Posted on 3 May 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation



Supernatural was definitely an interesting experiment: produce 22 straight to DVD episodes, based on a popular American TV-series. Supernatural adapts the first two seasons of the Live-Action series, and delivers quite an excellent storyline in the process.

The series is episodic, and follows the “First half Random stories, second half plot”-format. In the first half it takes a look at all sorts of supernatural phenomena, and it always tries to make things more or deeper than what they seem at first. Some stories are better than others, but they always make sure to also build up to an overall storyline in some way, or give mode depth to the main characters. It really gets going however when the second half arrives and the characters and main plot go and stand into the spotlight. There is a ton of character development and every episode just finds some way of making things more interesting.

It’s a series that loves to give its own spin on familiar concepts. At first you might think that this show has a lot of tropes, but it always uses them significantly different from what you’d expect. This series is fresh, and makes use of it.

The big flaw of Supernatural is that at times the acting is a bit stiff, that leads to a number of cheesy scenes at times, especially in the first half of the show. As the series goes on though, the character development more than makes up for it. This series especially rocks in how it shows many different stages of the lead characters’ lives, This show doesn’t just have one flashback that shows about who they were when they were younger: it has a ton of them, and you can really see how the events they went through shaped their characters.

With very stylish visuals, Madhouse surely delivered on this series, after the disappointment that was Iron Man. The show looks gorgeous despite a tight animation budget, and it really has the plot and characters to make for an amazing watch.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Excellent version of the “first half random stories, second half plot”-format. Knows how to tell stories with twists and uses them really well.
Characters: 9/10 – Terrific character development.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Not consistent and has problems with making characters move believably, but the visual style is definitely impressive.
Setting: 8/10 – Re-imagines folklore in quite an interesting way, and some parts are looked at with a surprising amount of detail.

Suggestions:
Witch Hunter Robin
Rainbow
Night Head Genesis

Posted on 2 May 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation



The lead up to the climax of this episode was utterly amazing. Dean’s character in particular went through a leap of character development. “Getting shot right before the ending”-twists are common, but this show has actually been building up to. Sam actually died back there, and like, immediately, however, the previous episodes made it very clear that it’s possible to revive someone with your own life, and Dean had to beg for it even more than usual. Dean made one heck of a decision to just live one year for the sake of his brother, especially after his father gave his own life so that he could keep living. That really made this episode for me.

As for the actual climax: Jake indeed was a great villain here. After that though… the creators unfortunately did pull a number of Deus ex Machina. Sam now got his powers much more under control, but the most notable was that ghost of their father showing up at exactly the right time to get rid of the yellow eyed demon. It’s a tad too conventient for a) the Yellow Eyed Demon not firing off the final bullet (he only wanted the Colt, not its bullets), b) their father knowing where the gates of hell were, INSIDE of hell, and 3) the yellow eyed demon being scared of ghosts. Sam coming back and his powers: okay. Those were built up. Unfortunately we never really got an in-depth look into the yellow eyed demon himself. We never really learned about the nature of hell. That hurt this episode.

Overall, the thing I hated about this series the most is its release schedule: airing at these batches of six at a time was… a bit too much at times. It is that this was a great series, but the next time such a thing happens I’ll probably write some sort of compilation post. And don’t get me wrong: it’s great to have three series with an irregular schedule in half a year (Mitsudomoe 2, Moshidora and Supernatural): these are the series that need to be successful in order to get rid of that weakness that anime tends to have, when they are too constrained by having a fixed amount of episodes. Just don’t make me blog 22 episodes in three months anymore…
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Supernatural The Animation



Oh, this really was an excellent semi-final episode, which subverted quite a few tropes in the process. This really was fresh and imaginative. It came with great twists and yet it delivered even more in terms of the characters.

I loved how down to earth this episode was. Usually anime use these semi-final episodes to build up for an epic finale, but this episode instead was quiet and slow-paced, even though it did build up for the bad guy trying to take over the world. The atmosphere was excellent because of that, especially because this episode brought back some of the best side characters of the series. It’s just a bloody shame that so many of them died so quickly. Not because it’s bad storytelling, but rather that I’d love to have seen more of them. That’s a compliment here.

