Thursday, January 18, 2007

Only The Illest Anime AKA Dartflix Edition #3

I decided to put together a list of my favorite anime that didn’t include anything that’s too well known, annoying, corny or cutesy (this means no Dragon Ball Z, no InuYasha, or any of that shit that 10 year olds try to stay up late to watch on Cartoon Network). I grew up watching Force Five, Star Blazers, and Speed Racer back in 1979/80 with my big brother before he went to school and I’ve been watching anime ever since. It has also become a part of the hip hop lifestyle to watch anime, Night Sessions TV in New York used to make unofficial videos by playing underground joints to scenes from Ninja Scroll, Ghost In The Shell and Wicked City. Oftentimes, emcees reference characters from them in their rhymes and some take their names from them.

Hollywood has been stealing from anime for years without anyone noticing as well (Independence Day is pretty much Big Wars and Species jacked it’s premise from Baoh...the list is much longer, believe me), but in Asia anime is merely a way to make films that would never be greenlighted if you had to cast people in them and find a director. Some of the most violent and best action scenes you can imagine happen in anime films. For those who slept, I’ll put you on now:

Dart’s Three Trailers Of The Week (1/15/07-1/21/07):

The Number 23


Hannibal Rising

Anime films/series available for rent on Netflix (Anime Edition):
Golgo 13: The Professional
Ninja Scroll
Dagger Of Kamui
Ghost In The Shell
Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence
Black Magic M-66
Madox-01: Metal Skin Panic
Riding Bean
Samurai X: The Movie
Vampire Hunter D
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Big Wars
Venus Wars
Princess Mononoke
Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind
Wicked City
Grappler Baki
Final Fantasy: Advent Children
Blood: The Last Vampire
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
Fist Of The North Star
Fist Of The North Star (series)
New Fist Of The North Star (series)
Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex (series)
Tehxnolyze (series)
Robotech: Macross Saga/Robotech Masters/Next Generation (series)
Cowboy Bebop (series)
Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X) (series)
Ninja Scroll: The Series (series)
Crying Freeman (series)
Cyber City Oedo 808(series)
Lain: Serial Experiments (series)
Gunsmith Cats (series)
Gungrave (series)
Outlaw Star (series)
Gantz (series)
Gatchaman (series)
Trigun (series)
Shadow Skill (2 Discs)
Captain Harlock (series)
Saiyuki: Reloaded (series)
Samurai Champloo (series)
Hellsing (series)
Gasaraki (series)
Neon Genesis Evangelion (series)
Wolf’s Rain (series)
Kikaider (series)
Doomed Megaopolis (series)
Bleach (series)
Gasaraki (series)
Heat Guy J (series)
Guyver (series)

Dart’s Picks/Series:
Gungrave ( 6 Discs): This might be the best urban anime series ever made. If this was a Showtime series, it’d be nominated for Cable Ace awards and Golden Globes. It follows the rise of two street thugs as they join the local Mafia and their subsequent climb to the top and eventual falling out. I could give mad details but that would spoil it. High body count, mad betrayals and the ultimate revenge tale make this one the illest anime series ever made.

Hellsing (3 Discs): The descendant of the famous line of vampire slayers, Integra Helsing runs and huge corporation that helps keep the world from being overrun by terrorist vampires, grudge carrying demons, corrupt clergymen, psychotic killer priests from the Vatican and armies of the undead. Her greatest ally is the world’s strongest vampire, Alucard, who may be invincible. The best characters in the series are the Valentine Brothers and the killer priest. Damn good.

Samurai Champloo (6 Discs): What happens with you mix a story involving two elite rival samurai each trying to escape their own sordid pasts with a teenage girl on a quest to find a samurai who “smells of sunflowers” and a score made by Fat Jon (Five Deez) and japanese hip hop producer Nujabes? One of the most inventive anime series in recent memory. Episodes include a samurai freestyle champion, and ninja graf crew and mad swordfights, blood and bodies. This series helped to inspire the creation of Spike TV’s Afro Samurai.

