Yes, it’s a real term, so take your meds and get over it! After spending anywhere from 12-26 weekly episodes with certain of those recurring characters and stories, after that last episode airs it’s time for a sad “Sayonara” to our little animated friends. The sudden feeling of emptiness and longing just doesn’t vanish with the last screen. I’ve noticed this after finishing quite a few series; realizing that there’s no more water in the well can leave one so very thirsty for just one more glimpse…
But that’s what sequels are for!
So, with the Fall anime season just around the corner, it’s time to bid farewell to all the Spring and Summer series coming to an end. When a new season begins, another one (or two) will end; it’s the divine nature of the scheduling. Springtime’s longer (24-26 episode runs) and Summer’s shorter (11-13 ones) are coming to a close, and Fall is about to begin… and I’ve really no notion of how many (or few) series are going to be worth tracking next season. After the bounty of this awesome Summer season, it’s going to look pretty pitiful in comparison, I fear. Here’s hoping for a few surprises!
The four Spring shows that I was watching that just recently wrapped up were Pandora Hearts, Saki, Shangri-La, and Phantom~Requiem for the Phantom. Here’s a look at each…
Despite its quirky start and atmospheric settings, Pandora Heartskind of led to a jumbled breakdown. It wasn’t exactly confusing, just kind of… all over the place. The character designs didn’t wow me, although several of them were intriguing, such as “the Mad Hatter” Break, the Cheshire Cat, and Alice (both of them). But it’s not exactly the Alice in Wonderland that you might expect! Still, it’s a uniquely bizarre and pretty unusual series considering its concepts, settings and plot twists, so your mileage will definitely vary! And actually, I did like most of the characters. But… a gigantic, ass-kicking… Rabbit??? Oh…dear. A few too many plot holes and unexplained loose ends remained at the end, nonetheless, it was entertaining for the most part.
Saki was enjoyable except for the cartoonishly-large breasts of Nodoka, and the implied yuri (lesbian) relationship between seemingly half of the girls which had nothing to do with the story. But if you enjoy mahjong, this is the show for you! Those minor quibbles won’t affect your appreciation for it at all. And I don’t have anything against yuri per se, but it had better not be gratuitous, and that also goes for gigantic anime boobs! I don’t like being pandered to, or presumed to want to be pandered to. I prefer realism in my fantasy! (CANAAN handled its yuri implications much more realistically and sensitively, both for the characters AND the Viewers’ sake; more on that in Tab Two.) But Saki had a wonderfully diverse cast of likable characters (too many perhaps) and the relationships made sense, in a mahjong kind of way Light ‘n’ fluffy!
Shangri-LaI enjoyed quite a bit. It’s not often that an anime has a couple of transgendered supporting castmembers, and both of these were among the strongest characters in the series. From the start I was intrigued by this series due to the character designs by Range Murata, who also created those for Last Exile. His two little lolis, Karin and Mikuni, were a joy to watch in action; he must’ve lavished a lot of attention on them. (They lead off the Murata artwork in the following ED.) With his trademark attention to detail and beautiful depictions of …well, anything, I looked forward to his work being animated in Shangri-La, with its futuristic eco-sensitivity and interesting apocalyptic plot involving carbon-economics. Thing is, is that intricate character designs oftentimes aren’t as apparent after an animation team gets through with them. Not that this team was bad at all (quite the opposite); it’s just that I feel that Last Exile showcased his work much better. But this show really is better than its reception would indicate; lots of action, character development, and plot twists to keep the Viewer involved until the end. Satisfying! Now check out Murata-san’s amazing talent:
