Posted on 30 January 2010 with categories: Cobra The Animation



I have to admit, it’s been a while since I watched a series that I considered a guilty pleasure and actually enjoyed. With series like these, I just have one thing I’m looking for. It’s obvious that the characters in this show are just shallow stereotypes, and there’s no way for the story to make sense, so instead I’m just looking for one thing: creativity. And that’s where this show delivers. I have no idea how faithful this series is to the Cobra manga, and despite the flawed storytelling I’m at least glad that they’re not shying away from strange ideas, and don’t try to play this series as safe as possible, just because of the financial crisis.

The villainness in this episode was just hilariously incompetent. At first it seemed like a nice idea for her to pretend to be nice to Cobra later, but then she actually tried to kill him. By pushing him over the edge of a boat. Despite knowing fully well that Cobra can breathe under water. She never even stops to think, and instead just keeps going on with her imaginary evil laugh, for Cobra to take plenty of time to shoot him. I also loved her reasoning: men are nothing but egoistic pigs. Overgeneralization FTW!

There are so many scientific holes into that story of the frozen women in the underwater current, but I have to admit: it’s a pretty neat idea. It was neatly built up, overall an exciting episode and while the visual direction wasn’t exactly up to Osamu Dezaki’s standards it still was fresh and imaginative, so I’m not complaining.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 24 January 2010 with categories: Cobra The Animation



Oh gawd. This show is so ridiculously masculine that I can’t help but enjoy it. Remember last episode, at the end of which Cobra was about to die from poison? My prediction was that Cobra would find some cheap way to escape his certain death. Well, as it turns out he sort-of didn’t. The poison just… disappeared, never to get mentioned again. He just gets his memory back, and for some reason this is so awesome that it automatically neutralizes the poison. Also, what was the point of having this “unique key” around, when people from the underground city could just walk into the control chamber whenever they’d like to?

This turned out to be quite the ludicrous series, but it does have this strange kind of charm that I’m missing with most other series this season. It’s just so unpretentiously enjoyable: it knows what it is and delivers on this. There are also two points at which it deserves genuine praise. The first is the soundtrack. After four episodes of listening to it, I’m sure: Cobra has the best soundtrack of the new season. I’ve always been a big fan of Ike Yoshihiro, and he yet again delivers a great soundtrack for this series.

The second is the creativity. I have to admire the BALLS of this series, to go with such a crazy idea of giving Cobra amnesia so that he leaves his female companion inside a gravity trap for two whole days. The idea of having a woman fall down a cliff, get her head impaled to so become the controller of the planet’s propulsion system also was a pretty nice find.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 17 January 2010 with categories: Cobra The Animation



This show is really something else. It’s very much a guilty pleasure, and I’m actually enjoying it more than most other shows this season. But damn. the things it tries to pull are just completely ridiculous.

So get this: Cobra and the girl arrive at the core of the planet, and are about to shut off its propulsion system that threatens to destroy it. A gravity field then gets triggered that traps them both. Cobra then trips, falls down a trap hole, ends up in a weird city, hits his head, loses his memory and suddenly an the show suddenly turns into a mafia street-fighting story. I mean… wtf?

The worst thing is that while Cobra (erm… or Joe) is spending days in that underground city, fighting, Secret is still there in the same place, being crushed by the gravity trap. I can understand Cobra himself: after all with amnesia he wouldn’t know what was going on there. What I can’t understand is the mindset of the writers when they came up with this? I mean, amnesia already is a cheap and overused plot device (just look at Dance int he Vampire Bund), but this just takes the cake in complete over-the-top and ridiculousness.

But yeah, I guess that that’s the charm of this series: it’s completely ridiculous, but at the same time it never claims to be something deep or realistic. And unlike most other shows this season, it’s actually got quite a bit of creativity and originality, and it’s one of the few series that doesn’t follow any of the modern bandwagons, other than being another remake. And this is why I love remakes: every single one of them tries to pay homage to its original series in its own way.

