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I've tried watching Cromartie High School, but it did absolutely nothing for me. The humor was so dry that it became stifling for me.

I've been meaning to watch Baccano! for awhile now. The art style was intriguing, and I'm a sucker for a good noir.

I've only seen the first season of Rurouni Kenshin, and it's fantastic. It's a little cartoon-y in places, but over time, the character arcs become quite indepth and fascinating. Also worth checking out are the Samurai X titles, which feature the same characters and build off of the same storylines, but they're done in a much darker, bloodier, more mature style and tone. Overall, it's a very interesting and affecting, and slightly subversive, treatment of the samurai genre.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I started watching Darker Than Black this weekend. It's set in a Tokyo (I think) divided in half by the Hell's Gate, an unexplained alien presence-thing that makes the environment on the other side of it dangerous and deadly, and that gives some people (called Contractors) mysterious powers. In other words, it's Roadside Picnic/Stalker gone anime.

I might just be hooked.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Hmm... I'd never thought of Darker Than Black as a Stalker analog, but it makes sense. I think I got halfway through the series before I stopped watching. Not because I didn't like it, but I just got busy with other stuff. I'll need to make it back to the series soon. It's streaming on Netflix, but unfortunately, it's not subtitled.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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  • 2 weeks later...

On a whim, I started watching Fullmetal Alchemist this week. I don't know what to think of it. Maybe I've grown so accustomed to brooding, introspective or gritty anime that a more generally lighthearted show like this isn't clicking just yet. I'll stick around for a bit, though. Anyone else have thoughts?

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Just want to point out that Summer Wars, Mamoru Hosoda's follow-up to The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, will be hitting DVD/Blu-ray on February 15, 2011. I liked, but didn't love, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time -- I found it very clever and affecting in places, but also very contrived at times -- but if nothing else, it showed a lot of promise. And based on everything I've read so far, Hosoda has delivered on that promise with Summer Wars.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD5QiLi2krk

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I saw Summer Wars in a theater last night, and I loved it. Dazzling animation, a bright unique look for the genre, and has a strong human storyline as well. It's like an Isao Takahata family drama with Satoshi-Kon style bursts of color and activity. Highly recommended.

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Describing the film as "Isao Takahata meets Satoshi-Kon" does nothing to diminish my impatience at this point. February 15 cannot come soon enough.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear Fullmetal Alchemist,

It's hard to admit that I was wrong. Your first few episodes reminded me of a poor-man's Trigun. I just wasn't into you, sad to say. But I thought I'd give you some time, to let you blossom. I'm glad I did. I thought starting the story in media res was obnoxious, but the lengthy backtracking actually paid off. I also warmed up to your overly goofy sense of humor; maybe it's because I realized the humor is there to balance out your more mature and thoughtful sections (which are many). I've grown to love your characters, and think your substantial supporting cast might be the show's best quality.

So, Fullmetal, while I'm only around halfway through your 50-some episodes, I feel like I can say I'm excited to see what our future is like.

Love, Jason.

PS — I cannot, however, forgive you for getting J-pop songs stuck in my head all day, every day.

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I finished Darker Than Black tonight. The whole series hangs together really well, and even though the story starts getting pretty complicated toward the end, I didn't have much trouble keeping up with what was happening. The ending even makes sense. And, the show hardly ever delves into mopey emo-protagonist territory; parts of it are actually pretty funny, but in a way that advances the overall plot at the same time.

BTW, the "real" series ends with episode 25. Episode 26 is a "go back and fill in the details" thing that's about as good as BSG: The Plan.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Dear Fullmetal Alchemist,

It's hard to admit that I was wrong. Your first few episodes reminded me of a poor-man's Trigun. I just wasn't into you, sad to say. But I thought I'd give you some time, to let you blossom. I'm glad I did. I thought starting the story in media res was obnoxious, but the lengthy backtracking actually paid off. I also warmed up to your overly goofy sense of humor; maybe it's because I realized the humor is there to balance out your more mature and thoughtful sections (which are many). I've grown to love your characters, and think your substantial supporting cast might be the show's best quality.