Which brings us to Phantom – Requiem for the Phantom. Aside from Eden of the East, this is the series from Spring that will stay with me the longest, I think. Eden really was quite short, and could have lasted longer. Phantom shows just how much a 2-cour term (2 seasons; ~24-26 half-hour eps) can make of its time span. Eden had a more satisfying story on the whole, but Phantom did more with what it had in terms of plot, action, and direction. Eden may have even been more likable (I’ll want to marathon it to be sure), but Phantom was more heavy, involving, and deep, with many well-developed characters. Not too many funny or humorous moments either; it’s fairly dark and serious. The only quibble I had, and it was a major one, had to do with the sudden aging of a character over two years’ worth of story-time. Sorry, a girl just doesn’t (…)*SPOILER SNIPPED!* …But anyway, I quibble This series oozed atmosphere from Opening Theme to Ending Theme and had me well-hooked throughout (although Ali Project’s music takes some getting used to!). BeeTrain finally refined its Noir and Madlax lessons and produced a sure winner. And the ending… the “ending”… THE ENDING! Wow. You’ll make of it what you will; you’ll just have a long and perilous journey to get there ;-)
Here’s a pair of Opening and Closing themes featuring my favorite songs from Phantom, “Karma” and “Transparent”. Forgive the fairly-horrible animation in the final walking figure in the second; dunno what they were thinking. Yikes! But it’s here for the song
(HINT: You can search YT for the Full versions of these songs ) (Also, parenthetically (see?), here’s alink to a review of the first 13 episodes that, while outdated since they aren’t streaming anymore, you may find interesting and informative nonetheless. I mean, why else would I insert it here, huh??? )
I think I’ll sum up Summer sometime tomorrow (or so); with nine series to cover (to varying degrees) I’ll need to be giving you a well-deserved break! And, as always, thanks for reading
I’ve already written about my personal “Master” (other descriptors fail me), Leonard Cohen, in a post entitled “The Reason I Write” (which has an ass-kicking live video of “Who By Fire” with Sonny Rollins on saxophone) but recent events have conspired to provoke another. On his current tour the legendary Poet became ill and collapsed during a performance of “Bird on the Wire”, as reported here by Rolling Stone magazine. It’s a damn shame that this Man, who has worked so tirelessly over the years cannot pause to take a rest without having to undertake a huge tour in order to recoup losses from an alleged pilfering by a one-time manager of his retirement fund. Some parasites are so shameless…
And so, in gratitude, let’s revisit Leonard’s career, one that has produced an overwhelmingly moving and beautiful body of work that is cemented in the annals of music, and branded with fire into the pages of purest Poetry. His gifts to us are immeasurable. He IS our Man.
First, in the early and olden days from when I first discovered him, a live rendition of his “The Stranger Song” from 1967. Upon buying a collection of his poetry at 14 or 15, his writing inspired me to express myself through such careful words and sublime imagery. His poetry struck me deeper than that of any poet I’ve read since; his religious/spiritual/metaphysical symbology spoke to me in ways undefinable, and intuitively connected his words to my soul despite his Jewish mysticism and my Catholic catechism. I didn’t know what he meant; inside I did; I got it. But don’t ask me to explain. It’s like a dream… the firmer you grasp it the quicker it escapes you. So, just Listen. Calm your mind; be not in a hurry; interpret as you will… and see the Man with Vision, and hear the words the words the words the words; the images don’t matter… and see the tear drop from his eye, it’s clear that he can feel it. And so can you you see, that’s why he’s telling you these things, that we all know we share, and we’re all Strangers…
Leonard has an almost hypnotic speaking voice… enjoy this live performance of “Chelsea Hotel #2″ that includes his humorous and poignant little story that sets up the song, accompanied by video of the actual hotel. Old-timers will certainly recognize who this song is actually written about and for, and if you’re patient and slow down and Listen, he will tell you ;-)
’Round about 1987, he gifted us with what is (probably) my favorite L.C. album, I’m Your Man. So many great songs, but this one spoke to me in many ways, both in fore-and-hindsight. This song could be my Special Theme, my driving force, my message just to you. But Leonard beat me to it, as you’d guess a Master might do. Here’s an alternate semi-live video for First We Take Manhattan:
DAMMIT! Several of his videos have been “disabled by request” BASTARDS!!! I guess TPTB don’t want me sharing these videos with you. WAY TO SPREAD THE MUSIC, YOU @#!$%&*^!!!