I also really like how this episode toyed around with the “chosen one”-tropes: at first it indeed seems that Sam was the chosen one, where his powers would be the strongest of all characters in the series. But here we have a girl who can kill people on touch, and… a guy who is so strong that he just punched a hole in Sam. Sam may have been able to blow up a deer and all, but in terms of actual control he’s pretty much the most useless of the bunch who were transported to that ghost town, destined to fight to the death.

The question for the final episode has suddenly gotten much more interesting. Jake is an excellent villain here to use there, especially because it still remains the question what he’ll end up doing. He only was introduced 2 episodes ago, but his military background actually worked out really well here.

I really love supernatural’s plot. My only criticism for this episode: stop talking triumphantly about your evil plan when there’s still a gorilla of a soldier walking around!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Supernatural The Animation



Ah, the episode where a character gets possessed and is forced to live in a completely different world. I have to say, Supernatural did an amazing job on it. This was definitely among the better episodes of Supernatural.

Throughout the series Dean’s character has always been about how his family changed as he grew up: first he lived happily along with his parents, then Sam was born, then his mother died and he was forced by his father to become a hunter, then Sam grew up and went to College, only for Jessica to die, his father to disappear and him to travel together with Sam, with eventually his father ending up dead. Before he already got a chance to change this fate, but this really takes the cake, showing exactly what would have happened if none of that took place.

It’s got nothing to do with the plot, actually. It’s just there to give more depth to Dean, and it’s definitely an interesting way to spend the episode before the big finale. It’s especially interesting that Supernatural indeed will only have a two-episode climax. That will make it either short, but sweet, or a complete rushed disaster. If the creators can pull it off though, it can get an amazing ending. The big question is whether the creators will find a fitting end for the now God-Moded Yellow Eyed Demon.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 1 May 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation



There were two types of random episodes in Supernatural: the ones that focus on various kinds of folklore, and the ones that take a look at people who are in the same boat as Sam and Dean. this is both to show that they’re not lone, and also to examine all kinds of possibilities that could happen, or could have happened. It’s a great way to flesh out the story here. Now that we’re near the end, we now get a story that Sam is in no way special: the yellow eyed demon gave powers to a whole group of kids, and the guy here in question is likely to be an even tastier target for the demon now that his powers are awakened.

Beyond that it also was a strong episode about teenaged criminality. It was actually quite refreshing to see young delinquents as something other than random punks, and this episode even stopped by to address the causes of the kid’s stealing spree, and how easy this can happen. The kid didn’t say much, yet he was much better fleshed out than 90% of all other young punks in anime.

Right now, the big challenge for the ending will be the Yellow Eyed Demon. He’s been a good villain: he’s threatening, he really feels compelling and the way he toys around with human lives, just to get more power has been fleshed out really well. The only problem is that he might be a little too strong. The only thing that could kill him is gone now, and this episode was hinting that the only thing that could still beat him was Sam’s fully developed powers.

Those kinds of endings have a tendency to be really cheesy!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 20 April 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation



Now talk about an amazing aftermath here. The previous episode did it with a flashback, now this episode takes an in-depth look at making a pact with a demon. It’s all about Dean getting over John’s death, and I’m very impressed at how they did it. It’s not just “angst angst angst”, but it also ask the question: “what if there was a way to sell your soul to the devil to bring him back again?”

There is some repetition again (here we have yet another guy who sells his soul to the devil to save a loved one), but I have to say that when looking at these cases overall, they actually discuss quite a number of different cases. It’s very dangerous to try and pull things like these off due to the big potential of repeating yourself and all, but this show did this pretty well. The creators really made sure to make all of these cases relate to John’s sacrifice.

Interestingly, this episode showed that demons can also terminate their own contracts. It wasn’t shown whether or not the woman in this story survived or not, but this also means that in theory the yellow eyed demon can also be blackmailed into releasing John. I hope that the creators handle this rather tacky situation carefully in order not to ruin these past number of episodes.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 18 April 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation



Whoa, even more background! Seriously, at how many different ages have we seen our characters by now? Apart from Sam’s teenaged years, we’ve pretty much gotten through the entire spectrum of these characters at this point, and it’s really starting to pay off now. And even though we don’t get to see these ten years, you can really start to see now how these characters evolved throughout time. I’d like to applaud this show for that.

