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I think it's just one season, but it's still airing on Hulu. So Hulu only has the first 5 episodes or so. Thankfully, they air a new one each week.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I recently started watching Kids on the Slope on Hulu. It's a "coming of age" story about a couple of high school students who, though being very different in many ways, become friends through playing jazz music. Oh, and there are lots of love triangles, high school melodrama, etc. Maybe it's the jazz, but I'm really enjoying it so far, and find myself surprisingly involved in the characters and their arcs.

It's worth noting that this is directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, director of both Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, with music by Yoko Kanno (also of Cowboy Bebop and GITS:SAC, among other things). So I'm not too surprised that it's good. :)

Has anyone checked out Planetes? It's a hard SF about a team that collects Earth-orbiting space debris. I'm 4 of 26 episodes in, and I'm really enjoying the script and art.

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Yes, I forgot to mention the involvement of Watanabe and Kanno. Really, I can't imagine anyone else but Kanno doing the music for a series that's so heavily about jazz.

I've seen a few episodes of Planetes. Enough to know that I'd like to watch the whole thing at some point.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Totally agree and love anime. I've written about Studio Ghibli here http://www.internetevangelismday.com/blog/archives/7032 including the way that Ghilbi hero/heroines bring healing and resolution to others rather than our me-oriented western happy endings of the girl getting the prince. You can by the way get the entire Ghibi films as a boxed set. Pre-Ghibli films our entire family loves include Panda Go Panda, Future Boy Conan. Other similar films we like include Goshuu the Cellist, Mai Mai Miracle and The Girl Who Jumped Through Time.

In that blog post, I've included a link to a college lecture by Helen McCarthy (anime/manga expert) on Miyazaki.

Have also found Satoshi Kon's anime films very good.

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I'm a big Satoshi Kon fan, too. You should also check out the TV series he made, Paranoia Agent, if you haven't seen it already.

The Girl who Leapt through Time is good, as is the director's next feature, Summer Wars. My favorite "Next Miyazaki" anime director is Makoto Shinkai, although I haven't seen all of his films yet.

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

Has anyone seen Samurai 7? My wife and I are currently watching it, and we really like it. It's from 2004, and is an interesting take on Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. Some of the computerized animation clashes with the more traditional drawing, but I can't help but think that's intentional (the mechanized bandits terrorizing the rice farmers are the only ones to get the CGI treatment, and it gives them a really off-putting appearance).

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I watched the first couple of episodes, and honestly, wasn't terribly impressed.

I've been watching Valkyria Chronicles, which is based on an acclaimed video game. Nothing fantastic, but I must say, I'm a sucker for Japanese re-imaginings of early 20th century European conflicts.

And I just started watching Steins Gate. Only one episode so far, but I'm definitely intrigued.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I just got NIGHT ON THE GALACTIC RAILROAD in the mail today. Excited to check it out.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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I watched the first couple of episodes, and honestly, wasn't terribly impressed.

It sets into its groove around episode four or five, once the samurai start rolling in. Despite the fluid action in the episodes, the show manages to squeeze in a lot of character development and time to philosophize.

EDIT: (And for what it's worth, I had the same "not impressed" reaction to The Last Exile after the first two episodes. I know you and others love it, though, so I'm going to go back and revisit it soon.)

Edited by Jason Panella
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Finally got around to watching NIGHT ON THE GALACTIC RAILWAY. It's based on the 30s novel by Kenji Miyazawa. It's slow, haunting, and fascinating. There's a whole lot of Christian imagery, use of the hymn "Nearer, my God, to thee!," and a subtext about sacrifice that I think bears some more thought. Though it seems odd for a Japanese film based on a work by a devout Buddhist, I think that it fits in with the theme of discovering meaning and true happiness.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Finally got around to watching NIGHT ON THE GALACTIC RAILWAY. It's based on the 30s novel by Kenji Miyazawa.

When I searched for this on Netflix (it's not available), the second title that came up was Hell on Wheels.

Also, I've watched the first few episodes of Elfen Lied over the last couple of days. It has the violence and naked people anime stereotypes (especially violence), and a "gov't scientists did something that turned out to be terrible and might destroy us all!" plot, but I'm still hoping it will turn into something more than just that. It's only 13 episodes, so it's not a huge time investment, either.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Finally got around to watching NIGHT ON THE GALACTIC RAILWAY. It's based on the 30s novel by Kenji Miyazawa.

When I searched for this on Netflix (it's not available), the second title that came up was Hell on Wheels.

Also, I've watched the first few episodes of Elfen Lied over the last couple of days. It has the violence and naked people anime stereotypes (especially violence), and a "gov't scientists did something that turned out to be terrible and might destroy us all!" plot, but I'm still hoping it will turn into something more than just that. It's only 13 episodes, so it's not a huge time investment, either.

I got it on DVD from Zip.ca (the company in Canada that does renta-by-mail), so it's available out there. Does the US Netflix have on disc?