Ahem. Well, you really have to see this official video for “Dance Me to the End of Love”; it’s so touching and thought-provoking. I was going to type up a treatise on the song’s subject matter, but without the video it’s useless. So, just view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_PIadFsvDk
Yay, another official and quite-different video for it! Perseverence furthers
That felt good.
I’ll wrap this up with what is most likely my favorite song from him, the luminous and transcendant “Hallelujah”. It has everything that has made his music, and his poetry, so special and ever-lasting for so long. Hallelujah is a song that has kept growing richer by the year, and enhanced by the many artists who pay tribute to him by covering it. In a notable contrast to his original work the song seems to have now taken on a life of its own, as seen in this live video from Glastonbury in 2o08:
Such a Remarkable Man, and still so vital, humble, and eloquent even in spite of time and betrayal pressing down on his shoulders. His is a presence that will not be dimmed. Keep it up, Leonard, and stay with us while we abide here together; thank you for making our lives so much richer. Long may you live :-D
My God… after spending what feels like several lifetimes in the morass of YouTube commentary and several Forums, it’s become an inescapable fact that many people have forgotten how to spell, not to mention use proper English. I suspect that, among other things, they have severely limited their exposure to reading, and so pretty much spell and communicate by sheer guesswork. Or ambivalence. I shudder to imagine them speaking in the way they type! Texting and IMing and such haven’t helped matters either.
Anyway, this isn’t about that. Not directly.
I’ve always loved reading, and started at an early age, thanks to the influence of my parents. My mother, especially, exposed me to the Classics, and even though some were over my head, were enough to get me intrigued, and that led to my first Library Card. Classics Illustrated comic books were another source; after reading one that I liked especially, I’d walk down to the Library and borrow the actual book to read. This was the case with Frankenstein, which I discovered at the age of ten or eleven. The rest is history
The Creature meets its Maker
A couple of weeks ago, during my current and ongoing (and futile) job-search, I went into Barnes & Nobel to get an application. But first I wanted to “case” the place to gauge the working environment, and so strolled the aisles checking out the employees attitudes and the zillions of books. Which turned out to be aggravating as hell, because not being working means not having money to spend on luxuries like books
But then I saw it… the Berni Wrightson-illustrated hardcover (and oversized) edition of Frankenstein! In the late ’70s he did two limited-edition portfolios of black-and-white drawings for the book’s initial pressing, and I’d managed to get one of the folios but never found the other until after it became unaffordable. And the book not only has those illustrations but MANY more! Really, it’s gorgeous. Calculating the cost vs affordability I realized that I definitely couldn’t afford spending the $29.95. Trouble is that I didn’t factor in “desirabilty”, and so (as you might guess) desirability won out in the end. So I bought it. What can I say?
A couple of Ramen-eating weeks later I can still say that I don’t regret it a bit. And this is like… my sixth different version of Frankenstein! But the combination of Wrightson’s painstaking work (he took ten years to produce the illos) with my favorite story made it a no-brainer. And when I sat down with it, at a table, for it was too large to lie in my lap, I discovered that I was again able to read!
Wrightson is a Master
Allow me to explain… upon the serious undertaking of writing my novel Unbound, I found that I was unable to enjoy anything I formerly had. No listening to music, no entertaining guests, no going out to explore the beauties and wonders of nature, and definitely, no reading, aside from publishing/writing-related books. I was on a Mission, and any distraction, and diversion, would be a betrayal to my duty to see it through. And I was essentially gambling my existence upon finishing it. So, I wrote. And only read what I did.
There was the necessity of having to take breaks however; at certain points in the story the emotional demands were so draining that a couple of weeks off were mandatory for not only my physical health (working consistent 10-18 hour days) but mental as well. So whenever I finished a Part (there are ten of them) I did so. I used this time to either study the ever-changing publishing industry, or selected books on the craft, such as Stephen King’s excellent On Writing, which truly was inspiring. But since someone had compared some of my novel’s elements to King’s The Stand, I felt I had to once again dive into the world of fiction, and most importantly, storytelling. Plus, I wanted to ensure that what I was attempting to create was something unlike anything written before.
