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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

Coolest Movie Motorbikes September 1, 2011

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, DVD/Video/T.V., Anime/ Manga , 2 comments

Batpod: The Dark Knight

From “The Dark Knight” this is a massively badass Bike. What makes it even cooler is that it’s part of the Tumbler. It’s the two front tires of the Tumbler as it bursts out. While we all want a bike like this to drive it would be extremely difficult to ride in reality as it’s a new style of Bike riding with those big tires on it. The stuntman that drove the bike in the film stopped riding other Motor bikes so he could stay used to riding this bike during film production. Another cool motif of this is the way the cape from the Bat suit flies over it’s back creating wonderful imagery for the final scenes of the movie.

MotoTerminator: Terminator Salvation

These Terminator Motorbikes were in the most recent Terminator movie and not only do they drive themselves, upright themselves have machine guns on either side but can actually be ridden by humans if caught. Might it be a design flaw for skynet to put handles on this baby? I had a good look at this bike in a Terminator Exhibition in Japan and it looks like it’s cannibalized from other Terminators. You can see what looks like the torso of a Terminator and even clearly see an exoskeleton arm. This might be party because it was original conceived as a T-600 riding or becoming a Motorbike. McG describes these as moving the way skateboards do. His view of Terminators in T4 is the machines using existing technology and adapting it for themselves, such as fighter planes, motorbikes etc. All of them having a rustic, dirty feel to them.

Light Cycles: Tron

Ok, so it’s not really a motorbike, it’s a computer game motor bike, a lightcycle and it was never built in reality and if it spewed off into a wall it would smash up you and your bike into a thousand pieces. Designed by Syd Mead (respect!).

In Tron Legacy we get an updated version of the original.

What’s really great about this is that you can buy it for a nice cool price of $55,000! I don’t even need to think about ‘if’ I want it. I want it.

Akira

Ceramic, double-rotor two-wheel drive, computer-controlled anti-lock brakes, 12,000 rpms. Maybe the coolest motorbike ever. The gran daddy of them all from the iconic anime film Akira. Coveted by Tetsuo but owned by Kaneda. A real life replica was made back in 1988 by a custom Japanese motorcycle shop called WhiteHouse. The replica unfortunately does not work. However there are many bikes around Japan these days that seem to have been partly inspired by this design.

Turbine: Galactica 1980

Flying Motorcycles from Galactica 1980. Technically not a movie but it was edited together and released as one. Forget the show, remember the bikes which were the most memorable part. These bikes not only flew, they could turn invisible and were mounted with lasers. In reality this bike is a modified Yamaha MX 175.

Indian Scout motorcycle: The World’s Fastest Indian

This is the only real motorbike on our list that exists in reality since it’s based on a true story. The bike is ridden in a position not too different from the Batpod where the driver is lying across the body of the bike rather than sitting on it. It’s top speed is over 200 mph. This is a wonderful film by the way and I highly recommend it to anyone

Space Battleship Yamato Live action Movie December 16, 2010

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

I was pretty excited to see this as I enjoyed the series quite a bit. Unfortunately it’s more of a typical Generic Sci-fi movie.
It looks like Yamato, everything is there. Beautiful effects, wave motion Canon, the Yamato lifting off from Earth. Analyser at first only appears as a tricorder type object used by Kodai but surprisingly turns up later in full robot mode and kicks some serious ass. In many ways the movie stays close to the series story and visuals. The voices of Dessler, Analyser and Starsha sound the same as the series. The music captures the spirit of  Hiroshi Miyagawa. The costumes and sets are great (although the bridge could have been bigger).

But it’s lacking spirit. The cast aren’t great. Kimura Takuya who plays Kodai is pretty much acting as himself in the movie. In this movie I feel it’s less about Kodai the Hero and more about Kimura the hero. Too much time is spent talking in this movie. It doesn’t move forward enough and is a bit dragged out at over 2 hours.
Meisa Kuroki plays Yuki who is more like a Starbuck type figure from the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, she is an ace fighter pilot and she likes to act tough and punch people’s lights out. I’m all for 21st Century chicks been more bad ass and less girlish making tea for the crew etc but the character is uninspiring and just seems like a rip on Galactica.

