coraa: (laharl wtf)
FLCL

This... I don't even think I can summarize it. It's so...

I'll try! This is me, trying to summarize FLCL:

Naota lives a normal life in a normal town before Haruko Haruhara shows up. (No, that's not true. Naota's eleven or twelve and is perpetually hit on by Mamimi, the high-school-age girlfriend his brother left behind when he—the brother—left for the United States to play baseball, which isn't exactly normal. And his town is dominated by the giant, smoke-spewing, iron-shaped Medical Mechanica factory. But we'll go with 'normal' for now, at least comparatively.) Then Haruko shows up on her motorbike thingy and whacks him in the head with a guitar, either to cause robots to pop out of his head or to prevent robots from popping out of his head, it isn't clear. Haruko may also be an alien; at least, that's what she claims she is. The first robot that pops out of Naota's head may also be a god; at least, that's what Mamimi believes. There's also Naota's father, who is crazy and possibly dead, and Commander Amarao, whose eyebrows are made of seaweed, and... you know, fuck it, this series is impossible to summarize.

If it wasn't clear from the summary, this is a deeply surreal anime. It's sort of reminiscent of the kind of art film where 'making sense' isn't a first priority or even a second or third priority. [livejournal.com profile] jmpava called it "what happens when Gainax lets go of any constraints or attempts at narrative cohesion," and if you're familiar with the TVTrope for the Gainax Ending, you'll know what that means.

This is a whole six-episode miniseries of Gainax Ending. It's Gainax Beginning, Gainax Middle, and Gainax Ending.

That doesn't mean it's bad. I was entertained from start to finish! It's interesting and comprehensible from minute to minute; it's just that if you step back and try to take any chunk of it longer than about ten minutes as a coherent narrative, it's not going to work. It's not so much that it falls apart as that it twists around and bites you.

It's absolutely bizarre.

But it's also entertaining, and it's only six half-hour episodes long. I think it's worth spending an afternoon on. As long as you consider it as sort of a hybrid between indie film, drinking game, and The End of Evangelion, that is.

(It's pronounced "Fooly Cooly." There's a vague stab at describing why it's called "FLCL" early in the anime, but like most such things in this series, the rationale is trodden on by elephants and then forgotten about.)

(Countdown to someone showing up to tell me that the series made perfect sense to them in five, four, three....)

EDIT: As is often the case, the TVTropes page for FLCL says what I wanted to say, but better. Although it is TVTropes, so don't go in without spelunking gear.

Baccano!

Jun. 8th, 2010 12:59 am
coraa: (epic yayz)
Baccano!

During the Prohibition in Chicago and New York, a motley collection of eccentric characters cross paths. Some are immortals; some are would-be immortals seeking the Universal Panacea. Some are mafioso. One is a woman bomb freak with a missing eye; one is a rumrunner with a serious anxiety disorder and a strong sense of personal honor. One is a crazy sadist. One is a hardcore solipsist. One is a homunculus with a heart of gold. One is mute woman assassin with a heart of steel. One is a deeply broken child. One is a demon. And two are the purest trickster figures I've seen in modern fiction, and so delightful I smile whenever they cross the stage.

Their paths cross on the Flying Pussyfoot, a railway train barreling between Chicago and New York. And you'd best not upset the conductor too much....

Baccano! is absolutely, positively a delight. If you're not an anime fan, this would not be a bad place to start: the main series is thirteen half-hour episodes (there are three more episodes that serve as a kind of coda, but the main plot is done in the first thirteen), that tell a tightly-woven and very well-designed story. That means that you can finish it in a handful of days, a week at most, if you want. And at risk of annoying the subtitle purists, I can say that the dub is phenomenally well done, so if you object to reading subtitles this could still work very well for you. (If you are an anime fan, I would recommend it without reservation.)

The story weaves between the backstory of 1930, the Flying Pussyfoot plot of 1931, and the aftermath of 1932. The many plot threads weave in and out and under and over one another, braiding and winding together and tightening all the time, until at Episode 13 all the plot threads knot together in a truly satisfying ending. It's written more like a short story than a novel, and more like a novel than an American TV series: it knows when it's meant to end, and few words or scenes are extraneous to that. (Which isn't to say that there aren't scenes that contribute mostly to character development. There are. But 'character' and 'plot' aren't separate things in Baccano!: character contributes to plot, and plot to character. Nothing is wasted.)