This episode thankfully looked a lot nicer than the previous ones. The direction still was lazy (one shot we see Cobra carry a naked Secret… the next shot she has her clothes back on. But the CG was really well done in some of the scenes. The art looked actually pretty good, and at least I’m glad that this isn’t a series that blew all of its budget in the first episode.

But yeah, the only tension in the fight is there thanks to Yoshihiro Ike’s soundtrack. It’s really getting ridiculous how insanely powerful Cobra has become, up to the point where the enemy has to poison him in order to win. It’s so obvious that in the next episode, Cobra is going to pull yet another ridiculous stunt in order to get back at them like that.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 10 January 2010 with categories: Cobra The Animation



Well, I guess that this series is lucky to air in such a dry season as this one. If this would have been a regular season, I wouldn’t even have thought of blogging it. But yeah, the thing with this season is that not only are there less series than usual, the series that carried over from the previous seasons are also very small in their numbers. I’ve got seven open blogging slots this season, and by the looks of it there are only eight series even remotely worth blogging (this one, Sora no Oto, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, Dance in the Vampire Bund, Durarara, Ookami Kakushi, Nodame Cantabile Finale and Katanagatari). Out of those eight, I’ll probably skip on Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu. As a comedy-series, it’s just overwhelmed by the other comedies this season (just about the only thing that isn’t scarce in this season: thankfully there still are tons of great comedies).

And this series can boast two great names: Yoshihiro Ike for the music and Osamu Dezaki behind the screenplay and storyboard. It’s a shame that Osamu Dezaki isn’t directing this thing, so his influences are much less noticeable. I’m therefore not expecting this series to become as interesting as Ultraviolet was, far from it. The direction here is a bit sloppy (one moment Cobra shoots his arm away, the next it’s just attached back). However the parts where we saw Cobra run away in infrared were really typical of this guy, and fun to watch. :P

And yeah, the creators were really lucky that they got Ike Yoshihiro to compose the soundtrack. This guy is consistently awesome and because of that the soundtrack is among the best of the season, among the one from Letter Bee and Armed Librarians.

Also, with this episode I think I saw a bit of the charms of the Cobra franchise: it’s a bit like James Bond: this is really meant to be an unrealistic adventure series that’s more about entertainment and doesn’t care in the slightest in creating a realistic setting. Because of that, the creators can really include neat ideas that otherwise would have made no sense, and I have to admit: the mechanical bull with infrared vision and the giant rays with weird faces were much more creative than the random monsters that generic fantasy anime usually throw out.

This series really is going to have to make it with its characters and ideas. As long as the characters remain fun until the end, and it keeps using these neat ideas instead of cliches, then I’ll probably enjoy it until the end.

Oh, and on top of that it has something that only very few other series this season can boast: it’s actually about adults. For once we have a lead character who isn’t a teenager of some sort and fanservice of women who are actually over eighteen years old.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 4 January 2010 with categories: Cobra The Animation, Some Quick First Impressions, Sora no Oto

Sora no Oto

Short Synopsis: Our lead character wants to learn to play the trumpet.
Haha! Finally a good show this season! I like how this series created its own city with its own culture and customs, which will prove to be very interesting if explored correctly by the rest of this series. The lead character is obviously moe, but likable, and definitely not among the stereotypes that give moe a bad name: she has a potentially interesting background, she’s got a goal that’s she’s willing to work hard for. If the creators write the rest of the series right then we could have a potential gem here. I also love the soundtrack (French lyrics! With an actual French guy singing them!). It’s not without its problems, though. It’s a bit cheesy at times, and that legend that tells about the five girls… it’s a shame that shows are still relying on such an overused plot device. Still, this should be relatively minor if the rest of the series gets developed properly, and doesn’t get stuck inside pool, beach and hot spring episodes.
OP: Great! Gentle and upbeat, a contender for the best OP of the season.
ED: This one’s obnoxious J-rock, though.
Potential: 70%

