Then Black, be it the original two T.V. seasons, to the OVAs, to even the story for the manga adaptions. He also directed Metabots, and my favorite Memories segment, Stink Bomb, thus making the potential links to our past articles equal to four.
1990’s Otaku No Video is a mockumentary on the life of otaku, you know, those sad little souls that Americans believe are addicted exclusively to anime and manga. But wait! Maybe there is a little more diversity to these weirdoes than what most people relegate them as collectors of cutesy (or not so cute depending on what they are based on) figures, model-kit builders, and wall scroll hangers. And do not forget about those body pillows. Let’s see how “real” otaku live their lives. .
This is one of studio GAINAX’s earliest works, it was directed by Takeshi Mori (Vandread, Gunsmith Cats) with character designs by Kenichi Sonoda (Bubblegum Crash, Cannon God Exaxxion).
Vampires are certainly no strangers to anime, regardless of what genre or time period they find themselves. From Osamu Tezuka’s Don Dracula to Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D all the way up to Kouta Hirano’s Hellsing, you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find a genre that doesn’t have at least one vampire series. I took a dive into the 1988 4-part OVA Vampire Princess Miyu- hoping for a short yet intriguing watching experience.
Miyu was directed by Toshiki Hirano, whose other works include Devilman Lady and the Magic Knight Rayearth OVAs. Additionally, the series’ music was composed by Kenji Kawai, composer for other anime including Ghost in the Shell, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, and Patlabor. Vampire Princess Miyu also eventually received both a full-length TV series and a manga adaptation in the nineties.
Five Numbers! was directed by Hiroaki Ando, who, as you will notice when watching Five Numbers! for the first time, is successful in working in CG animation. From his own segments in the anthology Digital Juice, to CG credits in well-known films like Metropolis and Steam Boy, it became very apparent that he is a byproduct of a Japan’s short animation scene. Interesting to note, screenwriter Dai Sato, whom I recognize from his interviews of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and 2nd GIG, thought up and wrote Five Numbers!. This makes sense since the story played out like the episodes of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex that he wrote.