Archive for naruto

Naruto 82 & Bleach 192 Impressions

Posted in anime, impressions with tags , , on November 3, 2008 by daeyeth

Quick warning: spoilers for both Bleach and Naruto. So if you haven’t watched these episodes, don’t read this post.

I’m gonna come right out and say it: episode 82 of Shippuuden was beautiful, both in terms of emotion and quality. Man, this is the reason why it seems I’m so harsh on Naruto. It’s because I know they’re capable of much better, it’s because I’ve already seen the good stuff, that I cringe at their budget saving techniques. But oh well, if that’s what they gotta do to dish out these OAV/movie quality episodes, then fine, so be it, because it’s totally worth it.

It’s ironic that the post-mortem episode of the Hokage’s son was far more powerful than the Hokage’s. Perhaps this just shows how mature the series can become (I won’t say has because Shippuuden’s maturity teeteers back-and-forth, especially during the fillers). The beginning of the episode is powerful with excellent direction. You know instantly that they’re trying and that this episode will be a stand-out. We follow Shikamaru’s turmoil as he tries to come to terms with Asuma’s passing and you really get a sense of this series’ ability to completely flesh out character archetypes, turning them into real people. And not just him, but everyone around him as well. When one of the commoners casually spoke of Asuma, not knowing he was gone, and Shikamaru revealed it to her, that was absolutely brilliant and an excellent moment. Things like that flesh out the world and make it seem real.

I’m very very happy that they’ve decided to focus on Shikamaru for the time being as he’s easily among one of the most interesting characters in Naruto. Also, Kakashi’s revelation at the end was awesome. I was like, “Oh yeah!”

So to go from that OAV quality episode to Bleach was, well…let’s just say I was disappointed. Bleach is still on the level of “shonen”, meaning like action hero approach catering to the 10-13 age group, that the original Naruto was, only more campy. The animation was poor, the fight sequence was horrible, the direction was lacking, and using the same high-pitched voice actor for the adult Nel was jarring. The child Nel was really adorable, but I can’t say I have the same connection to this new Nel. We’ll see how she plays out. I really really hope they step up the animation quality for her fight but I’m not holding my breath. It always sucks to see how much cool potential Bleach has yet fail for me for a majority of the time. Bleach has the potential to be Naruto but it never lives up to the same level of quality.

Disappointing.

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Bleach & Naruto Canon Resume – Hooray!

Posted in anime, impressions with tags , , on October 20, 2008 by daeyeth

At long last! The dead space is over! Both Naruto and Bleach have finally finished their irritatingly long filler sagas as represented by the new openings. If there’s one thing I’m glad for about fillers and their imported characters is that you never have to see them again once their saga is over…..with the one exception being Bleach and those 3 ridiculous muppet-thing characters. I can’t believe they’re still moping around, what disgusting blemishes they are.

Anyways, Naruto restarted its canon a while earlier and I’m very happy that things are finally getting serious and ramping up. Plus, it’s finally caught up to where I stopped reading the manga, yay. Onto the story, I was surprised and pleased at the twist at the end of team Shikamaru’s fight vs the two Akatsuki. Naturally no spoilers but let me just say that the best emotionally engaging stories are ones where the characters actually experience lasting and permanent repercussions/consequences. Think about the new Indiana Jones movie and how Indy survived a nuke and you’ll get what I’m talking about. On the negative side however, Naruto still has the stupidest flashbacks in existence. Are you seriously gonna show me a flashback from five minutes ago? It’s sad but that seriously isn’t a joke or an exaggeration. I can’t believe such a good anime will pull off something as low as that…

For Bleach, only 15 minutes of the rebooted canon have begun so I don’t much to say on that note. One thing I will say is that, so far, I’ve been fairly disappointed with the released forms of the Espada. Not so much with Grimmjow specifically, just in general. This is more of a personal preferrence, but for me, the further Bleach gets away from sword fights and into monster battles, the less interesting they are. I mean, even with the Shinigamis bankai. Ichigo’s bankai is incredibly badass because all it is is a black katana.

When you get into the more outlandish bankais like Renji’s dragon thing, I don’t find it cool or interesting in the least, like I’m watching someone fight Godzilla…but that’s a bad analogy because Godzilla is pretty damn cool. Okay, it’s like they all just turn into random tentacle monsters, that’s how I see them. Grimmjow’s final form has the most likeable design for me and yet his special moves were pretty lame. That’s the other thing. Even if the design is alright, how cool can a “monster’s” special attack be? I would of rather seen him bust out some more sick katana moves or finger lasers. Finger lasers are always cool. Again, this is just a personal preference, one that I have for all anime. The more outlandish, monster-ish characters or abilities get, the less interesting I find them.

