venerdì 28 dicembre 2007


This blog is going back where it belongs, on

Go to the new blog!

This one will stay where it is, but no new content will be published here.

lunedì 1 ottobre 2007





mercoledì 26 settembre 2007

La lunga pausa - The long delay

Questo blog ha dormito fin troppo a lungo intanto che andavo in vacanza e coltivavo la mia nuova passione per lo sviluppo di siti internet. Sto adesso per riprendere la scrittura di recensioni (le prossime saranno Claymore e Kaze no Stigma).


This blog has been sleeping far too long while I was traveling abroad and later cultivating my newfound passion for web development. I will now resume writing (next up Claymore and Kaze no Stigma).

martedì 17 luglio 2007

Ouran High School Host Club


Ouran is a funny, funny show about quirky, barely functional characters interacting in amusing ways. The originality of it resides in its surprisingly good animation, its surprisingly good characters and their surprisingly good backgrounds. Indeed, Ouran is by far the most surprising anime of its season. Oh, by the way, just in case you couldn't tell from the flyer: it's a shoujo.

Animation - 8/10

Ouran's animation is overall very clean, colorful and pleasant. Whether it's showing static backgrounds with super-deformed silly characters doing silly things or more dynamic, interesting scenes it always keeps a distinctive style setting it apart from other anime. You can't tell from screenshots, you have to see it. The "sets" vary a lot from episode to episode while maintaining a particular style and the characters hardly wear the same clothes for more then a single episode, in spite of it being about high-school kids who in other anime would be wearing the same uniform throughout the show.

While it's easy to write Ouran's animation off as the typical one-size-fits-all Japanese animation, that's not the case. After all, we're talking about BONES; while nothing about it is high-tech or anything jaw-dropping, it's very, very nice.

Sound - 7/10

The anime's characters pretentiousness is echoed by the baroque music playing most of the time. It does fit nicely, but the few breaks from that trend are always welcom: while there's quite some variation in the score, it all feels repetitive.

Story - 8/10

Haruhi, a poor student, manages to enter the prestigious Ouran High School and accidentally stumbles on the Host Club, a club where beautiful rich kids flirt with beautiful rich girls for money. He accidentally breaks an incredibly expensive vase and is forced to work for the club as a host (that is, one of the beautiful boys) to repay his debt.

As he deals with both the customers and the other hosts, Haruhi manages to find a place inside of everyone's heart and as a result all the backgrounds of the characters are exposed for the viewer to see, creating a string of entertaining self-contained episodes. Occasionally, external characters happen to become part of the stories. Ouran is all about those backgrounds and the quirks of the characters' personalities but it never becomes too philosophical or overly serious; instead the story keeps switching from the "comedy" genre to the "slice of life" genre, creating all sorts of funny situations and then suddenly handling serious moments so well it's unbelievable. The focus rests firmly on the characters throughout the series as their stories are revealed in more and more detail.

As a result, the novelistic frame isn't particularly interesting, but many of the little stories within it are original and compelling enough to warrant a recommendation.

Characters - 9/10

A lot of gender-bending takes place in this anime, like in many other shoujo, but for once it's so funny sometimes you might have problems avoiding a painful fall from your chair. Ouran has some of the best comedy I've seen and the characters are entirely responsible for its success. While it may be easy in the beginning to underestimate them because of the way Ouran uses them to make fun of their respective archetypes, if given time this anime, while appearing light-hearted throughout, really goes in deep. The amount of character development is, at least for some of the characters, absolutely surprising.

The effectiveness of Haruhi as a link between the viewer and the other more eccentric characters is also praiseworthy. He's entirely up to the task of giving us a safe place we can return to after every dive into one of the other character's barely-functional personality while being as interesting and likable as any other guy in the show.

I feel this show could have been better in the character section if the parts about side characters and about the introduction of new characters were handled differently. Most of the time characters belonging outside of the little world of the Host Club and its customers appear either too stereotyped or downright uninteresting, although thankfully Haruhi's group is always there to provide some comic relief making those scenes much more likable then they should be.

Personal judgment - 7/10

I laughed, I was a little bored, then I laughed again. An entertaining experience, but definitely not my kind of show.

Overall - 8/10

A must-see for any shoujo fan and a recommendation for everyone else. If you like shows like Fruits Basket you're probably going to like this one, although it's not as serious until the last episodes.


lunedì 16 luglio 2007


Traduzione in corso


Ong-Bak is a mindless Thai fighting movie. Let me enumerate the reasons why you should watch it anyway:

First, the protagonist beats the living crap out of a Japanese with a ridiculous haircut. I'm not saying every movie should have Japanese men with stupid harcuts being beaten, but it helps.