So, Fullmetal, while I'm only around halfway through your 50-some episodes, I feel like I can say I'm excited to see what our future is like.

Love, Jason.

PS — I cannot, however, forgive you for getting J-pop songs stuck in my head all day, every day.

Yeah, I watched the first few and stopped. A couple years later, I started again and got hooked. Beware, the series is quite addicting. Have you looked into Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood? Apparently it's a whole new series that follows the story from the manga more closely. I watched part of the first episode, but as much as I liked the first FMA, I can't imagine watching 60+ new episodes.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yeah, I watched the first few and stopped. A couple years later, I started again and got hooked. Beware, the series is quite addicting. Have you looked into Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood? Apparently it's a whole new series that follows the story from the manga more closely. I watched part of the first episode, but as much as I liked the first FMA, I can't imagine watching 60+ new episodes.

I finished FMA last week and, while I loved the series overall, the ending left me with a really weird taste in my mouth. I'll get the film that wraps up all of the loose ends from Netflix in the next week or so, but I'm kind of dreading it — from what I've read, it leaves everything hanging even moreso. Ugh.

As for Brotherhood, I'll probably check it out over the summer. It follows the manga fairly close (while the first FMA adaptation did not, at all), and it supposedly gives some of the supporting cast (like Roy Mustang's subordinates) a lot more screen and plot time, which is a very very good thing.

I finished Darker Than Black tonight. The whole series hangs together really well, and even though the story starts getting pretty complicated toward the end, I didn't have much trouble keeping up with what was happening. The ending even makes sense. And, the show hardly ever delves into mopey emo-protagonist territory; parts of it are actually pretty funny, but in a way that advances the overall plot at the same time.

I started Darker Than Black last weekend based on your recommendation, Tyler, and I love it. There's definitely a big shift in to going from FMA to this, though the small bit of humor in DtB works well. I find it interesting that Hei (the protagonist) is a fairly amoral character, and I'm having a hard time sympathizing with his support team. At least, that's the case at this point in the anime (I'm only 10 episodes in).

I also have to mention Yoko Kanno's score. Fantastic, subtle stuff.

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I also have to mention Yoko Kanno's score. Fantastic, subtle stuff.

I've yet to hear a Yoko Kanno score that I didn't like. The woman's easily one of the best film/TV composers working today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-TAxm00jOg

Edited by opus

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Yeah, I watched the first few and stopped. A couple years later, I started again and got hooked. Beware, the series is quite addicting. Have you looked into Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood? Apparently it's a whole new series that follows the story from the manga more closely. I watched part of the first episode, but as much as I liked the first FMA, I can't imagine watching 60+ new episodes.

I finished FMA last week and, while I loved the series overall, the ending left me with a really weird taste in my mouth. I'll get the film that wraps up all of the loose ends from Netflix in the next week or so, but I'm kind of dreading it — from what I've read, it leaves everything hanging even moreso. Ugh.

As for Brotherhood, I'll probably check it out over the summer. It follows the manga fairly close (while the first FMA adaptation did not, at all), and it supposedly gives some of the supporting cast (like Roy Mustang's subordinates) a lot more screen and plot time, which is a very very good thing.

I finished Darker Than Black tonight. The whole series hangs together really well, and even though the story starts getting pretty complicated toward the end, I didn't have much trouble keeping up with what was happening. The ending even makes sense. And, the show hardly ever delves into mopey emo-protagonist territory; parts of it are actually pretty funny, but in a way that advances the overall plot at the same time.

I started Darker Than Black last weekend based on your recommendation, Tyler, and I love it. There's definitely a big shift in to going from FMA to this, though the small bit of humor in DtB works well. I find it interesting that Hei (the protagonist) is a fairly amoral character, and I'm having a hard time sympathizing with his support team. At least, that's the case at this point in the anime (I'm only 10 episodes in).