On a final word, I do have another review & analysis in the works. I just finished Code Geass, both seasons, so I’m working on a full writeup now. This one is gonna be rather long so it’s taking me a while. I’m also watching the 2nd season of Gundam 00 so I may write a retrospective on the first season. Quick thoughts on that, Gundam 00 has the best mech-battle chereography I have ever seen…but I really I hate retconning. That is to say, bringing back a dead character through the form of an identical twin brother? That’s disgustingly lazy writing.

Of Fillers and Concerning Bleach/Naruto

Posted in anime, opinion with tags , , , on June 13, 2008 by daeyeth

I haven’t posted about these two yet and considering they’re currently among the most popular, well-known anime currently airing I thought I should address that. I’m a pretty uppity, high brow anime hobbyist. Quite simply, I don’t watch trash and won’t put up with average. That usually includes 90% of dubs, every run-of-the-mill procedural anime based on some ero-game, a lot of romantic-comedies, low-brow humor, and low-budget animation. I’ve seen enough anime by this time to discern what I like and dislike and know that I can pick and choose what I want to watch. There was a time when anime was so sparse that I could literally watch any anime and like it. Seriously, it didn’t matter what it was as long as it was anime. Ah, those were the days…but that’s a post for another time.

Where am I going with this? Do I hate the ever-so-popular Naruto and Bleach? No. I mean, I’ll be perfectly honest with you, Bleach and Naruto are among my favorites of anime. However, being the 100+ episode adventures they are, they have this disgusting, yet unavoidable habit of constantly using what’s known as “filler”. Fillers are one of the main problems with anime that use these epic adventure formats. Every format has its flaws. In an earlier post, I gave a little jab at procedural anime even while my examples were top-notch, first class of their kind. To be clear, I adored Mushishi, Monster was absolutely brilliant, and Wolf’s Rain was awesome. My jab wasn’t at them but rather at their nameless, forgettable siblings that always seem take place at a high school and center around average, everyday, “you’d-be-completely-uninteresting-if-it-wasn’t-for-the-heart-of-gold-and- ability-overcome-any-obstacle” joe.

I said that procedural anime live-or-die by their ability to tell compelling, self-contained short stories in the span of a single episode. Conversely, epic adventures need to deliver on their climaxes and be able to keep the interest of the viewers over the 30+ episodes it takes to get to those plot pinnacles. Fillers have the complete opposite effect of that. They disturb the momentum and dilute the quality of the series because they’re not even canon storylines (meaning they’re not true to the source material or have any effect on the main story). I’ve said this before, but fillers are animated fanfiction. Imagine if, in the middle of one of the Matrix movies, Neo went back into the Matrix and had an adventure that was completely unrelated to the main plot. You’d be like, “Wtf is this? He was just about to save Zion!”

It’s a sad truth for the great series they are but Naruto and Bleach are the worst offenders of this filler trash. Unfortunately, because of how the japanese animation industry is structured, they simply can’t avoid using fillers. I’ve come to terms with that and have found my own way to deal with it: I just don’t watch them. That’s right, I completely skip entire episodes, mini-arcs, and even saga-stretching fillers. And I can do this because none of the material is canon so there will be no penalty to me for not having watched the episode. That shows just how useless fillers are. Can you imagine skipping 3-4 episodes of Lost and then jumping back in at the most current episode? You’d have no idea what was going on.

You might be thinking I’m being too harsh on fillers. To be clear, there’s a time and a place for fillers. For instance, procedural anime are perfectly tailored for filler. Filler done right won’t even be noticeable to someone who hasn’t read the manga and I’m fine with that. But epic adventure anime like Bleach and Naruto are the worst type of anime for filler because they stick out like sore, bloody, infected thumbs.

So that’s my reason for not posting about Naruto and Bleach. It’s not that I don’t watch them or not care about them. It’s just that I’m not watching them or don’t care about them at the moment. That’s a trend that looks like is going to be continuing for a while since both Bleach and Naruto have committed to doing entire saga-spanning fillers because they’ve made brand new openings just for these non-canon characters.

Sigh, damn shame…. damn shame it is. Such a love/disgust relationship I have with these series. Oh well.

/rant