The space battles. Gods damn it, the makers of this movie just didn’t get it right. They are your typical affair nothing inspiring, space battles that are pretty much the norm for sci-fi movies, fast and furious. Nothing dynamic about them. Even the opening looks like it copied the opening of the new Star Trek movie. There is also a scene where Kodai has to save Yuki who is stuck out in space before the enemy reaches them and before Yamato warps which is a copy of the miniseries episode of nBSG which had Kara saving Lee in his Viper before the enemy reached them and Galactica Jumped away. In the original animated series they based the battles on World War II movies and had the attack fighters move like fighter planes. Here it’s just ships buzzing around. Where’s the beauty gone in space battles these days?

Gamilus. Are now a bunch of bug type aliens. In the animated series they looked human which was shocking to the Yamato crew and made it far more complex an enemy for it’s a lot harder to kill an enemy that looks like you rather than bug creatures that jump around. Here there is no tactical battles of miltary minds between Gamilus and the Yamato. It’s just a free for all. And Dessler is as disappointing as galactus was in ” Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer” here he is just a blue humanoid squiggly light.

The Ending is a bit heartbreaking and a tiny bit cheesy in a good way. Unfortunately though it looks like we are only getting one Yamato movie.  After watching this ending I realised it’s a bit like Armageddon. Meteorites attack the earth, a ship leaves earth to stop them.  At the end the hero dies saving the earth and the song ends with a song by Steven Tyler (from Aerosmith) Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Space Battleship Yamato Season 1

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.

Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance July 31, 2009

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

At some points in our life we will watch something that connects with us at that time, that speaks to us most at that moment more than any other time in our life and stays with us.  

As it goes it was said that Evangelion was first conceived as a somewhat normal weekly Mecha TV series until the mid point where it took a drastic turn due to the creator Hideaki Anno suffering from depression. He put this event of his life into the series as things began to fall apart with it’s budget and used the character of Shinji Ikari to represent what he was going through. “I mustn’t run away, I mustn’t run away”.

The series ended over budget, unable to fully depict it’s ending with animation and became more of an analyses of Shinji through flash backs and unfinished animation with Shinji’s eventual redemption of self by claiming he wanted to live in the real world. Most people were unhappy that a series that was building to so much ended on such an uneventful two part episode. No action, no depiction of third impact (except through Shinji’s mind). I personally liked it, I found it quite a powerful piece and very effecting, particularly this piece of dialogue “A person who truly hates himself cannot love others”.

In the Movies I get the sense that Shinji is a stronger character this time around. The Shinji of the TV series was a product of it’s time. This time round it’s Evangelion but different.  As Mentioned, Shinji is stronger. Not only that but he is closer to Rei and Asuka. Asuka is likeable, Gendo seems actually nicer in this movie and almost has dinner with Shinji, Rei too is a more emotional person. I wonder why characters are nicer towards Shinji this time? Could it be related to the previous third impact?

The animation is beautiful and looks amazing on the big screen. We get to see Tokyo 3 (Hakone) a little more active with bustling streets. I don’t know how the heck they can clean up the mess left after battles with Angels each time though.

It appears that Lilith has been moved to a Moon base with another Evangelion, Unit 6 and Kaworu, who sits upon Unit 06’s finger tips in the vacuum of space and says “Hello Father” to Gendo as he flies by in a shuttle. Adam is where Lilith originally was on the cross and wears the mask of an Angel.

There is a new character too called Mari who looks like a female version of Gendo. Sorry for putting that thought out there to those of you who had a thing for her. She’s crazy and an excellent Eva pilot. She even goes berserker in some kind of beast mode in her Eva.
The big events such as the Unit 03 being infected by an Angel are almost the same except for the emotional whammy of Asuka being it’s pilot instead of Toji which was pretty horrifying to watch as Shinji’s Unit 01’s dummy plug kicks in and tears the angel apart, finally crushing the pilot plug of Asuka with it’s teeth. This time Shinji knows who’s inside, however when the dummy plug activates he is completely oblivious to what’s happening.
The final battle with the angel Zeruel is excellent and the epic music (The Final Decision We All Must Take) that was heard in the trailer kicks into gear here. Rei is eaten by the angel but Shinji defeats Zeruel and takes Rei back which starts Third impact. The end.