I also have to mention Yoko Kanno's score. Fantastic, subtle stuff.

If you're only ten episodes in, I don't think you've gotten to the private eye episodes, which are the funniest parts of the series.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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If you're only ten episodes in, I don't think you've gotten to the private eye episodes, which are the funniest parts of the series.

Actually, episodes 7 & 8 were the first with Guy Kurosawa. They were an absolute riot, though (initially) they felt almost tonally off. I'm excited to see he and his partner again.

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  • 3 weeks later...

If you're only ten episodes in, I don't think you've gotten to the private eye episodes, which are the funniest parts of the series.

Actually, episodes 7 & 8 were the first with Guy Kurosawa. They were an absolute riot, though (initially) they felt almost tonally off. I'm excited to see he and his partner again.

I saw you finished the series, Jason. Glad you liked it. There's a second season, as it were, to Darker Than Black that starts off in Russia. I started it awhile ago, but I didn't really get into it.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I saw you finished the series, Jason. Glad you liked it. There's a second season, as it were, to Darker Than Black that starts off in Russia. I started it awhile ago, but I didn't really get into it.

Yeah, I'd like to watch it at some point, but I don't think it's been officially released in the US? (I saw somewhere that's it's coming out this year.) I do almost all of my watching on Netflix these days, so I'll wait for it to show up there. I know the dubbing drives some people nuts (I used to be one of those people), but I've been surprised at how good some of the English voice acting has been (Fullmetal Alchemist, for instance). Still, some of it is just terrible (I'm really enjoying Ghost in the Shell: SAC right now, but wow...the Major's voice drives me nuts).

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I'm a third of the way into Eden of the East (I've watched 4 of the 11 episodes), and it's pretty cool so far. The premise has been done before--guy wakes up with amnesia, tries to figure out who he is/was--but it's developing in some interesting ways. The visuals are strong, and there have been several clever movie references, everything from Cinema Paradiso to Quadrophenia.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I finished Eden of the East tonight. By the way, the show is the 11-episode series and two movies that were released after it. They all combine to tell a single story. I like it, but I think I'd need to know more about Japanese culture and society to really get it. There's a lot of social/political stuff that I could follow on a basic level, but the show is clearly written for a native Japanese audience. For example, NEETs (wikipedia) play a fairly important role in the story, but the show doesn't explain what that concept is; it seems to assume you would know already.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Baccano is fun so far (3/16 episodes in). It's bipolar steampunk set during the prohibition era. I'm still not quite sure what the show is about, though, so you might be frustrated if you're looking for linear storytelling. Then again, if that's what you want, you probably should stay away from anime in the first place.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Has anyone seen "Gun X Sword"? I just had a reader recommend it to me.

Sorry to not respond to this, Steven. I haven't seen this yet, but it is in my Netflix streaming queue. Looks quite interesting. Most Mecha-related anime doesn't interest me for whatever reason (though the Patlabor are pretty awesome), but this could be a winner.

On an unrelated note, I just finished watching the first series of Gunslinger Girl. The show really gets into a gray area and just stays there, but I'm glad I watched it. It's about a government agency that takes horribly injured / traumatized young girls and turns them into cyborg assassins. While that description makes it sound like the show could get into either icky or girls-with-guns territory, the show mainly focuses on the girls' relationships to their handlers, who often treat their charges like little sisters, daughters or, in the worst cases, like tools. The show also lacks any real cohesive plot, and bounces around between the various characters. There's a lot of touching stuff there, as well as some big conversation starters.

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On an unrelated note, I just finished watching the first series of Gunslinger Girl. ... The show also lacks any real cohesive plot, and bounces around between the various characters.

Do you know if the whole series is like that, or does it eventually come together? Two of my favorite anime series (Darker than Black and Paranoia Agent) had bounce-around structures that ended up tying together. I know there are series where that never happens, too.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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