Posted on 10 August 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, FREEDOM



With the guy behind Kakurenbou as director and the director of Akira behind the screenplay and character-designs comes the ambitious project called FREEDOM, one of the few anime to be totally rendered in 3D cell-shaded CG. It’s obviously a technique that has its pros and cons, and most people will probably need to get used to the style, but once you can look beyond this, you’ll be rewarded by a charming little science-fiction series.

The big strength of this series is its cast of characters. Even though they’re a bunch of hot-headed 14-year-old guys, this series somehow makes them worthwhile. The stereotypes are there, and yet the antics of the main protagonists turn out very charming. The flaws in this series mostly pop up in the final episode, where the creators try to be a bit too epic for their own good.

Ah crap, this review is rubbish. Apologies, I’m having a blackout right now. A tip for all you reviewers out there: do not write a review if it’s been half a year or more since you saw the majority of it… If you want to get a better idea of this series, then read the rest of the posts I’ve written about it. It’s a very nice OVA to watch with great characters and it’s got a soundtrack that’s among Ike Yoshihiro’s best work. Period.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10
Posted on with categories: FREEDOM



Short Synopsis: The big finale of Freedom, where Takeru tries to reunite Earth with Eden.
Highlights: Straightforward but fun finale.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
Well, the final episode was bound to lack in terms of realism. It’s impossible to change the entire political structure of a country with just the words of one guy. Why else do you think that China is currently still happily continuing its violations of human rights? The main leader of Eden also just didn’t get enough proper time to be fleshed out, so his rather stupid decisions were the worst thing of this final episode of Freedom.

I mean, making Kazuma, the one who helped Takeru escape, into one of the highest ranking-officers in just two and a half years. Who in his right mind would do such an unsafe thing? Kazuma was bound to use this power to rebel. There was also this strange fight scene between Kazuma and Takeru, which left both with scratches and bruises… only for these to magically disappear in the next scene…

Still, apart from that, the finale was done very nicely. The ones who were left behind on Eden changed very interestingly, especially Taira turned from Takeru’s rival to the one who organized the rebellion. For a bit, I feared that Ao would turn into a damsel in distress when she got caught, but at least she didn’t sit still and do nothing, but instead tried to convey her ideals to the people from Eden.

It was obvious that despite the doubled length, this wouldn’t be the best instalment of Freedom, but thankfully it could have gone a lot worse. I liked the romance: it was there, but it was really subtle and never really interfered with what was really important.

Posted on 30 May 2008 with categories: FREEDOM


Tamaya!

*erhem* sorry, but I couldn’t resist. This episode had so many Ooedo Rocket-vibes. Heck, you could nearly say that this is Ooedo Rocket, condensed into just one episode, with the samurais removed, it’s almost scary to see how many similarities there are. And still it doesn’t feel like one of the two ripped off the other.

Seeing as I loved Ooedo Rocket, there’s no surprise that this was probably my favourite FREEDOM episode up till now. This episode had everything: fun characters, a great storyline of trying to create the rocket, a bit of background on why Ao was the one on the picture that Takeru found (her father once tried to go to the moon as well, but he failed. Ao was forced to forget everything that happened, and so she started to get really involved in the local space program). Blue Earth was of course the Akai of Ooedo Rocket. In this case, he was supposed to go to the moon along with Ao’s father, but chickened out at the last moment.

One point of criticism: it hardly feels like two and a half year have passed by. Characters still look the same, which is especially suspicious since we’re dealing with a bunch of teenagers here. I really wonder whether Freedom can pull off a good finale. Heck, what kind of finale is it going for anyway? At any case, I do hope that the creators won’t go for something too epic, especially since Freedom has been so delightfully down-to-earth up till now.

This episode also reminded me of why I love Yoshihiro Ike’s soundtracks so much. To be honest, he’s my favourite musician, along with Yuki Kajiura. Yoko Kanno’s work is excellent, but in my opinion she’s not the best.

Posted on 20 March 2008 with categories: FREEDOM


Seriously, Freedom is everything a shounen anime should be. Anime often seem to forget that every single fourteen year-old boy is an idiot, no matter what. Sure, they make their main male leads do something stupid once in a while, but that almost never goes further than an underdeveloped quirk. Freedom, however, is different, and it actually manages to portray the main characters as the idiots they are, and that’s where it starts playing with it.

In this episode, Takeru and Biz as expected get to know the people of Ao’s village and their customs. In the meantime, a typhoon passes by and Takeru confesses how he loves Ao and just travelled to earth to meet her. Biz was also really cute when he tried to impress a local radio-host.

I’m wondering how this series is planning to end. Will Takeru, Biz and Ao go back to the moon, or did the creators have something more epic in mind? And what’s this “Freedom” people keep speaking of.
F

Posted on 16 October 2007 with categories: FREEDOM


Koharu Biyori temporarily made me lose my faith in OVAs. Thankfully, FREEDOM managed to restore it. This is everything a shounen-adventure should be: fun, creative and most importantly: innocent.