Kaworu appears after the credits at the end of 2.0 and stops Third impact from happening. He floats down from the sky with the Eva Unit 06, controlling it much like he controlled unit 02 in the series. Does this now mean they know he is an Angel? He tells Shinji that he will make him happy this time. This could mean that movie 3 and 4 are going to be radically different.

There is a brief preview of the next movie which I can’t wait for. We see Asuka back too in Pirate fashion. Usually Japanese Cinema audience is usually silent as it leaves the theatre but the crowd was a buzz with talk after this movie. I too was pretty hyped leaving and couldn’t help smiling. Of all the summer movies I saw this was the best one and the one that actually gave you something to think about, to chew on while leaving the Threatre and the anticipation of the next sequel.

I consider Neon Gensis Evangelion to be one of the greatest Animations ever made. As I see it this is leading to the fourth incarnation of the events of the series ending. These include the original TV series, The End of Evangelion, the Manga and Rebuild. It seems to be rehashing the same popular series each time and I do hope it would go outside the boundaries more, showing events after the end. But I think “Rebuild of Evangelion” is going to radically change what’s going to come. I can’t wait.

Favorite Quote: “This time it will be different, I’ll make you experience paradise” - Kaworu

Blood The Last Vampire (2009) June 5, 2009

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Anime/ Manga, Asian Cinema , 2 comments

Blood: The Last Vampire is based on the popular Japanese animated movie of the same name released in  2001.

It stars Gianna Jun, better known as Jun Ji Hyun of “My Sassy Girl” to the rest of us. She plays Saya, a Half Human Half Vampire who hunts Demons in the quest to bring out Onigen played by Koyuki of “The Last Samurai” fame.

The first half of the story is very close to the animated movie, storywise and visually. Though where the animated movie ended too early, this movie continues on with a deeper plot of Vengeance against Onigen who killed Saya’s Father.

The agency that Saya works for sends her undercover to a School on a US Naval Base. Putting on a Japanese school girl uniform I could say that my Jeon Ji Hyun fantasy was fulfilled and the rest of the movie really didn’t matter. But it gets better as we see her in some furious non stop action scenes where she takes on numerous demons. Some chick named Allison Miller is also in this movie as a pissed off General’s daughter. Saya has to spend a lot of time saving her ass out of pity.

The action is heavy on the CGI, all the blood sputters are CGI and I believe purposely so to give the movie an animated look as it resembles the animation very closely. Jun Ji Hyun is perfect in the role of Saya, so cold and calculated, she doesn’t even crack a smile throughout the movie except in some flashbacks. You’d hardly realise it was the same actress who played the crazy, adorable girl in “My Sassy Girl”.

There’s a lot of unexplained things in this movie which made me think they might be holding back something for a sequel. There’s a double cross half way through the movie but this plot point isn’t revisited and there’s no explaination as to why it happened. Also the Demons Saya fights seem drawn to Allison Miller’s character, trying to kill her every chance they get. Why is never explained, maybe they just needed an excuse to have action scenes with her in them. Her role is nothing else but to ask questions and get answers to what is happening on behalf of us watching.

Since the movie has Koyuki and Jun Ji Hyun, two actresses whom I consider to be among the top 5 most beautiful in the world I was quite happy to see them end up fighting each other. It’s worth the price of the admission alone to see them go at it. Although I’m not too sure as to the actual outcome of the conflict since it seems to take place in a dream world that isn’t real. It’s like the Director  thought the movie suddenly needed to end now and brought forward the final confrontation.

The real problem with the movie is that there’s no humor. It’s far too serious an affair for a movie with a Japanese school girl slaying demons for 90 minutes. There’s also zero chemistry between the main characters and I dare say that the translation from animation to live action was done too perfectly, looking too cartoony and dampening any sense of danger. Visually impressive and who doesn’t like half vampire school girls killing demons with a Samurai sword? Just needed more heart.