And so I started it. And put it down after twenty pages. Then restarted it. Again, couldn’t get past page thirty or so. I just didn’t connect with the characters, or the inscrutable plot that seemed to be developing. “This is ridiculous,” I thought in frustration, “Why can’t I get into it? It’s a best-seller!” It was because… I wasn’t honestly and unequivocally giving myself to it. Reading a book is a two-way street; it is a matter of receiving, or being receptive to, what its maker creates and presents to us. A Reader can’t be passive about involving themselves with the story; the Reader must partake, if the creation is worthy enough of their attention. And I knew The Stand was indeed worthy, so I set about it again…
And this time I finished the 1000+ page novel in two-and-a-half days! Needless to say that I was sucked in. Great book, by the way, and I was relieved to see that the only similarities between it and my own book was the assortment of well-developed characters, and the good-versus-evil plot. Whew. Still original!!! I’d list the handful of other art-works that I feared would be intruding on my sense of creating an original and unique story, but naming them would tip you off to the surprises inside, and if I did that I’d have to smite thee. So.
I’ve been very deliberately cagey, clever, and downright-deceitful about revealing anything about the numerous plots and subplots other than Lily and Will’s, even though I know that doing so might very well increase interest. I really would like the Reader to simply be taken along Lily’s road, and accompany her, as Will is, and discover the mysteries and wonders as they’re stumbled across, well without warning. But I expect that the Marketing people won’t go for that, so I’ll wait until “milestones” are reached and then reveal a little more, ever-so-slowly pulling the Veil aside…
The Wedding Night Promise
So, to celebrate the anniversary of this BlogSpace, soon I’ll most likely be putting up Chapter Two in addition to the Chapter One already up. Nothing much is revealed of the main plot(s), just character development between Lily and William. I don’t want your surprise ruined, because as unsuspecting as the Reader will be, these Mysteries in the Real World there will Be, where You are, and you may Believe. But as a Reader, you will have to give yourself to me, and of course, to Lily. Do not worry; she is gentle ;-)
OH AS I WAS SAYING! I discovered that I once again could read! It’s so weird… what with all the financial and unemployment-related distractions, along with such minimal amounts of time to allow for it, for some reason I’ve read more in the past five weeks than the previous five years combined! Rollo May’s The Courage to Create, The Truth About Atlantisby “Anon”, Neil Gaiman’s The Absolute Sandman Volume One (SUPERB), Party of One – The Loner’s Manifestoby Anneli Rufus (an excellent book for those mystified by those who are comfortable in solitude but especially for those slandered by the miscasting label of “loner”), and now… Angels & Demons by Dan Brown.
This last book that I’m currently reading… how can I say, hm… Well, I wanted to investigate it much like I had Frankenstein and The Stand, in that it might contain material that my own might seem derivative of, which is a major fear that I’ve always had during my writing of Unbound. But the elements I just can’t reveal or else (see above). They aren’t the obvious elements, such as you won’t find a maddened doctor constructing a body out of spare parts, for instance. But I just won’t say
So far so good, but I’m getting concerned. Seriously hoping that it’s all rational/scientific/historical/symbolical stuff… and I REALLY doubt that Brown will go off in the directions that my book does. But I’ve gotta rush though it now to make sure LOL
Speaking about rushing… gotta go! But do take the time to read, for God’s sake, and help your friends to read as well. Without our stories we are so much the worse for it. One of the Intents with which I forged my novel was to hopefully instill a love of reading, or rather a re-kindling of that love, in the Reader. I kept that always in mind as I crafted it, page by page; I wrote it to be as accessible to as many persons as possible, of as many capabilities of comprehension. I want you to enjoy it, to embrace it, and most importantly, to Feel It. We all, for the most part, do start out appreciating The Story, but what with all of life’s distractions as we grow older, we allow it to fall by the wayside. Pick it up again, won’t you? You’ll be better off for it
Now that I’m finally (and relatively) settled into my new abode, I thought it prudent to once more get a Query letter out for my novel, Unbound.