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Night on the Galactic Railroad is a beautiful film in spite of its often clunky animation; its reflective tone and unusual mix of elements makes it an unusually sensitive and contemplative anime. A few years back, it was available in segments on YouTube, so maybe it still is? Like you say, Anders, it uses strong Christian motifs as a stepping stone to more universal ideas (in some ways, it's a simple predecessor to Haibane Renmei) regarding personal responsibility, death and afterlife. It has a strong cult following.

I think Netflix does have Spring and Chaos (2001), an animated biography of author Kenji Nakagawa, for rental. I never got around to watching it before I canceled my DVD subscription, but I hear it's good.

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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.

My wife was interested in seeing this, so we started it over the weekend. It's my second time through, and it really benefits from repeat viewings. I'm noticing lots of little things I missed the first time around.

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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.

My wife was interested in seeing this, so we started it over the weekend. It's my second time through, and it really benefits from repeat viewings. I'm noticing lots of little things I missed the first time around.

Did you watch the second season? What did you think?

I've started watching Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex again, and find it just as good as ever. I also started watching Sword Art Online, which is about a group of gamers stuck in an MMORPG. I'm only three episodes in, I detect a lot of promise. Whether or not it delivers, that's another question.

And some day, I'll get back to watching Durarara!. I like what I've seen, and I think it's by the same folks who did Baccano, one of my favorite recent anime series.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Did you watch the second season? What did you think?

Still haven't, mainly because I've had a hard time finding it. We mainly watch stuff on Netflix streaming these days (yeah, dubbing, I know, but my wife prefers it that way), but it's not there OR on disc. I just learned that it's on YouTube, though, so I might go there once we finish season 1.

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FWIW, I couldn't finish the second season (which I watched on Hulu). It's an almost entirely new cast of characters, none of whom interested me, and the contractor powers -- which were always a bit on the fantastical side -- just got silly after awhile. For example, the main character is a young pre-teen girl and her power involves pulling a giant sniper rifle out of her chest.

I might finish it at some point -- apparently, Hei has some great scenes in the final episodes -- but I'm much more interested in Sword Art Online at this point.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I finished Sword Art Online not too long ago. The first half has a lot of promise, and offers some interesting discussion re. the nature of digital lives and relationships vs. their analog counterparts. And there's even a wee bit of video game satire which should make anyone who's every played a Japanese RPG smile. Unfortunately, the producers tried to cram two different storylines into a single season, so the season's second half isn't quite so good.

My full review is here.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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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.

We started watching Eden of the East earlier this week. We're hooked! But you're right — there have been a few points where we had to pause and look something up. NEETs was definitely one that threw us for a loop ("He might have been involved in the disappearance of 10,000 whats?"), and I'm sure it won't be the last.

I like how the show has this slight element of post-9/11 confusion, though from a Japanese perspective. At least, I feel like it's bubbling under the surface. I could be wrong, of course. But it's interesting, since I'm so used to seeing that sort of tone solely from a Western viewpoint.

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One of my favorite recent series is Project Blue Earth SOS, a retro-futuristic adventure story from the director of Darker Than Black that's quite a bit of fun. My review:

It’s pretty easy to break Project Blue Earth SOS down into its individual similarities and influences, were one so inclined. On paper, the series blends together themes, ideas, and visuals from Plan 9 From Outer Space, Independence Day, Star Wars, War of the Worlds (moreso the 1953 Byron Haskin film then other versions), The Hardy Boys, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and even other anime titles like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Giant Robo. But the series is easily far more than the sum of its parts, a rollicking retro-futuristic tale of alien invaders, boy geniuses, and cool gizmos that revels in its vintage style and flair.

It's currently streaming on Hulu.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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One of our dearly departed spam threads, "Why Eren Could Become the Huge Man?" came to mind while I was looking for something to watch on Hulu tonight, so I decided to give Attack on Titan (Eren is the main character) a chance. I might be hooked after just one episode. There's clearly a lot of backstory, but the show doesn't front-load a bunch of exposition, instead dropping you right into the story and letting you figure it out as it unfolds. The art style relies on still images even more than most anime I've watched, but it works for the show (the quality of those images helps, too). And the first episode has back-to-back "Holy crap, they went there!" moments (when it happens, you'll know).

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I've been watching Attack on Titan for awhile now, and like it quite a bit. It gets very exposition and melodrama-heavy at times, but the style of the anime (including the art style that you mentioned) keeps things interesting and fantastical. At the same time, thanks to the human-eating titans, the show maintains a pretty grotesque and suspenseful atmosphere throughout, which really comes to the forefront during the action sequences -- which are pretty intense, thrilling, and very well-done. Also, the series isn't afraid to pull a Game of Thrones and kill off characters suddenly and brutally, which also adds to the suspense.

 

I'm about two episodes from the end of season one, and I have no idea how they'll end it. Not simply because of the twists in the most recent episodes, but also because the manga is still ongoing.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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