I’ve got one more point of criticism though. It’s a bit nit-picky, but it really has gotten to my attention that any cute girl who Sam and Dean meet, ends up possessed by the devil. I mean, I know that that yellow eyed demon is very prolific in creating his servants and all, but if it wasn’t for the Kappa episode there hardly would have been anyone good-natured left who didn’t just act as a random victim during these past number of episodes. And even the guys from the Kappa episode were murdered in the end. Let’s see whether the remaining episodes can bring some variety in this area, because this show certainly showed that it knows how to keep other aspects varied.

Also, the major plot point that the previous episodes have been hinting at for a while now was revealed in this episode: Sam has huge powers and apparently is going to end up destroying the world. Obviously development is necessary to not make a cheese-ball out of that, but with the past number of episodes as an indication that should be no problem. The moose scene in any case did its job really well and made quite an impact.

As for the stiff acting, this pretty much turned out like Rainbow did: the story is more than good enough, and the development of the characters has actually made up for it. Now, this show perhaps is not as intense as Rainbow was, but then again the acting also wasn’t as bad as in Rainbow’s early parts.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Supernatural The Animation



Wow, what an episode! This is why I love the “first half episodic, second half story”-type of series: they may take a while longer to get to their point, but whenever they get to it they can really do some amazing stuff. This episode was chock full of character development, which got even better due to the build-up that the first half of this season brought in.

This was an excellent case of taking a cliche and pulling it off so well that it doesn’t matter that it’s been done before: there definitely was no lack of creativity in this episode here. John really made a conscious, and a very well grounded one. It’s the same decision that many others in this series have made as well; it totally fits into place. His repentance at the end, after all of the time that Sam and Dean spent yelling at him was excellent. Unfortunately, this also means that my favourite character of this show is gone now…

On top of that, Dean’s out of body experience and him going against the grim reaper was awesome too. Especially considering how it wasn’t some sort of simple-minded monster or silly parody of it. That reaper made it very clear that unless something would be done, Dean would have died. It wasn’t the most eventful episode, but the wait to see what would end up causing Dean to get out of his coma was more than enough to build up an amazing tension.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Supernatural The Animation



Whoa, it’s now really time for the main storyline! And holy crap, talk about being brutal. This episode pulled some pretty nasty stuff on the main characters. This was quite an intense episode especially considering all of the developments that were made on the characters.

Throughout this entire episode, you could see hints that would usually point at a character being about to die (Sam and Dean’s father in this case), and yet he ended up surviving this episode, building even further upon the point that Sam made that killing father was not worth killing the demon. At the same time though, I do wonder why that demon took his time on trying to get that Colt. I mean, even if he didn’t want Sam to die, you’d think that he’d be easily able to just kick Sam and forcibly take the colt from him, seeing as it’s the only weapon that can kill him and all.

By the way, is introducing your girlfriend to your parents such a big deal in America? As in, is that an immediate sign of marriage? Isn’t that a bit extreme here? That twist in which the demon killed Jessica just as she planned that, does add a bit of cheese, but this episode had enough other stuff to make up for it. There was quite a bit of character development in this episode and considering how there still are quite a number of episodes left we’re in something really good here.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 17 April 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation



Scriptwriting 101: if you’re planning to make a major character return to the main story, don’t name the episode in which this happens “Reunion”. It rather gives some major things away, doesn’t it?

so yeah, this episode was full of recurring characters, so even after that spoiler it still was quite interesting to see not just Sam and Dean’s father return, but also the vampires of a number of episodes back. This episode was surprisingly cold, considering that it was based on the long-awaited reunion that has been built up for thirteen episodes now, but then again:: this guy did leave the two brothers without any hint of what he was doing. It’s good to see that in this episode he finally becomes willing to share his information, rather than be all mysterious.

The story of this episode was fairly straightforward, actually, but it already was disturbing enough on its own. The thing is though, that it’s pretty much a copy of that other story, about the mother who sold her soul to the devil. Was this a red herring or something? Foreshadowing?
Rating: * (Good)

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