The writing is laugh-out-loud funny in places, and tensely dramatic in places. Like J. Michael Straczynski's writing in Babylon 5, the funny and tense alternate to the benefit of each. And the story is heavily character-based, which suits me right down to the ground, as I read for character first and setting second (the Prohibition setting is rich and well-developed). Furthermore, there are a wide variety of female characters (the warm-hearted bomb freak, the cold-hearted assassin, the serious assistant, the cheerful trickster, the passive masochist, the mother, the daughter, the sister, the hero), who fill such a variety of roles that it doesn't feel that any are being pigeonholed—and all of whom keep their clothes on.

(It also has a pair who are pure tricksters. And I love them because they're not too-cool-for-school, Loki-in-leather-pants tricksters: they're random elements who look like absolute nutbar idiots most of the time, and yet who set in motion most of the major plot threads. And they have good hearts, and yet having good hearts doesn't prevent them from causing incredible inconvenience to everyone around them....)

I love this series. Did I mention that? While I wait for new Naruto discs to arrive, I may very well rewatch it—and I just finished watching it for the first time on Saturday.

Anyway. I've gushed enough. If any of you are familiar with Baccano! and interested in more spoilery discussion, let me know.

I should note that the series does have some bloody/gory bits. I am a squeamish person, and there were parts I had to look away from. But the show doesn't surprise you: you can generally tell when you need to look away, and when you can look back. There are no icky-out-of-nowhere scenes, nor any pop-up-and-scare-you bits.

EDIT: [livejournal.com profile] mswyrr found that it's available on Hulu, here. So you don't even need to buy or rent it, if you're interested.
coraa: (jenova your mom)
This is one of the things you can blame [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija for, since she showed me the first dozen or so episodes at horse camp.

X (which was apparently released in the US as X/1999, or maybe just the manga was) is a CLAMP production that, like many CLAMP productions, has a lot to do with destiny, beautiful people, angst, flashbacks, semi-digested chunks of mythology, angst, suggestive situations, big fancy swords, dramatic revelations, stirring speeches, beautiful people, sakura blossoms, and angst. This does not mean it's bad! In fact, like so many things that skirt the edge of the Id Vortex, it works very well and sucks the attention in pretty hardcore! I enjoyed the first half very much and am considering Netflixing and mainlining the second half before I jump into the next plot arc of Naruto. So, as is so often the case, I mock because I love.

Also I should warn you that I have taken a lot of NyQuil in the past few days. So. This may show the effects of someone who's just the tiniest bit stoned on cold medicine. ;) Also, it's really long, because the first thing to go is my conciseness.

It begins with the end of the world. Well, no; with a prophecy of the end of the world: the Seven Dragons of Earth are going to try to end the world, while the Seven Dragons of Heaven are going to try to save it, and one boy! is the key! to the destiny! of the world! Unfortunately, that boy is Kamui, whose main hobbies seem to be sulking, folding his arms, getting in fights in which he pwns (at least that one's relevant to the destiny! of the world!), and standing on the tops of tall things. Oh, and telling his friends to go away and leave him alone. I think it's one of the major signs of a Person with a Destiny: dead or missing family, traumatic backstory, mysterious powers, awesome weaponry, scar or birthmark (optional), and antisocial personality.

Behind the cut, I spoil everything up through episode 14, aka The One With X-Treme Psychotherapy. Please don't spoil me beyond that!

Kamui returns to Tokyo, apparently to reclaim the destined Sword of Awesome but also with the very important goal of snubbing his childhood friends. )

I love a good id vortex series.
coraa: (faaaaabulous)
I think the reason I want my friends to watch FMA is so that they will get my jokes.

Well, and so I can gossip about the characters with someone. (Gossiping about the characters is probably my #1 way of being fannish about something. You should've heard me dissecting the Ivanova and Marcus interactions with friends back in, what, 1998? And pretty much the entire reason I watched so much of Friends was because eventually the characters were like people I knew and my roommate and I could, well, gossip.)

I need someone other than [livejournal.com profile] jmpava to subject to this.

[livejournal.com profile] donaithnen, I'm lookin' at you. Before AX, you and me, 27 hours of anime, kthx? *evil grin*
coraa: (forward momentum)
1. Some of you may remember that I won a registration prize for pre-registering for Anime Expo early.

Well, it arrived today, and guess what it is?

The Naruto Collectible Card game!

*cough*

Since I don't watch Naruto... or play collectible card games for series I do watch (though occasionally I will collect the cards for teh pretty), if any of you would like this, I would be happy to send it to you. I haven't opened the sealed box, but it looks like it's probably one of those starter-deck deals with a bunch of cards and stuff that you need to start playing. Also, it advertises that it has Ninja Art! Who doesn't love that?

(Note: I am actually quite charmed by the idea of a pre-registration gift, so this is in no way mocking AX. And I got an adorable green lizard keychain that I am keeping, so!)

