Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Full Metal Panic

Full Metal Panic. A 2002 Anime. Mecha Action, Comedy, Romance.That would summarize Full Metal Panic in a couple of words.

Military dude with a dubious past, and two sidekicks, all with great skills. These characters are sent to protect this typical anime beauty, typical until they get to know her well. The Military dude and anime beauty fall in love, and they live a cute yet neurotic love. The military dude doesn't know how to handle the situation (being a women-less mercenary his entire life), and the neurotic anime beauty doesn't help very much. Suddenly the military dude gets into giant robot action and some time or the other the girl acquires psychic abilities worthy enough to help out the military dude. The military dude is Sagara Sousuke and Chidori Kaname is the psychic girl (actually called The Whispered in the series). They are actually a very nice anime couple which I was glad to watch in action. Other important characters are the tough Melissa Mao, the feeble Captain Tessa, and "Kurz" the sniper.

I would say that this anime is built with two pieces: action and comedy.

The action parts of this anime sometimes take up many episodes in a row, which are pretty enjoyable to watch. It's a matter of taste though, I like when series use multi-episodic sagas for proper buildup.

The comedic parts have many fun jokes but sometimes drag a bit too long or make no sense. They are fun most of the time, and the boring ones at least have a bit of character development (in a romantic sense) so most of the time they aren't such a waste. Expect the character development to be slow, this series has 2 sequels up to now (Fumoffu- comedy based, and The Second Raid which continues the storyline) and they won't throw the entire material in their first saga; but they do use enough of it to be interested in the characters' story and such.

Even though both parts seem enjoyable (action and comedy), there is a big problem with such a diverse anime. When there is a 6-episode epic death-defying action saga followed by a dose of school comedy, some things are bound to go wrong. The simple solution is enjoying the randomness. People who do not enjoy it will inevitably dislike this anime in some episodes. I liked to think that the romance between Kaname and Sousuke glued up both of the parts greatly (but not perfectly), and the comedy stopped the anime from becoming too gloomy (Sousuke's past gets really heavy at times).

It also uses a conventional mecha setting. Some of the plot elements are a bit forced, too. You see, a weapon based on "imagination" sounds too powerful for me to conceive:P. The Black Technology concept is somewhat sudden, too. But as long as giant robots don't exist in real life, most people can take these premises for granted :P. Also, there is a character who is somewhat invincible in this series, and it's a bit disturbing.

I've spent a while saying mostly negative things about Full Metal Panic, now for the good part. The truth is it is one of the most enjoyable anime I've seen. Despite several deficiencies I have already described, it maintains the suspense and can generate a lot of different emotions in the viewer. Laughter comes in as an occasional treat. Romance is there for anyone who likes it, and it's not too consuming for anyone who dislikes it. Action is there in case you are not up for a school comedy anime, the action is heavily loaded with drama as well. Drama is unloaded with laughter, and the cycle is complete.

The animation is acceptable and the music is not really worth paying attention to. The opening and ending themes are not bad, even though they are just some jpop songs that will eventually stick into your mind due to repetition :P. I did like the ending theme at first, Never Dying Flower is not a bad title for a sweet song ;). As I said, music is not very important for this series (like for example Cowboy Bebop). The thick part of this series is in the plot and the dialogs.

I can not see Full Metal Panic from an angle where viewers could not be satisfied in some sense. The only real problem here is the balance between its elements. Depending on your personality, you will either like them, or have some trouble with them. In the end, there is something for everyone to enjoy. If I wasn't clear enough in this review: Full Metal Panic is amazing; entertaining, dramatic, but not perfect.

Favorite episodes: 1 (I rarely like first episodes, this one is pretty good) and 24.
Overall: 9.5
Closing comments: A lot of enjoyable themes. Trying to cover a lot of themes sometimes leads to loose ends.

Couple of Full Metal Panic images follow:

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Midsummer's Past-Midnight Layout

Well it's that time of the year again... very hot (for the North Hemisphere (just not too North)), or very cold depending on where you live (cough South Hemisphere). Well anyway, with the change of season... (again, in some parts of the world only) comes a change of layout. New FLCL images crown the header part of my blog, although I'm not sure the Mamimi part will stay. I just couldn't find the image I wanted in hi-res. Also the "address bar icon" will be changed to something better if I can manage to find it.

A bit of a "warm" appearance has been configured too. Also the (for now) unused "header-bars" have been hidden in order to maintain color (colour in some parts of the world, wonder when I got so international...) continuity. Actually, the continuity is easily broken in some of the text's colors, but I like it. The grammar continuity is easily broken in this post, too. Not that I care much, the changes are visual enough ;)

Anyway, enjoy Sooki no Uta's Summer Layout.*

*Crappy name subject to change, oh and Mamimi may change too :p.
**Oh and for anyone actually interested, Midsummer is today, I think.
***And for those who didn't notice, the title is a pun alluding a play by Shakespeare. Ha. Oh and it's good... I think.
****I only saw the movie, I think two of them actually, didn't read it :(

Edit: Also, thanks to this guy, comments can now be viewed from the main page, just have to click the show/hide text.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Couple of funny Star Wars Videos

Well now that I can finally update some more (with misc. stuff), I have a couple of funny star wars videos for you. I can't deny that I like most of the Star Wars stuff ;).

The first is a 3 series video from Robot Chicken. It was a 30-min. Star Wars special which took a long while and a lot of work in order for us to receive the final product.