You’ve heard of this, yes? If so, yay; if not, here is its very own website, which is also accessible through the link in the Blogroll but that’s all so very complicated, isn’t it? I have no problems in making things easy for you
After searching for awhile I discovered a very good Agency which is fairly full service in that they not only provide access to experienced Literary Agents but also have decent Hollywood connections and accept electronic submissions, both very important in this ever-changing marketplace. It’s so much more preferable to be using the Internet for submitting manuscripts than the old paper-through-the-mail process, and shows that the company embraces change and is able to accomodate it. Since Unbound is entirely in chapter-by-chapter files, it’s pretty much ready to go, depending on their requirements. And assuming they accept it. There is that :-P
And as much as I’d love to see the novel as a movie (and it has been described as “very filmic”) , it would be quite difficult to cram its epic story of 733 pages into a two-hour flick. In fact, “flick” even sounds too short. I think the only director capable of condensing or adjusting this particular story would be Wim Wenders, as he’s tackled some of the story elements before and I feel that he could be trusted to translate this poetic, musical, and transcendental story as much as one or two of his other films which I won’t name in this post because that would be telling.
Yes, I am a tease. Do your homework ;-)
Since I was raised on comic books and cartoons (among many other things) I’ve easily come to appreciate the animated artform, which should come as no surprise to many Readers of this space. And since Unbound is such a lengthy, epic, character-filled, plot-twisting sort of tale, I’ve imagined that with the right director, artists, and animators (not to mention musicians -*cough* TENMON *cough*) that it would make an excellent 26-episode anime, either Japanese (preferred) or American (which would be so neat and such a challenge to get this artform off the ground and running over here). But in its heart, it’s a Novel first and foremost, and needs publication first and foremost. So that’s where we have to go, first.
But my poor Query Letter… it got horribly disfigured! Somehow as a result of my recent move, my Outlook Express has become incapable of Sending (but it still Receives). My Query had been in O.E. form, and so I copy-and-pasted it into my domain’s email client, so as to keep the same unbound.org address.
Well. Seems that that cheap-ass client doesn’t allow italics or font-choice and was completely unacceptable in presenting to an Agent a professional-looking Query Letter
Soooo… I copy and pasted THAT into my Gmail email form, where I had to reformat and go over the whole damn thing! You would think that a one-page Query wouldn’t take long to do, but you’d be WRONG! A Query Letter must contain the very best writing you can muster. Then you edit it again. And again. And -oh well, you get the picture. It has to present your work and capability (and marketing appeal LOL) in the very best light, period. You have to make your case quickly, convincingly, and not give the Agent the slightest chance to toss it, because they will, and in half-a-heartbeat.
So. Midway though it, and after a few hours, the cursor somehow clicked outside the box, and so when I hit the Backspace key (‘cos I backspace a lot ) the browser read that as “oh, let’s just go back to the previous page because I’m bored.” And, it did. And when I returned to my email, half the thing had vanished! Luckily I’d saved a previous version, but again, I had to reformat the whole damn thing.
ANYWAY: (No, it’s not done screwing with me yet.) I finally finished and sent the Query off. And, being somewhat anal (and apparently too long after the fact) I checked the copy in the Sent box. THE FORMATTING WAS SCREWED! Despite the fact that it had looked perfectly beautiful and gorgeous when I sent it, this showed that a couple of sentences had been split wrong, and several paragraphs now ran together. FOR NO APPARENT REASON!!!!
So… *sigh* I quickly sent a short apology with explanation, and asked the Agent-sorter person to please attach it to my Query Letter so that I won’t appear to be a total ignoramous. Not to mention unprofessional and clueless to boot. Best way to make a poor impression on an Agent: Prove that you know nothing about proper sentence structure. Gah.