If none of you want it, I will widen my circle of offering to people I know in fandom, and then if none of them want it, I'll... I dunno! Make ironic pop art out of it, or something.

2. My Pioneer Organics box for this two-week period showed up. It has purple cauliflower. Purple! It's very pretty although I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it. But still. Purple! (It might look quite nice steamed and with a white cheese sauce, now I think of it....)

3. The box also contained my order of strawberry-flavored kefir. I put it on the order out of curiosity, and I have to say it's not bad. It's quite like yogurt, unsurprisingly, except more liquidy (as befits a beverage), and quite a bit more tangy. Like, way more tangy, with a faint undertone that reminds me of very good, very sharp cheddar cheese. It wouldn't appeal to people who prefer their yogurt to not taste too yougurty, but I like it a lot. It's supposed to be good for you, but I dunno if it's actually any better for you than, say, yogurt. But still!

(As a side note: [livejournal.com profile] triath asked me some time ago why I chose Pioneer Organics of all the CSA/organic food delivery-type options in the Northwest. The answer is twofold. One: Pioneer offered a lot of types of vegetables I want to eat, and a good variety. I didn't want to go with a purely-local-CSA project, because, to be frank, I want something other than apples, onions and potatoes between November and April. I also liked that I can exclude things I don't want, add recurring orders for things like garlic and ginger that I'm going to want every order, and throw on things like free-range beef and, well, kefir, if I feel like it. But more important was Two: you can sign up online, manage your account online, have people deliver it to your door, and never have to go anywhere or interact with anyone to do it. If I have to print out an order form, go to a pickup location, or talk to someone on the phone to manage my account, I just won't. So Pioneer handling everything online was a big bonus. At any rate, I've been happy with the cost and service, and very happy with the quality of the produce, after three deliveries.)

4. I am, uh. Working on three stories right now. "The Coppersmith's Salamander," "Feather in the Gears," and "The Bear Who Wards Against Drunkenness." There's also a piece that begins "Elves love freeways," but I can't get anything of that beyond the first sentence....

5. Tonight, [livejournal.com profile] 2gouda4u, [livejournal.com profile] thegreatgonz and [livejournal.com profile] marvinalone come over to watch more FMA. If memory serves me (I love saying that, it makes me feel like the Chairman), the next few episodes are Scar-heavy episodes. Wheeee. Tormented Scar is Tormented. And talks to his arm. I love that shit.
coraa: (hawkeye)
Because this is a totally productive thing to be doing at the beginning of NaNo month.... ...but I frequently write better with some background noise, so at least a few of these could be simultaneous.

Anime I Want To Watch

  • The rest of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
  • Angelic Layer, which looks both adorable and like something that wouldn't require that much mental energy.
  • Escaflowne, which technically I've started but I may need to rewatch the first couple.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena, for the brilliant subverted-fairytale motif and the gorgeous genderfuckery.
  • Death Note, or at least unless I figure out whether I like Light well enough/find Light amusing enough to want to follow allong with his sociopathy. I expect it will also depend on how I feel about L. (Funniest thing in AMV Hell 4? The AMV clip of L singing "I Can Tell That You Shop At Hot Topic" at Misa. Ahahaha.)
  • The End of Evangelion, since I've seen the whole series and might as well.
  • The rest of Fruits Basket. (I've read most of the manga -- not quite everything released in the US, but nearly -- but seen just the first handful of episodes. Tohru is so charming, I love Shigure, and Uotani and Hanajima are the best high school friends evar.)
  • The last Miyazaki I haven't seen: My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service.
  • Ouran High School Host Club


Non-Anime I Want To Watch
  • The X-Files, or at least until it begins to come apart at the seams late in the series. I really liked what I saw of the first few seasons, back in the day.
  • Good Eats, always and forever


Anime I Want To Rewatch

  • Azumanga Daioh (see above re: perfect thing to watch when working on Nanovel)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist, with [livejournal.com profile] 2gouda4u and [livejournal.com profile] thegreatgonz. I need more Hawkeye in my life. (Also, if I'm gonna do that FMA AMV....)


Non-Anime I Want To Rewatch, all of which would probably also be good for NaNo, since a) I've seen them and won't get confused if I'm busy during an important plot point (also, I know when to look up for good bits), and b) I dont have to worry about trying to read subtitles.
  • Red Dwarf
  • Friends (when surrounded by people who won't break out into hives and/or feel obliged to flee)
  • MST3K
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, because Indiana Jones Fights the Nazis never goes amiss.
  • Chicago
  • My selected favorite episodes of Babylon 5, which is to say Ivanova Being Badass, because really.


...Am I missing anything? Any suggestions?

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