Dragonball Evolution March 16, 2009

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Anime/ Manga , 1 comment so far

Over the past Decade Hollywood has been making live action versions of America’s favorite Comic Books. Most of the big Comic book franchises have been done, more will be on the way over the next 5 years with Marvel and DC putting out everything they got with movies featuring all the prominate characters together likely follow. After this the next big thing will likely be Anime and Manga live action movies, considering how popular Anime has become in America it’s only a matter of time.

Anime has been adapted into live action before though, least we forget “Fist of the North Star” which was embarrassingly bad. Or the knock off “Dragonball: The Magic begins” movie released in China. These are poor examples of Anime transferred to live action and shouldn’t really be used in an argument against live action anime features. We’re now into the age of CGI. Even in the simplist of movies they use CGI these days and it has allowed movie makers to present a true interpetation of Comics,  Fantasy and Sc-fi. Before the age of CGI the closest we could come to that was in Anime, but now anime itself is making the leap to live action and it doesn’t have to hold back or comprimise on what can be shown.

In recent years we’ve seen Hong Kong come out with “Inital D” and Japan released “Death Note” this past year. We could even look at the Matrix and see that as a heavily inspired live action Cyberpunk Anime, some of the influences in the film are from The Ghost in the Shell by Mamoru Oshii, The walchoski brothers told Joel Sileverman that they basically wanted to make a live action version of Ghost in the Shell. Even by the time Matrix Revolutions came around it’s hard not to compare the Neo Vs Smith Battle with that of fights in Dragon Ball Z, even the concept art for Revolutions had Neo forming a Ki energy blast not unlike the Kamehameha. Most recently we’ve had the Walcaski brothers “Speed Racer” movie which personaly gace me a headache since my eyes didn’t have time to rest and were all over the screen. That is perhaps an extreme interpetation of the source material and seeing John Goodman in it made me think of it as something akin to the flinstones live action movie. The next live action anime movie up is “Dragon Ball” with “Evolution” tacked onto the end of the live action title.

The live action Dragon Ball Z was first announced as a movie on the fast track back in 2002 with a release date of 2004, at the time a fake poster popped up for the movie also which had a picture of Vegeta’s eye with a scouter on it, however only the logo of the poster was real.

After the announcement nothing seemed to be in the works though except a poll on the offical Funimation DBZ website asking fans what charater they wanted Jet Li and Jackie Chan to play. Frankly I was horrified at the thought of such miscasting. But nothing happened on the project for quite a few years until 2007 when news surfaced that a live action movie Dragon Ball was on the way Directed by James Wong who also directed “The One”. The Producer is Stephen Chow who did the fantastic “Kung Fu Hustle” which is boardering on the crazyness of Dragonball. But Chow has said he is more of a consultent.

 

Piccolo in Dragon Ball: Evolution                      Fake design for Piccolo in a live action DBZ

There was some very cool casting choices of Chow yun Fat as Master Roshi and James Marshters as Piccolo. Marshters is himself a big fan of the series and believes Dragonball to contain the moral fibres of what it is to be a man.

I hoped that a Dragon Ball movie would be more epic. Since parts of it resemble The Superman mythos I’d like to see a movie that reflects something similar to the beginning of Superman the movie. Goku comes to Earth in the first movie and Vegeta and Nappa follow in the next movie.

The quest for the Dragonballs could have been done more like “Lord of the Rings”. The fights could be twice as good as the Smith Vs Neo in The Matrix Revolutions and Reloaded. In fact the Wachowskis could have directed this. Instead we get James Wong.  I remember when I saw “The One” with Jet Li I thought that bits of the action could be what a live action Dragonball looks like. But with Wong his movies never seem big enough and often are lacking scope. In fact I think Dragonball is just too big of a movie for him to handle and do right which is why DBE comes off as looking small, cheap and lacking anything with real heart. The animation had more scope and scale than this. Just compare the Dragon Shenron in the animation compared to him in the movie.  In the animation the dragon encompasses the entire sky. In the movie it merely is in shot with no scale comparison.

