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Cyber City Oedo 808 February 12, 2013

Posted by oldboy in : Animation, DVD/Video/T.V., Science Fiction, Anime/ Manga, Best Ever , 1 comment so far

A favorite anime of mine which I first viewed in the early 90s late at night on the UK Channel 4 back when it used to show anime on weekends. Back then anime was still a bit of an underground cult, it wasn’t as accessible, an unknown among many people and had slightly more respect before the days of Pokemon.

It blew me away the first time I saw it. The animation style, the characters, the stories. It was dripping of Cyberpunk and opened up a new world of anime to me. Viewing Cyber City Oedo years later represents to me what I miss in Animation these days. The colors in animation today are dull, pale tone, the characters look less human, more otherworldly in appearance. Cyber City Oedo was colorful, vivid, the characters were designed closer to that of real people. The action was in your face. Less artistic and more like a real action film. It didn’t pander to a general audience. But I guess being an OVA film it can get away with that.

The story revolves around 3 criminals released from prison in the year 2808. They work for the special service section of the police catching other criminals in the attempt to reduce their own prison sentences which are into hundreds of years. To prevent them from escaping they each wear an explosive collar around their necks (oh yeah!) and if they fail their missions they’ll be feeling quite light headed after too. The first two episodes are of excellent quality. The third loses it’s way a bit in terms of story, animation quality and even the english dub seems a bit off. It’s a little closer to Kawajiri’s other offerings.

Part of it’s cult status is not just the animation and story but the UK dubbing which took some liberties with the dialogue, although in my own estimation it makes for some kick ass and at times hilarious lines such as..

“You wouldn’t recognize a goddamn vampire if one jumped up and bit you on the end of your fucking dick. So just get off my back.”

or

“Eat this dick splash!”

The UK voice cast delivers these lines with all the gusto they can muster and it wasn’t surprising to hear this kind of dialogue in dubbed anime back in the day. Added to that was a legendary soundtrack by Rory McFarlanes which forgoes the slightly generic Japanese anime theme of the 80s and replaces it with something suiting it’s Cyberpunk setting. Most fans seem to love it and would rather have that version on DVD than the original Japanese music.

The setting of the series is in a futuristic Oedo and the characters and setting reflected that. The stories are varied from People trapped in a Tower (ala Die Hard). Robots with Psychic powers (ummm..) and Vampires (vampires). There was a rich world of storytelling opened up in this SF Cyberpunk series but…. this is all we got. Just 3 episodes. I’m still as disappointed now as I was 20 years ago when no more episodes were broadcast.

In my opinion this is a MUST SEE animation that is still riding the cult status two decades on.

Favorite Quote:“You fuck this up and i’ll pop all your collars for sure.” - Hasagawa

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever May 30, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : Animation, DVD/Video/T.V., Comic Book , add a comment

If you are any sort of Turtles fan then you gotta see this. I got into the original show “Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles” back in the late 80s after watching it at a Cousins house. Of course it became a massive hit and was the next big thing after “The Real Ghostbusters” for me. Trying to get all the Hero (Ninja) Turtles action figures for christmas was difficult as it was that years big toy seller. Who doesn’t remember people going around shouting Cowabunga! This was the age of dumb teenage slang and we were getting a healthy feed of it from this and the likes of ‘Bill & Ted’, ‘Waynes World’ etc. Hero Turtles introduced young kids to skateboards, pizza and Ninjas with the educational side of the show teaching us about great Italian painters. Their names at least…. As usual some parents groups complained the show was too violent and a bad influence on kids. I didn’t think so even though I did get in serious trouble for giving a karate kick to someones eye.

I started to eat more pizzas although I wasn’t big on Pizzas at the time. My Aunt used to always make a massive Pizza for me which was almost half a meter long. I always appreciated that but there was always still some of it left over in the freezer by the time she made the next one and you know what, she’d still do it today if I were closer to Home.
I was thinking today how the show had an influence on me even now. I was not wholly conscious till now that I actually possess most of the weapons the turtles had, all except for Raphael’s sais.

The animation itself was based on a comic book series and the popularity of the animation spawned three live action movies, a CGI movie and numerous other animated and live action series from America and Japan.
‘Turtles Forever’ is quite fun to watch as it brings together the universe of the original animated Turtles with the newer darker animated series of recent years showing the contrasts between both. It is big on adventure and fun but does take the micky out of the earlier animated series, there is a fantastic homage to the original comics and nods to every single interpretation of the franchise to date.

If you have or had any interest in Turtles throughout your life this would be worth seeing at least once.

Favorite Quote: “I cut two on the way down. Donatello takes out a third with his staff.” - Leonardo

Space Battleship Yamato Season 1 December 16, 2010

Posted by oldboy in : Animation, Science Fiction, Anime/ Manga , add a comment

Before Yamato came along animations were usually based on successful Mangas. Space Battleship Yamato was the first animation that was done with nothing to back up the possibility it might be successful. It was simultaneously released as an animation and Manga. Since 1974 it has amassed 85 episodes, 3 Manga Volumes, 7 films and 1 live action movie.

Japan seems to have a great way of overcoming past difficulties, socially and historically. They turn the once negative thing into something more symbolic, powerful, positive and push forward through hardships. Take Godzilla, an allegory of the disastrous effects of Atomic weapons of which Japan is the only victim of. Space Battleship Yamato takes the past destruction of it’s most powerful warship in WWII the Battleship Yamato and uses it as a symbol to fight for the entire Earth. Building a space ship out of a battleship they head off into space to find a radiation purifier to save the earth which has only 1 year till extinction due to the meteor attacks by an unknown Alien enemy Gamilus.

I first saw Yamato on Video under the name Starblazers. I really enjoyed and liked the more mature tone of the animation but I never watched the entire series. It wasn’t until more recent years did I see the series under it’s original title and story. It’s somewhat campy by today’s standards with very 70s style music and stock footage often being reused, the story drags in some parts, but in the later half of the first series it becomes far more serious as their deadline looms and they head into unforeseen danger. Episode 22 is where Yamoto grows out of it’s training pants and when it becomes an adult themed war epic in a spectacular battle against Domel and his fleet, the battle is like a battle on the pacific ocean between fighter planes battleships and aircraft carriers in space. The producers of the show watched the Battle of Britain and other war movies as a reference to visualizing the final combat scenes. Amazing stuff, 3 years before George Lucas’s star Wars did something similar with the run on the Death Star. The black nebula came 10 years before the action scenes of Star Trek II’s mutara nebula battle.There has to be some inspiration from Yamato on these two movies and in turn there must be an inspiration from those franchises onto Yamato in the long run also.

For more science fiction inspired by “Space Battleship Yamato” check out JMS’s Babylon 5 spin off “Crusade”,  after Earth is attacked and a plague is released on the planet the experimental Ship Excalibur is sent out into space to find a cure to the plague with only 5 years before all life on Earth is dead. The hero ship in this series the Excalibur also features a massive beam canon gun on it that drains the ships power every time it’s used.
Star Trek Enterprise Season 3: Earth is attacked by unknown aliens called the Xindi who are testing out a new weapon that will ultimately destroy the Earth in 1 year. The Starfleet Ship Enterprise NX-01 is sent out on a mission to find and stop the Xindi and their weapon before it’s too late. There is an episode near the end of the season called “Azati Prime” which shows the Enterprise getting the snot get kicked out of her much in the same way Yamato was on it’s full on encounter with Gamilus and it’s commander Domel.

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