Robot Chicken Star Wars Special - Video from the official Adult Swim Website. (stream)
It doesn't work for me... probably because I'm not visiting from the U.S.
I would like to find a better version, but you can check it on youtube: Pt. 1 | Pt. 2 | Pt. 3

It has a couple of brilliant moments, several other funny ones, yet most of it is not much of a hit. It's a fun watch if you're bored and like Star Wars though :P. The best moment is the one with Palpatine talking on the phone with Vader. That was already shown on a previous Robot Chicken show, but check it out anyway, it's the best part of the special. Link.

The next video is just hilarious. It is a video with an Obi Wan imitator looking for a ship in a normal car sales agency. It's great, kept me laughing for a long time. Again it's aimed at Star Wars fans but this one has a bit more general jokes, and they are good. No idea where it came from though. Link Here.

I'm sure there are a lot of remarkable Star Wars jokes out there, but I don't really like most of them. These are a couple I liked and wanted to share.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Song of the Week (20/06/2007) Sonata Arctica - Kingdom for a Heart

I've been very busy the last couple of weeks, but I finally got everything under control. A lot of songs have come and gone and I haven't been able to immortalize them here. Well anyway. This song is from a Finnish metal band. Lol, a little side story, one day in my faculty's radio station some girl on the speaker said "this (she was talking about Finntroll actually), like most metal bands is from Finland". Well, we got news for her: that's not true. There is a large number though, and this is an example.

Sonata's style is a little confusing, I wouldn't say it's power metal, but I wouldn't say it's plain metal. I don't even know what plain metal is nowadays. Genre is not an issue anyway(well it is kinda, I prefer my metal without grunts). This song is pretty nice, it seems to deal with the classic "I have a kingdom but it's nothing compared to having your heart" idea, which is a bit of a letdown because I expected deeper lyrics. On the other side, the keyboard riffs are fun to listen and the rhythm will keep you moving throughout most of the song. The ending is a bit sudden though, but it leads very nicely into the next song in the album "Full Moon" which is a great metal ballad. The album that has this song is called Ecliptica. I'm going to see these guys on stage whenever I get the chance ^^

Lyrics from:
Sonata Arctica's Website
Kingdom For A Heart

(Tony Kakko)

What the hell are you standing there for, expecting
me to help you, when I'm down myself
Waiting my savior, my world is flooding over, there's
no room for air, I can't breathe, I would give a kingdom
for one more day

I'd give - a kingdom
For one more day as a king of your world
I'd give a kingdom, for just one more day

What the hell am I waiting here for, expecting you to
come and give away your life
Just for a moment of my time, have a hole where I
should have a heart, I'm made of wood, I'm falling
apart, I would give a kingdom if I only had you

I'd give - a kingdom
For one more day as a kind of your world
I'd give a kingdom, if I had a heart

I'd give it all for a heart
if I was a King I would give away my kingdom
Treasures and crowns wouldn't mean a thing
If I only had a heart, if I only had a heart...

Now I know I will never love you, I'm a man without
a heart, I'm not allowed to feel human feelings
I'm king of the land, I'm a ruler of seas, I'd give it
away in a moment. If I only had one moment

I'd give - a kingdom
For one more day as a king of your world
I'd give a kingdom, if I had a heart

I'd give it all for a heart
if I was a King I would give away my kingdom
Treasures and crowns wouldn't mean a thing
If I only had a heart, if I only had a heart...

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Saturday, June 2, 2007

Song of the Week (02/06/07) Greg Bissonette - Train to Willoughby

To tell you the truth, I have NO IDEA where I got this song from, really. It was like hey, there's a new song in my library...

Well anyway, the song planned for this week was The Lamia by Genesis, but since I have some time I'm going to put a pretty interesting song with a lot of references, and try to get most of them explained. It was pretty fun discovering I knew most of these, and also discovered how much I don't know. Hmm Steve Stevens (from Bozzio Levin and Stevens; if that rings a bell, if not, forget this sentence) plays in this song, somewhat plain old rock with a slice of prog. metal.

Train to Willoughby by Steve Stevens Lyrics (with meanings by Sooki ;))
Farewell to Manzanar -Manzanar was Japanese-American Conc. Camp in USA, during WWII.
Far From the Maddening Crowd - Didn't know this one, there's a movie called Far from the Madding Crowd, guess it's referring to that.
My Good 'Ole, Summertime - This is a hard one too, this is a very common phrase, but there's also a song with this name o_o not sure.
Shipwrecked on Treasure Island - From Stevenson's Treasure Island, I guess.

*C'mon we've got to go - Hmmm, no idea.
It's time to stand alone today... - No idea either, maybe to add some coherence? The song is still very incoherent anyway so, what's the point?

**Madame Butterfly(Singing in the Rain) - didn't know these, Madame Butterfly is an opera and singin' in the rain a classic song.
Catcher in the Rye(Pinky and the Brain) - Catcher in the Rye the greeeeat (in my opinion) book by J.D. Sallinger, and um the Pinky and the Brain cartoon?
See the King and I - The musical a lot of people know of but have never seen, including me.
As we ride the Train to Willoughby - No idea, Willoughby is the name of several places...

Come near me, Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf character. I've always wondered why Woolf has two o's, but no one cares about that. Wasn't sure about this one.
My Glass Menagerie - play by Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie.
Be still my Tell-Tale Heart - Edgar Allan Poe's short story.
When War of the Worlds will start - War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.

* Repeat
** Repeat
** Repeat

As we ride the Train to Willoughby
As we ride the Train to Willoughby

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