And seriously, I love the OP and ED for this series. I finally realized that the OP consists out of rendered images from previous episodes, and it really looks excellent, and this really gives this series an even more unique style. The ED also still is catchy, even after hearing it a few times.

This episode was really different from the previous ones, and it mostly consisted out of the males, having fun and making idiots out of themselves. I laughed quite a bit, though, and some of the banter between both Takeru and Biz and the truck of idiots they run into was priceless. Takeru is one of the few shounen-leads that made an impression on me. Simply because he actually has a dream, albeit a little childish one (meeting the girl he fell in love with and all) and he doesn’t stop until he reaches it.
This is so much better than your average shounen lead who doesn’t have a goal beyond “score a girl”, or “become the best X in the world”. To me, it just shows that they just go in brainless random directions without any real goal in mind, and that’s not really that exciting for me. It also helps that this show is quite well written, with perhaps a few bugs as where the characters get their water from.

I also laughed when Takeru and Biz were really planning to show themselves to Ao in gold and silver alien-suits they received from the guys who provided them a ride. You think that the encounter would be the most romantic thing ever, but no, the writers had other ideas. ^^; Perhaps it’s because of that that the climax worked again so well, despite the predictability (I mean, they had to find the girl at the end of the episode, didn’t they?). It is going to be fun to see how he’s going to talk himself out of it, the next episode should promise to be fun, and I’m interested in how the creators decide to portray Ao.

Posted on 13 May 2007 with categories: FREEDOM


Even after its third instalment, FREEDOM still doesn’t fail to entertain, and yet again, it leaves us with another powerful climax. This probably is strengthened even more by the ED. The best OPs and EDs, in my opinion, don’t just consist of good songs, but also contribute to the anime they belong to. Mushishi, for example, just went on with its peaceful mood even when the ED set in. The OP for Wellber no Monogatari is a perfect introduction, which captures the essence of the anime quite nicely. It’s so much better than these OPs which feature flashes of each different protagonist just because they have to, or the EDs, whose only purpose is to show the credits.

The goal of this episode: send Takeru to Earth. Pretty straightforward, and it’s handled quite decently. He managed to escape from these strange robots we saw in the previous episode, barely avoiding suffocation, though. And I finally realize how important Alan is in all this. He took in the citizens who didn’t want to live in Eden. If I’m not mistaken, he called it Freedom, hence the title of this anime. Because he helped Takeru, though, he endangered it, and the citizens of Freedom are threatened to be retrained and turned into proper Eden Citizens. Still, he does manage to give Takeru instructions on how to use one of the escape rockets that were in the original version of Eden.

One thing I also like about this anime: it knows what it wants to be. It doesn’t try to introduce any needless side-quests in order to impress its viewers, it just wants to tell the story of Takeru, and how he unravels the mysteries around earth. That’s one of the advantages of being an OVA: you can’t waste time on needless fillers. So far, things have been very believable, with only a few botches, like the fact that when you slowly drive a car, it uses less fuel than when you race at full speed, and the fact that Tairo was very lucky to have run into Takeru like that. Apart from that, it avoided some major pitfalls, and it actually made the fact that Takeru got lifted off in the end plausible and believable. The solution for the food-source also was pretty nice, although I do wonder why people would leave a box full of instant-noodles in a place like that. XD

What also surprised me was how Kazuma ended up being left behind, while Bis, who was reluctant to go ended up going. Taira also was great when he tried to help Takeru get his way. Without him, Takeru probably would’ve failed, and I love how the rivalry between the two of them ended up. ^_^

Posted on 9 March 2007 with categories: FREEDOM

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Short Synopsis: Earth has become completely uninhabitable due to the fall of a huge space station down the atmosphere. At least, that’s what people want the citizens of Eden to believe.
Good: The ending of the episode.
Bad: Okay, it wasn’t too realistic, though.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10

Ah, why not. I’m going to blog this OVA. It’s only coming out once a season, and it could definitely use a bit of extra attention, as the setting is really interesting so far. I like how this anime uses the technique of cell-shading. It definitely works as an art style, though the creators still haven’t figured out how to synchronize mouth movement properly apparently.

This anime basically tells two stories: that of Takeru and his surroundings, his friends and his rivals, and his search for the mysterious girl in the picture. The first part may be nice and all, but what really caught my interest was the second part, ever since the ending of the previous episode. Me likes the mystery. This episode basically shows Takeru, trying to find the girl on the picture, and eventually discovering that she’s from earth. For some reason, however, the authorities of Eden are determined to keep this a secret from their citizens.

I loved the ending of this episode. Okay, it’s a bit overglorified, only when Takeru climbs a not-so-large mountain, he sees the earth very clearly, instead of on the horizon, and he just happens to run into the messages from earth, but I’m willing to forgive this to the creators. It seems this anime is going to focus on Takeru, as he tries to go against the government of Eden and return to earth. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the end. So far, there are a lot of bad OVA’s around here, but FREEDOM definitely is worth watching.

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