Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Because Everything's Better With Pirates!

I never really watched much anime, or Japanimation as it was called back in the day.  I watched G-Force after school but wasn't impressed, and much later watched some Dragonball Z after inquiring what a young co-worker kept blathering on about.  I tried to follow it for a while, but determined that each episode consisted of about five minutes' worth of actual plot progression while the rest was take up by static views of the heroes powering up with much gritting of teeth, sweating and turning blonde.  I was able to mostly make it through Gundam Wing but swore never to do so again, because it took so much concentration; lose focus for a few minutes and the whole story was lost.

I've given anime a second look though, because I've needed something in 22 minute segments with standalone episodes yet an overreaching plot line that comes to a properly planned end.  Luckily, I stumbled into two excellent series, one of them being Samurai Champloo.

I've read that Japanese reserve makes acting difficult, therefore they put all their emotions into animation.  It seems true in this case; young Mugen here shows some complex but common human emotions.  If he's the offender, he has a "Suck it up, that's life" attitude, but if he's the one who has been wronged, only revenge will do.

Um, he's the only one who knew where the pirate treasure is.  I'd want to die too.


  1. Samurai Champloo is an awesome series! I first caught it when it aired on Adult Swim.

    I'm getting in the same boat that you are. I've always enjoyed anime and now with the internet and Neflix/Hulu it is widely available. But I now have a toddler and I need something that I don't have to pay 100% attention to or Adorable Preciousness may burn down the house. (Do I smell something burning?) Thus, subtitles are now out unless she's down for a nap.

    I'm not too sure what service you use to watch anime. Netflix has everything in English, but they got rid of a lot of their content which annoys me. Hulu has a huge selection, but it's all subtitled which causes me toddler related headaches. So I'll point you to The Venture Brothers and Samurai Jack to start out. Both are USA products. Venture Brothers is a great take off of Johnny Quest and other Hanna Barbara properties. For anime there is Fullmetal Alchemist, Trigun, and Ghost in the Shell are some pretty big hitters. Last Exile is nice. XXXHOlic is a series that I really love but not too many people share my enjoyment.

    Not as action oriented, but stuff that I enjoyed watching were Ah! My Goddess, Fruits Basket, (both relationship/dating based) and Ouran High School Host Club. (Don't judge me! Ouran is pretty funny!)

    If you can find it, Shin Chan is hilarious. Pretty much a Japanese Bart Simpson with potty humor.

  2. Adding a few series suggestions:
    Full Metal Panic (military, terrorism, giant robots, school life)
    Shura No Toki (martial arts, history)
    Rideback (motorcycle robots)
    Kaze No Yojimbo (crime thriller, based on the classic film Yojimbo)
    Hajime No Ippo (boxing, long series)
    Initial D (car racing, drifting focus, long series)
    Hikaru No Go (anime about the board game Go, sort of the harder cousin of chess)
    History's strongest disciple Kenichi (martial arts)

    I could go on, but all of the above should be fairly children friendly as well, aside from mild cursing and obviously violence.

    Movie wise, pretty much anything by Studio Ghibli should be good, both for adults and children alike.
    Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Howl's moving Castle, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso, Pom Poko, Princess Mononoke(somewhat bloody), Whisper of the Heart, The Cat Returns, Ponyo and the pre-Ghibli movie Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind all come highly recommended. (Slight caution however on Grave of the Fireflies, as it's an incredibly sad movie, if you don't feel bad while watching it something is wrong with you).

  3. Thanks for the suggestions. There is an amazing amount of anime to sort through, so guidance is always welcome. I've been lucky in my guesswork so far. I picked Mushi at random and thought it was very good, but I've also seen some average stuff like Air Master.

    Mostly I watch Netflix on the laptop, but the Roku box streams some great free channels.

  4. I've been looking at the Roku but it's one of those things that I'm not really sold on. Is there a monthly fee for it?

    Mushi-Shi is a really neat series. My big complaint is that there is a lot of "Fan Service" in anime. Unfortunately that means that there is a bit of stuff that I don't want to watch. Of course, there are programs that push it to the limit and make it fun, such as "Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt." Basically, naughty angels done in chibi style. It's so bad that it's good, plus it's got one of the best soundtracks of any show out there.

    Funimation has pulled a lot of their shows from other sources and have placed them on their own subscription app now. Fortunately a lot of their stuff is still on YouTube.

  5. Once you buy the Roku there's no other fees. Of course Nexflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon etc. still charge their fees.

    I just prefer watching movies on TV at a distance rather than an arms's length away, and the Roku makes it convenient.