Got some new fansubs. You know what that means… review time! Today we cover Hellsing #1, Comic Party #1 and #2, and .hack Sign #2. I’ll go back and update this entry once Full Metal Panic #1 finishes transferring and add that afterwards.
Since I feel the need to disclaim this after the hullabuloo following my last review post: I am not a journalist. I feel no need to be objective. If I don’t like something I’m going to be blunt about it. If you’re a fan, be a GOOD fan and accept that not everybody can be a fan of your adored series, nor will they somehow discover the magic after you force them to ingest more. Thankee.
The basic idea: A guy who looks like the hybrid offspring of Vampire Hunter D and Vash the Stampede blows away vampires with such badass intensity that it makes Wind Ninja Jubei look like a whiny little fifth grader. Sounds good here! And the first episode has an EXCELLENT execution of the idea; we get a ‘typical mission’ to study how things work, the introduction to our three mains (Alucard, Officer Whatsername, and Captain Whatsername). Fabu animation, fabu sound, good dialogue that’s only half butchered in the fansubbing translation.
The only flaws I saw were minor. Our secondary, the female army officer who joins up with the Hellsing Institute, is one of those “I really WANT to be a badass but I’m obviously not cutting it and it makes me cry and be helpless all the time” types. But, I’m guessing part of the overall story will be her growth from a child-like state to a stronger sort. It’s annoying in this episode but could change later. Second flaw was the fansubbers getting a little too cutesy and using a pointy, awkward gothic font for the subtitles. Guys, READABILITY first, style second, mmkay?
I’ve read reviews of other episodes in the run that suggest two big problems on the horizon — that the first half of the series is kind of weak, and that the animation budget bottoms out rapidly. Assuming that these flaws aren’t THAT bad, this is one title I’m definitely going to want on DVD Domestic, and no doubt some company will pick it up. Blood and evil always sell to the Merkins.
.hack Sign #2
Hrmmm. I’m not sure about this series — if you recall from my last one, I had some reservations, but was waiting to see where it went. It’s not going anywhere fast.
The mystery is mysterious and mystery-like. Translation: It makes no sense and probably WON’T make sense for another, oh, thirteen episodes. That would be fine if there was more concrete things we could latch onto in the meantime; there’s a nice subplot here about a PK’er who stalks cute girls trying to find out their RL personal info (and fails to do so) and some other tidbits, but largely it’s just incomprehensible uberplot mishmash. The fan translation does not help; some sentences are nearly unreadable, and not just because of the cute hi-tech font they picked.
There’s VAST potential for a story inside an MMORPG. There are so many things that could be used, like I listed last time… but they aren’t, in favor of high order confusing philosophy and stock, cliched cyberpunk standards. I’ll still hunt down episode #3, but so far other than being visually stunning, this series is leaving me unimpressed. There’s still room to grow and improve, though, and they’re off to a DECENT start. I was just hoping for something more. Maybe I’m hoping for too much?
Comic Party #1 / #2
An anime about doujinshi. Yummy. Seems to be a basic teenage situational comedy, with an ongoing story about one man’s semireluctant journey into doujinshi and anime fandom. A lot like its spiritual grandfather, Otaku no Video, it’s got a good heart and makes you feel warm and fuzzy to be a fan! I likes that.
The characters so far don’t have a WHOLE lot of depth, but that’s okay; the characatures they represent are a lot of fun. From the uberdramatic bishounen (one of my favorite sorts of roles to write; see also Tamaya from Ah My Hentai) to the spunky, can-do comic enterprenuer girl, to a younger girl who helps them print the comics and seems to posess a bottomless bucket ‘o cheer. Of course, there’s also the obligatory quasi-girlfriend who hates doujinshi and gets mad at our hero for drawing it instead of taking her to concerts, but I suspect she’ll ‘come around’ later.
Like I said, not a lot of depth… but it has exactly as much depth as it needs. It’s a tribute to something we all hold dear, and that’s A-OK with me. It even gave me a brief, wild idea to do a small run of a doujinshi and sell it at Otakon… but I don’t think I could wrangle the resources needed in time, nor would it be that good… ^^;
…you know, it’s funny… but until I started getting these fansubs, I just didn’t watch much new anime. Going to cons I’d never watch anime, I’d just hang out. I stuck to titles I knew and liked, or concentrated more on my fanfic and other anime community extras.
I’m rediscovering my love for new anime. And rediscovering my bitching complaints about new anime, as well. But it’s a lot of fun to come home from work, check my downloads, and get to watch something new each day. And I’m happy to share what I thought of it with you, so you might get a pointer to what’s cool and worth grabbing. ^_^ Enjoy!