Anyway, it’s off at last, and now I start praying for a miracle. I’m not expecting much, but I’m hoping for the best. Something like 90% of all Queries get rejected, according to a scientific theory that I just made up. So the odds are against me, but the story is just so strong that even a summary in a Query can’t fail to intrigue. And the template I used to write this Query was good enough that the last Agent I submitted it to did want to read a sample, so I’m confident that it works.
Unless I screwed it up so bad in all the rewriting I did… BUT LET’S NOT GO THERE, OKAYYYY?
So wish us luck Lily wants so badly just to lie perfectly still in your hands as you lovingly turn the pages of her story…
(By the way, you can click the pics in this article to go to the NASA-Hubble website for information on each photo, and where larger photos are downloadable as well.)
Reflecting: One of the things that I was most reluctant to leave behind my former home in the San Juan Islands (in Washington’s Puget Sound) was the infinitely deep and dark nights, which when clear of the seemingly omnipresent cloud cover revealed an indigo sky of star-dappled clarity which is unequaled among the various locations I’ve lived in. So it was with relief and pleasure to discover that in my new locale in California’s Central Valley I could not only view a fairly black firmament amongst which hundreds of stars could be seen, but also the delight of being able to go into the back yard shirtless and in shorts at a still-warm 3AM to behold the most glorious of earthly wonders, of those things that are not of this Earth: from our earthbound perspective the sight of the surrounding space and its stars and celestial bodies…
photo by Akari Fuuji of Omega Centauri region
There’s really nothing quite like kicking back in the pre-early-morning hours and looking as deep as possible into that speckled black sky, through and past all of those glittering multicolored individuals populating the Deep… shot through with its silver pinpricks, distant reflective planets, the occasional streaks of shooting stars, and our Good Neighbor, the Moon in all her phases. But we can’t go deeper than that, not without help. There are certain “super-glasses” that bring the wonders of the Beyond into our own back yard…
Inside the globular star cluster Omega Centauri
Today NASA released ten new photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope which has just undergone an upgrade, and the resulting snapshots are truly breathtaking, mystifying, and inspiring. Inspiring of what? Well… I guess that’s up to the individual. Cynics might regard these pictures as “lights in spaaaaace” while those more (let’s say) mystically-oriented might surmise a number of things, decidedly less mundane. I think that “awe-inspiring” should just about cover everyone!
Here’s my favorite; being that the butterfly is the Icon for my novel Unbound, this one really flew out at me:
a celestial butterfly in space
Reflection: There is so much beauty in nature no matter where you look, either farthest out in the reaches of space, or right here on our own planet where its wonders are so profound from the valleys to the mountains to the clouds. There is nothing that nature creates that is truly “ugly” if beheld objectively. Even we humans, created by that Unknown-and-Unknowable Source, even in our homeliest of bodies, of souls, cannot be viewed as loathsome. Only the cynical and mean-spirited beholder’s derisive, hateful and subjective outlook casts so many people and things in its ugly and artificial light. The only ugliness in nature is that tendency for people to behave with ugliness; it’s only here in This Ugly Yet Beautiful World” (shameless but unrecognized plug for an anime I haven’t yet seen which is probably lousy but love the title). The world isn’t ugly, just the evil deeds that men and women do.
Oops! I got caught up in my Reflection
Gazing at these NASA pics from the upgraded Hubble Telescope one can’t help to wonder about how truly little we know. Not only about space, but other things as well. Yet there are some who feel that we (i.e. they) know EVERYTHING, and so their opinions are fixed and unyielding until some “proof” can be shoved in their face to convince them otherwise. They are rigid brick walls rather then bendable trees. Take this next pic as an example, shot in two different types of light, the top in visible light and the bottom in near-infrared:
same birthing scene, seen in a different light
The contrast in these “twin” photographs is amazing, especially if you mentally overlay one on top of the other. The top, being taken in visible light, shows a spectacularly dreamy, gauzy space scene of a towering three light-year long birthing cloud in the Carina Nebula. But many of the stars in and behind it are obscured by this “reality.” In the bottom photo, taken at the near-infrared end of the spectrum, such details spring into view with amazing clarity, with the pillar becoming semi-transparent so that what was behind its veil is revealed to exist in this reality. And what exists is real, not the beautiful but illusory veil that obscures its truth.