Dragonball Evolution does tip the hat to a lot of things. Master Roshi is still a Pervert. Yamcha is still an idiot. Bulma still cares about herself and falls for the idiot Yamcha.It sorta plays like the animation. It’s a bit weird because it’s close and yet far from what Dragonball is. It has things like Goku doing training and Piccolo spawning evil beings but it’s all too short. Goku isn’t as innocent as the animation. He’s a teenager with a crush on his classmate Chi Chi, who is with the School Bully. At this stage who can guess what’s going to happen next? Why do they put the same scenes into these high school movies where the good guy takes the girl from the bully. What. Is. The. Point? The only good thing about it is the fight Goku has where he dodges the Bullies attacks making them hit each other which is dragonballish in nature. There is also a funny moment with Goku staring at Chi Chi and fantasizing about her.

Piccolo, the main Villain is hardly in this. The star power of James Marshters is wasted. What gives? Ok it looks like Piccolo, acts like Piccolo but we see little of him to even feel that he is a threat. In the trailer there are some scenes of a Grey Piccolo in fight scenes and some shots of France getting blown up. But these are nowhere to be found in the movie, in fact Piccolo had been trapped for 200 years previously. How did he escape? They don’t show it. They film makers seemed more interested in showing the body shape of Eriko Tamura.

The final fights scenes are pretty pitiful compared to short flashes we got earlier in the movie. Some impressive stuff with Goku and Master Roshi fighting at super speed like the animation and Goku taking on Mai. But the ultimate final battler? Piccolo throws a few Ki blasts around, Kicks Goku a bit and then Goku does a Kamehameha on him and it’s over. Terrible set piece too, they had done some filming on location in Mexico, they should have found a spot for the fight there too instead of the obvious use of a set. I guess a $100 Million doesn’t go as far as it used to.

The movie is very short. At 88 Minutes I would think it a bad sign. I don’t know if were longer would it help or hurt the film. But obviously somebody thought it wouldn’t hurt the film to cut it down this much. As for the non Dragonball fans. Will they get it? When I watched this I knew how it would start and end the way it was played out. So I would recommend this to Dragonball fans because at least they’d get it and appreciate all those little moments here and there that harken back to the original Manga and Animation and make you smile. However for most it will be a bad experience and a missed opportunity. This will be fully cemented by how awful that twist ending was done. I knew who it was going to be. But it was just so silly.

Other Japanese animation live action films currently in the works are “Akira” which will be 2 films based on the epic Manga. “Voltron”, Toby Maguire, “Cowboy Bebop” starring Keanu Reeves. Less certain is “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, although concept art was released a back in 2003, nothing has been mentioned since.
“The Ghost in the Shell” rights are apparantely locked so no live action of this famous animation will be happening even though Steven Spielberg expressed interest in it.

If Dragon Ball is successful there will be a mad dash to get these projects out the gates and into the cinema. However the chances of Dragonball being a whopping success are unfortunately slim thanks to the mishandling of the material by the studio.

Top Science Fiction Series August 26, 2008

Posted by oldboy in : Science Fiction, Anime/ Manga, Best Ever , 7 comments

Star Trek

…to bodly go where no man has gone before.

Star Trek

80 episodes, 22 animated episodes 6 movies, 4 spin off series.
What makes Star Trek so great is that it deals contemporary issues, even though it’s a science fiction space opera it’s more relevant to the world’s issues than most Television shows are, even watching episodes from the Original series you can still find something that’s relevant to what’s happening in our world today. It has become a mythology in of itself. People not so familiar with Star Trek may find this strange but when you consider Star Trek’s vast history and mythology, even going as far as to create one of the worlds fastest growing languages “Klingon” it’s easy to see why it’s so deeply held in the hearts of so many people.

In as much that the Lord of the Rings and the Arthurian legend is the mythological history of our past, Star Trek could be seen as the mythological history of our future. It’s a modern legend.
The real pull though are the Characters, their humanity and friendship as shown through James T. Kirk, Leonard “Bones” McCoy and Spock, each presenting a different facit of Gene Roddenberry’s ideology through their interactions, presenting each others arguments they debate the philosophical and moral complications of what they are doing out their in space. Often they are in conflict yet are the most loyal of friends. This is the glue that keeps Star Trek together.