Trigun (6 Discs): Arguably the most complete anime series ever made. Adapted from the popular Trigun manga, this well written and well made series is about a pacifist gunman (?) who has a code against killing people, but has a $60 Billion bounty on his head so everyone and their mama is sitting in the bushes to light his ass up...the ski mask way. The way the series goes from comedic to serious is amazing because the main character , Vash could’ve come off as a cornball rather than a conflicted hero. Trigun also has some of the best characters in recent anime history like Millions Knives, Legato Bluesummers and Monev The Gale of the Gun Ho Guns but the illest by far was Vash’s reluctant partner Nicholas D. Wolfwood, the minister/gunman for hire that would kill without remorse, causing him and Vash to butt heads regularly. Check it out.

Cowboy Bebop (6 Discs): Cowboy Bebop is best described as a space western with a jazz score and soundtrack where broke ass bounty hunters hustle hard to try to make some cash to stay above water and keep their ships flying, have something to eat in the fridge and still have cash in their pockets left over (which is never). Ex cop Jet Black and former assassin Spike Spiegel join forces and daily look for the big score. Damn good series that even non fans of anime might like.

Dart’s WTF? Awards/ Watch This Bullshit At Your Own Risk:
Steamboy- This movie was so damn mindnumbingly boring that I was in awe. How could the same people that made Akira make this? A hero powered by steam? Are you fuckin’ kidding me? What’s next? Lever and pulley man! This movie was more than 2 hours long and it was 90 minutes before we got to any real action...The art was great, the MOVIE sucked.

Key, The Metal Idol (series)- The biggest problem with adapting an anime series to English from Japansese is that some concepts the Japanese have in their anime do not translate well to Americans or the English speaking market. The deal breaker of the entire series is about a concept called “Geist”and a girl robot created by a scientist that has the idea to become a pop star. Too damn confusing, not enough action and the problems with the geist concept ruin any of the dialogue in the series that would shed light on what’s happening. In the end, it turns out the the girl wasn’t a robot after all, but she was hypnotized to think she was..Huh? Hot garbage.

FLCL (Fooly Cooly) (series)- A quirky series that some anime nerds absolutely love. It makes no sense whatsoever and the humor doesn’t translate well at all from Japanese to English. You can watch this series intently and still not understand what the hell is going on or why this is popular in any country anywhere to anyone at anytime.

Paranoia Agent (series)- This series has an interesting premise. A kid on rollerblades with a baseball bat is going around hitting random people. He starts out as a rumor and then the rumors larger and larger as people worry about who’s next to get smacked upside the head with a bat. The series was going pretty well, until the incredibly over the top and dissapointing end. I think this series above all the others is actually worth watching. I just think that the fantasy style conclusion was too contrived and ended up being a cop out. The writers really dropped the ball on this one.

Next Thursday: The Kung Fu/Martial Arts Edition.



alley al said...

aw man. you're killing me with these reviews of these anime joints!!
i've been dying to find some ill shit, but i never really know what's good!!
lemme tell you the 4-5 that i have ON 2 VHS TAPES!! it's the ones you mentioned already: ninja scrolls aka ? (my favorite!), wicked city (is that the one that men in black stole from?), ghosts in the shell (this one's dope), fist of the north star (that was aiight), and something else i forget..
one time, me & my little bro were feeling adventurous, so we went to the video store to rent one and asked for a recommendation, but the chick at the counter couldn't help, so we grabbed one that was right in the front with all the new titles and such, and we get home & pop it in to find out it's some soft porn shit where the bad guy's fingers turns to penises and all types of dirty nasty shit!! and he rapes her and, man, that was gross, dude!
that was my last encounter with anime.
you why you don't rip some of your good ish and hook us up?
i'm trying to learn how to do that video ripping right now..

Dart Adams said...

I have so many movies recorded from laserdiscs in the original Japanese (witn NO subtitles) that I got between 1992-1995 that it's crazy. I got mad anime that was dubbed to English and edited when I go it on DVD as an adult I was seeing the uncut version for the first time and 15 extra minutes of story and murders would be in there. I had "The Dagger Of Kamui" back in 1991 cut into "The Legend Of The Ninja Warrior" and Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind" back in 1989 cut into "Warriors Of The Wind". American studios used to edit the shit out of them and release them as rental videos. I have MAD DVD's (all of them on on my recommended list. One.

MrFan said...

Good lookin out!!! shit this is becoming my favorite blog. Ive seen a bunch on your list and I printed that bitch out and I am checking them off one by one. Much respect, you have great taste my friend.