Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Not much to report today. Worked a bit on my site and my anime project, Wine To Those In Anguish, last night. I should put together some sort of gaming room on my personal website here; I’ve already got Mancala, Hangman, and Blackjack.

Ooooh, I just realize that I never got a chance to talk about those anime DVD’s that I got last week. As I was sick and lay abed, I watched pretty much everything that I’d bought. It helped that I bought DVDs 4 and 5 of Battle Athletes Victory (there are only 6 total), and the first DVD of Bubblegum Crisis 2040.

Battle Athletes Victory is much better than it deserves to be. The story is about athletic, Olympics-style competition in the year 4999; thousands of girls the world over compete to be the annual Cosmo Beauty. While partly a comedy, BAV deals with sport and competition on a lot of impressive levels. The heroine, Akari, struggles with low self-esteem throughout the entire series, while the other girls have their faults as well. As each girl loses — or drops out — you feel for them. Wow.

Dual (or, more precisely, Dual Parallel Trouble Adventure) is a bit harder to define. It was heavily inspired by the acclaimed anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, but tells a lighter story than Eva’s gritty intense one. Dual chronicles the story of a young man, Kazuki Yotsuka, who sees giant robots battling in the streets of Tokyo — except that it isn’t real. He posts descriptions of these battles to his website, which attracts the attention of Mitsuki Sanada, a popular girl at school, who seems genuinely interested in his stories. She invites him home, where he finds out why: her father is a dimensional physicist, who is convinced that Kazuki is somehow seeing visions of a parallel timeline. He promptly tosses Kazuki into a dimensional transporter which, to everyone’s surprise, works.

Kazuki finds himself in the middle of a giant robot battle, but his favorite robot, Heartxenon, is damaged. The cockpit hatch opens, and a beautiful woman collapses out of it. When he runs up and tries to help her, the cockpit closes around him, and he is forced to finish the battle. He does so well that he is drafted into service as a robot pilot in the Earth Defence Force.

Dual is not exactly a parody of Eva; it has too much of its own plot for that. The characters are similar to those in Eva, but again, they go off in their own directions. Dual strikes me more like a show that was inspired by Eva, and rather than try to hide the Eva references, lays them out in the open for all to see.

Either way, I got a real kick out of Dual. It’s a fun show, with a great sense of comedic and dramatic timing (not surprising, considering that the creative force behind it was Masaki Kajishima, creator of Tenchi Muyo!).

OTOH, Bubblegum Crisis 2040 is, thankfully, an example of “realism” anime — there are no extreme facial expressions, no hammerspace, no facefaults, and no sweatdrops. It feels like a show that could have been shot exactly the same live-action. The storytelling is impressively-structured, too; the whole first three episodes deal with Linna getting herself drafted into the Knight Sabers (silly name, I know). And they’ve managed to turn Nene into an overenthusiastic 18-year-old who acts precisely like one, without getting annoying.

And it doesn’t hurt that the action scenes will get your blood pumping, every time.

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