A lot of people do not see this as a show about exploring space, they see it as exploring ourselves. Notable episodes do contain a lot of action and swashbuckling adventure but they hold a simple piece of Human nature in them also, that we strive to better ourselves continually.

Favorite Quote:
“In this galaxy, there’s a mathematical probability of three million earth-type planets. And in all of the universe, three million million galaxies like this. And in all of that, and perhaps more, only one of each of us. Don’t destroy the one named Kirk.” - Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy                                                                                 

Battlestar Galactica

The Cylons were created by man, they rebelled, evolved, they look and feel, human, some are programmed to think they are human. There are many copies, and they have a plan.

BSG
1 Miniseries, 2 TV Movies, 75 Episodes, 1 Spin off series.
Like Star Trek this show makes it into my top Sci-Fi list because it also deals with contemporary issues in a very real way and does not shy away from the brutality of our current society. However while Star Trek deals with moral issues from the outside view of an utopian society Galactica deals with it from within the realm of it’s imperfect characters and their interpersonal conflicts. The end result is not always a happy or just ending, characters are usually left tormented by their actions even if they were for the better good.

It’s one of those few rare shows that takes a stance not just on the issues of modern society but also against the standard norm of what television and story telling should be. It totally rebels against the standard camera angles, music, character development, story and constantly tries to pull the rug from under the feet of it’s viewers. To me, this is the only one show that really makes you sit up in your chair dumbfoundedly at the events you watch unfold. Indeed, even this show is on a epic scale. While watching episodes back to back it no longer feels like a Television series but more like a Movie. The production values are so high, it’s incredibly rare for the show to dip in quality as in re-using shots or plot lines that has plagued the most recent Star Trek spin off shows.

In a way you could almost say this is DS9 without the training wheels on. That is no criticism of DS9 but it is a case that when BSG came along to be re imagined it had free reign to do whatever it wanted. A lot of the elements echo parts of DS9, the themes of war, paranoia thanks to the cylons and changelings been able to look human. The arc typial and Epic storytelling. Even a lot of the staff from DS9 such as writers and effects artists are on the show along with the leading man Ron Moore who after  working over a decade with Star Trek had matured into a fine writer and producer. In fact the writing on BSG is amazing. Constantly our own logic and view of life is been challenged by the writers of BSG.

But unlike other arc based shows the writing is kept sporadic, stories aren’t planned out years in advance like B5 was, this fluidic style helps keep episodes and ideas fresh and relevant in the series without dragging itself down to committed ideas.
The acting is solid and for a large cast it is amazing that the producers can afford this much talent. But the reward for the actors and everyone involved in production seems to be working on a show as powerful and thought provoking as this.

Favorite quote: My name is Saul Tigh, I am an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Whatever else I am, whatever else it means, that’s the man I want to be. And if I die today, that’s the man I’ll be. - Saul Tigh

                                                                         Cowboy Bebop
See you space Cowboy

CB

26 Episodes, 1 Movie, 4 Manga

Sci-fi, Jazz, Martial arts, Film Noir, John Woo gun play, 70s cops shows, Japanese Drama, Westerns. This show takes inspirations from so many genres, and in every episode you’ll find a Homage or nod to some movie, whether it be a fight scene from a martial arts movie or a sign in the back round that references some science fiction movie or TV show. It’s an amalgamation of everything that we hold iconic in the history of pop culture. The setting is post-modern, the gorgeous backround scenery is based on cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York etc.
Personally, I feel it has all my viewing interests in one show.

In the future Bounty Hunting is legal. The story follows 3 Bounty Hunters: Spike, Jet and Faye, a computer hacker kid called Edward and a Dog named Ein on the spaceship Bebop. The majority of Episodes are stand alone but parts of each character’s past is sprinkled throughout till it catches up with them in the present. The real meat of the series is Spike, his past, how his philosophically views it and his life, considering himself to be a man who is already dead or living in a dream and that death is the waking of that dream.