Cobra the Animation

Short Synopsis: Our lead character kicks ass and gets lots of women.
So after two OVAs, Cobra finally got his own remake TV-show. I didn’t really like the OVAs, but thankfully the story in this episode was much better built up than that of the OVAs. Here you can really see that it made use of its extra time now. I also admit that the soundtrack is very nice and great for building up tensions. This episode was far from perfect, though. It’s pretty silly, but for a show that seems to be geared at entertainment, the animation is pretty bad, and the villains are just nonsensical (Haha! I have a hostage! Now let me release her and flee like a coward!). The action-scenes don’t make any sense and are poorly built up, and if the rest of the series is like this then I feel like it’s not going to work.
Edit: I just noticed that Osamu Dezaki is doing the screenplay and storyboard. What happened to him,? He could have made the visuals far more interesting to watch with this limited budget.
OP: Terrible lyrics, but pretty good sound.
ED: Decent enough ballad.
Potential: 30%

Reform Withuot Wasted Draws – The Legend of Koizumi

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is the former president of Japan.
Ah, yeah. The only thing I had read about The Legend of Koizumi was that it was supposed to be a political Mahjong series. I had no idea how the creators would plan to do that, but it sounded interesting at least. Well, so it turns out to b ea parody: the show grabs various world leaders and makes them play Mahjong in an over the top fashion (with Koizumi obviously playing the Schwarzenegger-inspired lead character). It was funny, and I laughed, but the direction is outright terrible. It establishes nothing, it pulls all sorts of random plot twists out of its ass, the Japanese are portrayed as regular anime action heroes, while the rest of the Asians are a bunch of stereotypical fascist pigs. It overplays the incredibly overreacting facial expressions. I can’t see this one remaining funny for long.
Potential: 20%

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:55 AM)
    Given my rants regarding Birdman it should be clear that I’m a sucker for these rare instances where the line between movie and reality get blurred- when an actor looks at a camera and just bares their heart out. This is the realism that reality tv tried but could never capture. this is art in one of its most sincere forms.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:50 AM)
    Oh yeah Hoffman was a massive talent and a beloved actor, so I don’t take it lightly when I call Synecdoche his greatest role ever. Given his death and knowing the circumstances of his life at the time imbues this performance with a chilling sincerity that just breaks your heart and leaves you in awe.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:42 AM)
    Oh Andrew Niccol, oh how the mighty have fallen.
    Hoffman showed up in Capote and most wanted man, the latter which I especially love and there need to be more thrillers of that vein coming out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:37 AM)
    It’s funny how they also each have a Nicolas Cage movie. Kaufman has Adaptation and Niccol has Lord of War. Although despite the usual Cage antics neither of those movies is really that bad.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:33 AM)
    Eternal Sunshine and The Truman Show are the two roles where Jim Carrey really demonstrated his acting chops well outside of his usual comfort zone. But Kaufman moved forward from Sunshine with the superior Synecdoche, while Andrew Niccol went from doing Truman Show and Gattaca to doing young adult garbage like The Host *wretches*
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:28 AM)
    @Emma: yeah you’ll most likely enjoy it. On the surreàl scale it lies somewhere between Birdman and Holy Mountain, so although it’s peppered with symbolic imagery and thematic shots it’s still a personal story about a man’s struggle when faced with his own demise. Although a lofty statement, this is in my onion philip seymour hoffman’s best performance, and his untimely death adds another incredibly rich level of nuance to this movie.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:20 AM)
    @Bam: Adaption, Nicholas Cage =< a guilty pleasure actor to watch for the most part and little more.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:12 AM)
    @Bam: The more you mentiom Synecdoche, the more interested I get. Malcovich was a creative idea for a film and Eternal sunshine was a good spin on the romance genre which gave Jim Carrey a film worth acting in.
    Riki-oh if anything is just a heck of alot of fun.

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