Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Prince of Tennis - ReTrO ReVieW

If you were wondering what I've been doing for the last month or so, here's your answer. I rewatched all 178 episodes of POT. For the record, this review is limited to the anime series. It does not include the National Championship OVAs as they are still not completed.

What is it?
Sports-themed anime following the trials and tribulations of a Japanese middle-school tennis club's quest towards qualifing for the National Championship.
What's good about it?
The diversity of characters is the strength of PuriTeni. The opponents are a mixed bag, which adds to the strategic battles that unfold.
What's bad about it?
The filler episodes are hell. There's a lot of recycled animation. The matches are too long. The moves are not realistic. In real life, having a strong backhand is more important that being able to perform the gimmicky moves that are on display.
Final Verdict
It's hard to say exactly what the appeal of Prince of Tennis is. There are a lot of obvious flaws and the good points are hard to put into words. Still, it remains an addictive experience. It must have something going for it to have me watch all 178 of its episodes...Twice!
FYI-If you're curious about the OVAs, I have watched the first part of it (13 episodes) and it is clearly superior to the regular episodes. All the matches last one episode and the action is more fast-paced.

Ef ~ A Tale of Memories - Completed Review

I'm finally getting back into my backlog of overdue anime. My first move was to watch the final episodes of Ef-A Tale of Memories.

What is it?

It's kind of hard to pinpoint a genre. If I had to name it, I would call it a fantasy-drama romance with some philosophical tendencies. The story chronicles two separate stories. One about a young manga writer/high-school student who is caught in a love triangle with a childhood friend with a onii-chan complex and a qwirky delinquant with some deep-seeded issues. The second story revolves around a high-school student who falls for a girl that can't remember anything that happened 12 hours ago, and thus, kind of makes their coming together somewhat of a challenge. It kind of reminded of the premise of the mediocre romantic comedy 50 First Dates starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, except it wasn't funny. Oh wait...they are the same!

What's good about it?

My intro is a little misleading in that the story is not as formulaic as I make it seem. The characters are relatively deep and the plot is pretty engaging. The ending(last third of the series or so), so often a weak-point in anime, is the strength of this title. Despite it being a tad predictable, it was mostly satisfying, which is what's most important. Besides that, animation is great, the shooting is creative and the character designs are pleasant.

What's bad about it?

This anime isn't very original. It's a style very reminiscent of other series, like AIR. The philosophical parts, though short, were boring.

Final Verdict

If you can dismiss the fact that Ef isn't reinventing the wheel, it's viewing experience is generally quite enjoyable. It being somewhat forgettable doesn't mean you should skip over it. It remains a well-produced product that keeps you engaged until the end.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Anime Roundup - New Year's Edition

Hello fellow anime-lovers, I'll take this opportunity to wish you all a happy new year. You may remember I said last year that 2007 would be a forgettable year, and I think it generally was. I further predict that 2008 will be more of a hit-and-miss year and stand by my earlier prediction that 2009 will be the money year. You heard it here first!

Enough with the joking. I honestly don't have much to report, even though I haven't reported in a while. I've pretty much taken a whole month off watching any anime, a few retro series aside. (I'll review those in the next few weeks BTW). I intend to get back in the game soon. The winter anime season has begun. I intend to pick up some series, though I have no idea which at the moment since I haven't researched them at all. The only one I can guarantee is the new season (the fourth?) of Major, the baseball themed franchise. I'll let you know about them as I pick them up.

In fansubbing news, it seems that Dattebayo, the biggest group out there, has restarted subbing their signature series, Bleach and Naruto. The cause of the stop was a protest against their releases being uploaded to sites like YouTube. It'll be interesting to see how big of a problem those streaming sites become for the future of anime fansubbing. In unrelated news, the very enjoyable One Piece filler arc has concluded and the newest arc has begun.

That's it for now, stay tuned! Bye-bee!