The series can be deeply symbolic yet also hilariously funny at times. Overall this is an outstandingly beautiful and heartfelt series that will stick with you long after you’ve watched it.

Favorite Quote:
“Whatever happens, happens.” - Spike

                                                                                 Legend of the Galactic Heroes

銀河英雄伝説, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu

“In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same”

LOGH

10 Novels, 8 side story Novels, 11 Manga Volumes, 110 episodes, 3 Movies, 52 side episodes.

This Epic Animation is based on a series of Novels written by Yoshiki Tanaka. It is Divided into 4 Seasons. It was originally released as an OVA “Original Video Animation” which was not broadcast but released directly to Video. The Story is about the War between the Free Planets Alliance and the Galactic Empire and is told mostly from the perspectives of it’s two main Characters on opposing sides, Yang Wen-Li of the democratic Free Planets Alliances and Reinhard Von Lohengramm of the autocratic Galactic Empire which is partly based on 19th century Prussia. Unlike other anime and manga LOGH is a rather down to earth series, to quote one of the series characters “this isn’t an animation, if someone dies they don’t come back to life!”. But this is a highly diverse series of plots and drama with a lot of epic Space Battle scenes which are in part based on real sea ship battles. The background music too is almost all composed of classical works.

Predating Babylon 5, Deep Space Nine and Battlestar Galactica, this is a Science fiction series that they aspire to be. It’s a long series though. Prepare to be dedicated. Stick with it and the devotion will pay off big time. It takes numerous episodes to set up the characters and events with such fine detail. Minor Side stories that seem to hold no relevance spin off from the series main story but later come back as major plot turning events. Watching Minor characters grow into highly important ones is engaging stuff and there are a large number of characters in this, but each one plays a role in the events of LOGH. The portrayal of War in the series is often Brutal and graphic to the heights of Speilbergs “Saving Private Ryan”, but yet the characters still hold a sense of nobility during battles and pride in their respective values and views of society. Other noteworthy themes are the differing forms of government on both sides and that while there may be a better system of Government it can largely depend on the people in power at that time for it’s success or failure. Interwoven between the two are the actions of a Terrorist Earth Cult that leave their mark on both enemies. Yet both sides are determined to not let Terrorism change the course of their History.

What is highly unfortunate is that this series has not been officially dubbed or subbed in English, nor have any of the Novels or Manga been translated into English. The only way of finding this is to search for bootlegs or fan subs that are across the Internet. I have no doubt this is a series that would sell if released in English. Although there is a large number of episodes in the series to tackle is it any different to the likes of Translating all of the Dragon Ball episodes, movies and Mangas.

Favorite Quote: “There are few wars between good and evil; most are between one good and another good.” - Yang Wen-Li

                                                                            Star Trek Deep Space Nine

It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions.

DS9

176 Episodes

A Star Trek show that tried to avoid the norm of a space fairing series. Perhaps the most original Star Trek series since the original 1966 series. Where as TOS was a Wagon Train to the stars Deep Space Nine was the western town that drifters and alike dropped into. I personally consider this the best Star Trek series since the original.

DS9 contains far more story arcs then any of the other series which made for far more interesting characters who had to still deal with events from a previous episode rather than wiping the slate clean. Particularly for Commander Sisko, a firm starfleet commander with no beliefs in the beginning but as the series progresses his battles against the view that he is a spiritual leader becomes less and less and he starts to embrace the title of Emissary given to him, ironically he begins to fight against his Duty as an officer of Starfleet and what is expected of him as a Captain against that of been the Emissary.

The themes of War become heavily prevalent later on in the series and is not shyed away from by the producers and writers. Although this may seem to go against the idea of the utopian society created by Gene Rodenberry I think it is a necessary move forward in Star Trek. Each series had so far been about exploration. DS9 was something different. It was a Space Station based show with a far wider variety of characters who did not all think like Starfleet officers, it gave us a broader view of the Star Trek universe and showed us that while Earth may be perfect it didn’t mean that all was right with the galaxy and at times it seemed that starfleet’s righteousness got in the way of dealing with bigger issues. War in this series was necessary to preserve the peace and haven of the Federation and the ideals that were first mentioned way back in the original series.

