Archive for November, 2007

INSTANT REVIEW: Comic Afternoon 2007/12

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Plus it has Nazo no Kanojo X and Vinland Saga, and I can whack cockroaches with it. At $8 it’s a great deal.

But I have no idea how you could keep up with these things. It may only come out once a month, but at 1000 pages I’d never finish reading these before there was another one.

Ghost Hound: I already saw it, maybe

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

So this fancy-sounding anime called Ghost Hound came out. We’re all about the fancy-sounding anime up in here, especially when their websites advertise all the staff they’ve got who worked on our most favoritest shows serial experiments lain and Kino’s Journey, so I thought I’d better go watch it and see if I should go complain about it or not. It looks like I’m going to!

The first episode doesn’t have much to talk about; the young male lead Tarou has a terrible dream about his dead older sister, goes to school, falls asleep in class, and goes home to sit in his room, with occasional weird scenes inserted in between. The really surprising thing is that the episode progression is practically identical to the first episode of Lain:

title.jpg lain-title.jpg
tv.jpg lain-tv.jpg
gradient.jpg lain-gradient.jpg
ghosts.jpg lain-ghosts.jpg
desk1.jpg lain-desk1.jpg
teardrop.jpg lain-teardrop.jpg
ghost.jpg lain-ghost.jpg

Luckily, it gets better after that. Episode 2 is mostly about the school psychologist interviewing Tarou about his recurring dreams through E.M.D.R. (invoking the MYSTERIOUS ACCIDENT X YEARS AGO cliche), along with Nakajima, the mysterious transfer student character, explaining tons of backstory. I can’t summarize it, since it was kind of just a little beyond me and my JLPT4 test voucher, but you can find it at one of the many fine obsessive summary blogs on this here Internet.

Episode 3 is actually good; the first scene — Ōgami, the cool guy who’s really angry character, records himself playing the guitar (so he can get more YouTube hits, I guess) and it plays over an unexplained religious ritual with an old woman chanting — was neat although fairly meaningless. We get more plot explanation and they all go off to demonstrate Phobia Exposure by taking Tarou to the old hospital his sister died in. (summary)

The preview for episode 4 relieved a bit more of my fears of a bad Lain ripoff, showing that the gradient-eyes shots in ep. 1 were actually super-terrifying baby things. It’s not enough for me to get over ANN’s plot summary — ghosts, from an “unseen world”, unexpectedly breaking into ours? — but at least it might be through traditional horror elements and not through new revisions of the Internet Protocol.

Anyway, the biggest problem with it is that it didn’t get enough staff from those other shows. Here’s some bad screenshots of the main characters:

blob.jpg lains-hair-is-so-moe.jpg

and their teachers:

transvestite.jpg lain-teacher.jpg

Lain’s asymmetrical braid is a great and completely recognizable character design feature. Tarou is a generic and completely undifferentiated blob. And his teacher is a man wearing lipstick.

Lain and Kino both had plenty of good artists (ABe, Kuroboshi Kouhaku, this guy, etc.) doing character design. Ghost Hound, instead, just has the animation director doing it. I remember her from Hell Girl; Ai and the Scatman looked good in that show, but the incidental character art was universally terrible and I had to stop watching almost immediately. The gigantic eyes she draws looked good on Ai, but pretty much nobody else. Since characters are the only appeal for anime, I have no idea why they’d keep her on it.

Anyway, maybe this will be good sometime, but not yet. Stick to Kaiji.

wait maybe they’ll bring back scatman for this one