Reflected: There is much of this Earthly existence that we cannot see or touch and so some of us don’t believe that there’s more to it despite the Unknown being sensed. And depending upon the individual, our five senses can either be pretty functional or else used only for basic survival. In certain souls of high perception or sensitivity they can be used to ascertain or search for truths that are not evident and hidden, especially with what is referred to as “the sixth sense.” Of course, this utility is disparaged by the cynics and mean-spirited ones who value more their need for ego-stroking and feeling superior despite the darkness that surrounds their souls. And so it goes… collisions are inevitable.
when galaxies collide, Stephan's Quintet
Well, I’ll skip further postulating, ruminating, and (yes) Reflecting on earthly matters and return to the stars, the stars, the stars, my God the stars… for it’s quite possible that at times we really were out there, in a non-physical sense, when our souls traveled between the galaxies and planets chasing comets and stars in between our earthly incarnations. This could explain our fascination and yearning to travel out among them, couldn’t it? There’s just so much that we don’t, can’t, and won’t know about Life, the Universe, and Everything. So the best thing is to get along down here on the ground while we can, get along with each other, and just get along. If the theory is true, we’ll return to the stars soon enough… and in the meantime, we can watch them:-D
And the above is probably why I’m enjoying so much an innocuous little anime called Sora no Manimani, or, “At the Mercy of the Sky”…
What follows is the trailer for this currently-airing show about star-gazing. It’s untranslated but short, yet even though the words are not understandable, I think you’ll get the gist:
Tonight I wrapped up the fifty-episode 2005 series Eureka Seven, and what a blast! And for some reason (and your reference) her name’s pronounced “Erika”. I don’t know why, but that’s fine. It was the hardest anime I’ve ever had to rate though, and I’ll tell you why…
In a bit
I looked all over for the episodes but couldn’t find them; the DVDs are available but damned if I’m going to spend money on something I haven’t seen. So I decided to try watching streaming anime for once since it appeared that it was the only way I was going to be able to see it. I’d never checked anime out in this way before; I figured that it would be a good experiment and good for experience as well. (Anime News Network has E7 on their site here, in case any of this intrigues you.)
The streaming experience was definitely a mixed bag, aside from the mostly-unobtrusive and short ads (not to mention the inferior quality and lack of widescreen versions). One crucial ep (#34) actually had about five minutes excised from it, and it was crucial information about Eureka’s origins; a viewer wouldn’t even know it except for the fact that one minute Norb is chatting away and the next he’s lying on the ground after some kind of battle. So I had to search for the episode “elsewhere” and actually found it, so was able to get the full picture (not to mention story). So until they work the kinks out of streaming anime, I’d suggest watching the first several and then before you get to #34, rent the DVDs. Or, “find them elsewhere”.
screencaps from DVD yay, not streaming ugh
Anyway, enough of that. Bottom line is: the show was great! There were several places where I would have counted against E7′s rating, but so minor as to easily ignore. One instance that kinda bugged me: two characters falling from a mile high to their apparent deaths while confessing their love for each other. I’d expect them to be more like… oh, I dunno, going “YAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!”
But I quibble. Overall the dialogue and interplay between all of the characters was realistic and believeable, and the story, while oblique in several areas, was ultimately satisfying and really ends with a roller-coaster of mech-dogfighting action, clever plot-twists, peaking emotions, and sombre resolutions. In fact, the final episode’s descent into despair swings upwards towards a final exhilarating ramping up -and then… the rails run out! Well, I think it’s not quite resolved, which leaves you feeling as if you’re still on the ride. Which does leave a nice open-ended resolution according to the viewer’s beliefs, but then you might feel as if still suspended in mid-air at the end.