Unfortunately DS9 never seemed to get the due attention it deserved. Being squeezed in between the end of “The Next Generation” and the beginning of “Voyager” it never got to stand as the lead Star Trek series. The finale of the series ends on a note that tells us we will never see this station or it’s characters again on screen. However, the continuing story of these wonderful characters is told in a continuing series of books which relaunched DS9 past it’s seventh season.

Favorite Quote:
“The trouble is Earth .On Earth, there is no poverty, no crime, no war. You look out the window of Starfleet Headquarters and you see Paradise. Well, it’s easy to be a saint in Paradise, but the Maquis do not live in Paradise. Out there in the demilitarized zone, all the problems haven’t been solved yet. Out there, there are no saints — just people. Angry, scared, determined people who are going to do whatever it takes to survive, whether it meets with Federation approval or not.” - Commander Sisko

                                                                             Babylon 5

Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. This is its story….

B5

110 Episodes, 6 TV Movies, 1 Spin off series, 1 Spin off TV Movie

Set on a Space station consisting of different alien cultures. A five year arc that was rumored to be planned out from the very beginning however the final product changed somewhat over it’s course and seemingly for the better which makes this rich series highly satisfying for those who stuck with it for all five years. J. Michael Straczynski had an idea of where he wanted to go and drive a 5 year outline for the series with a definite ending and fate for it’s characters. Although it does take a while to get going, such as it is with any story that has been planned out for 5 years, you have to first put all the puzzle pieces into place before you can appreciate the full picture.

There are numerous story arcs, the two main ones been The coming  Shadow War and the Civil War against Earth. Inbetwen that each Character has his own story arc to deal with which adds to the complexity of the series.  Although there are quite a few cheesy moments, usually the characters trying to be funny or just plain egotistical and it never comes off well.

Some of the large arc stories of this series are continued in Canon Novels, in particular the story of Londo which I would have loved to have seen completed onscreen. Many have compared B5 to Lord of the Rings noticing many similarities between the two which seems partly intentional by JMS.
There have been Spin offs which never got the chance to reach there potential and JMS has also noted that he will no longer continue doing B5 unless it moved to the Big Screen, referring to his “Memory of the Shadows” movie. Obviously there are many stories about B5 and it’s characters left to tell but we may never see them due to the fact that Babylon 5 just isn’t that popular outside the Sci-Fi fan base.

Favorite Quote: “The war we fight is not against powers and principalities – it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. “ - G’Kar

                                                                            Doctor Who

He never raised his voice, that was the worst thing. The fury of the Time Lord. And then we discovered why, why this Doctor who had fought with gods and demons why he had run away from us and hidden. He was being kind.

DW

751 Episodes, 2 Movies, 2 spin off series, 1 spin off pilot

One of those Science Fiction shows that is absolutely fun, that you don’t criticise heavily nor ever take totally seriously yet you can be moved by it and take serious points and moments from it’s characters.
In todays TV drama and Entertainment what kind of shows would deal with the morality and consciousness of wiping out the existence of an entire race even? the Doctor has faced this decision on more then one occasion and has had to question which is the greater evil, allowing his most deadly enemy (The Daleks) to live or wiping out it’s entire civilisation? He questions himself “Do I have the right?”. How many TV shows aimed at young and old audiences can be as thought provoking as that?

The longest running Sci-Fi show in the world. Doctor Who first started in 1963 and ran until 1989 when it was cancelled, it came back briefly for a TV movie in 1996 but it  exploded back onto TV in 2005 with it’s newest series Produced by Russell T Davis. The success of Doctor Who today is credit to the 9th and 10th Doctors, the fantastic Christopher Eccelstone and Brilliant David Tennant who have captured the hearts of young and old.

Favorite Quote : It’s like when you’re a kid, the first time they tell you that the world’s turning and you just can’t quite believe it because everything looks like it’s standing still. I can feel it, the turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour and the entire planet is hurtling around the Sun at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour, and I can feel it. We’re falling through space, you and me. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little world, and if we let go….That’s who I am. - The Doctor

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