But everything about Eureka Seven exemplified a very professionally-done work, and presented a complex, attractive, intriguing, and involving story. The character designs and animation alone were so wonderful and lovingly done that aside from everything else really delivered the story to perfection. These are some of the most appealing characters you’ll find anywhere, even when wounded, disfigured, suffering, and fighting. But mostly their beauty shines when in those happy, peaceful, and caring moments, and even more so in dealing with how to express affection for another.
An interesting aspect about this show is the range of ages of the large cast, and their detailed interactions with each other, including their individualistic outlooks towards other crewmates based on how much (or how little) experience they have, not to mention their attitudes. It’s clear that a lot of thought went into each character’s traits and mannerisms, and there are so many subjects, from the large motley crew aboard the Gekkostate ship (think “rebel force”) to the Military commanders and subordinates of varying types. And there are so many more supporting characters that it’s mind-blowing how they coud have fleshed them ALL out so well!
The main and supporting cast of Eureka Seven
But the real stars of the show are Renton and Eureka. I don’t want to say too much about them, but their relationship is really the centerpiece of the show, which wisely keeps their revelatory moments parcelled out carefully and meaningfully. You’ll enjoy seeing them develop throughout the course of the show, as I did, even if you don’t care for mecha-type anime, as I don’t LOL. (I’m open to ANY good story though )The focus is on people here, not the mechs (though they do have a strong presence, especially the fantastic Nirvash, the mech that Renton and Eureka co-pilot). And Eureka, even with her unusually short hair (for an anime), is just a really magnetic character. I really felt for her, especially in light of what she had to deal with…
Eureka and Renton
This is the longest series I’ve watched; previously the superb Death Noteat 37 episodes had held the record. (Death Note is highly recommended, by the way, and ANN also has it streaming as well, although through Hulu which wouldn’t play for me, but I definitely have the first few DVDs of that series, so no matter for me; try it and buy it!) To be sure, in E7 there were a few slow moments, but really, how can you expect a constant pace of ever-ramping-up material? A good story will have “peaks and valleys”; that’s how they’re supposed to be constructed. So I welcomed the changes-of-pace and focii on different characters; it made for a very sumptuous feast!
But rating it was hard… I momentarily felt that elitist temptation to nickle-and-dime it to pieces down to a 9, but remembered that “rating” (in my case at least) is based on entertainment, not anal-retentively picking something apart to pieces thus diminishing my enjoyment. Why would I want to do that? Elitists ruin much of the enjoyment of anime to be sure, not only for themselves but others as well. View their opinions with a huge grain of salt! I’m not one of them, thankfully. I just want to enjoy the medium; if I don’t like a show then I won’t try to ruin it for someone else who very well might like it. I swear, some anime “fans” are like Trekkies, only meaner
The truth is that everything you’d want in a superior anime is present in Eureka Seven: great characters in both design and expression, fluid animation with no short-cutting (especially in battle-scenes), a story that is deep, flexible, intriguing, and mysterious, direction that’s near-flawless and keeps your eyes glued to the screen, an unobtrusive but supportive soundtrack, and a cast that’s delightfully diverse and moreso than any other anime save Last Exile, another epic story in nearly the same vein.
So, I gave it a 10 Don’t bust my balls over it; YMMV and all that
It’s useless to look for “perfection” in anything; suffice to say I was perfectly entertained. That says it all, and is all that I want :-D
on the water
"When early youth had passed, he left his cold fireside and alienated home to seek strange truths in undiscovered lands. Many a wide waste and tangled wilderness has lured his fearless steps; and he has bought with his sweet voice and eyes, from savage men, his rest and food." (from 'Alastor, or, The Spirit of Solitude', by Percy Bysshe Shelley,1815)
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