Second, the protagonist kicks a huge American around a pub like he's a rubber doll. When the fight ends, you can almost see FUBAR written all over him.

Finally, a fridge gets the living crap beaten out of it, too. That scene is so awesome, everyone should keep some living crap inside his fridge and pay a Thai to beat it out of it. It's fun for all the family. Really. Make sure your kids are watching. Maybe write "don't try this at home" on the fridge (or on the Thai).

On a slightly more serious note, while the whole movie is completely devoid of any kind of intelligence, it is really, really entertaining. If you're one of those sophisticated people who enjoy storylines and character development you might want to kick critical thinking out of your brain right before watching it, maybe with a whiskey-induced stupor (I suggest Four Roses but Jack Daniel's or Ballantine's are good enough too); in any case, if you like perfectly staged mindless action, with replays of the most awesome blows and jumps, Ong-Bak is your thing.

On a definitely serious note, there is actually something genuinely good to be said about this movie: it shows the gap between rural Thailand and modern Bangkok in a satisfying way. The director likes to push you around, switching from a small village to the big city, from young and old people following the traditions of their culture, imbued with ancient wisdom and rituals, to young people living off gambling and drug dealing. How realistic it is, I don't know; but the contrast is nice and adds variation and color to the movie. It may be that most of us westerners know little enough of that part of the world to be able to keep the suspension of judgment needed to enjoy any kind of movie, or it may actually be accurate.

I personally liked it simply for the amount of testosterone running through the movie's veins and the funny circus-like performances the lead pulls off so well. As always, YMMV (your mileage may vary).

giovedì 10 maggio 2007

Red Garden


Five girls die under mysterious circumstances and four of them are resurrected by an organization, the fifth corpse having gone missing. The catch? They have to fight humans turned into mindless beasts by a curse.

Red Garden is a shoujo with minor shounen elements thrown in to try give it a different feel (better examples of that technique are Ayashi no Ceres and Escaflowne). Supernatural elements, horror elements and superpowers all play a part in it but it mostly stays true to what one might expect from a shoujo: long dialogs, love triangles and the fetish for clothing most girls have.

Animation - 7/10

The animation is nothing to write home about, but still quite nice; not as fluid as one might have hoped, but still it doesn't disappoint. The direction is good enough, but there's not much to direct except a few short action scenes and a seemingly endless series of dialogs. The character design is pleasantly unusual, although every dress seems to scream "this is a shoujo!!!".

Sound - 6/10

I was kind of surprised by the songs they chose as endings, they feel completely out of place when they should instead kind of carry on the mood of the anime. They totally break it instead, in an unnerving way. I didn't mind the OP, though, it sounded feminine and appropriate enough since we're talking about an anime that's strongly shoujo. Most of the OST is, however, mediocre with just a few tracks good enough.

Story - 4/10

Yet another "whoever gets the magical artifact wins" plot. The viewer's expectations are set quite high by a very good beginning, but the story starts to drag and eventually fails to meet them, revealing itself as just another backdrop to throw random existential bullshit philosophy on.

Characters - 4/10

As crazy as it might sound, after hours of talking the characters are still underdeveloped. Most of what they say sounds nice but at the end of every episode the viewer will find that he's learned about them very little, except that they all kind of suck although in different ways. I don't mind characters that suck — I did like Shinji in a strange inexplicable way, maybe he appeals to the sucker within us — but their development is unbearably slow and predictable and after a few episodes they all sound like voice recorders repeating over and over the same old ideas we've already heard in previous episodes, as well as in a lot of other anime and movies; thus they fail to catch any real attention throughout the show and their ravings may eventually feel like, well, a pain in the butt, something you'd like to rush through using the fast forward function. The most philosophical parts of the anime, all strongly character-oriented, are overdone and lack any real substance. I do give credit for a few dialogs that are actually very well done, though, and a development does exist — which is not the case with a lot of other anime — so it's not that bad actually.

Personal judgment - 2/10

I don't like shoujo, I hate repetition and I'm usually irritated by bullshit philosophy. As far as I'm concerned, Red Garden has been a waste of free time.

Overall - 6/10

This is not the kind of anime one can rush through. It would be too boring. I suggest watching about one ep per week, like it was aired on the TV, then it may become watchable. If it was possible to take out the absurdly high level of repetition built into it, Red Garden wouldn't be that bad; it isn't horrible as it is anyway and certainly deserves a 6 for the good moments it does have to offer, like the very last scene.

martedì 17 aprile 2007



martedì 3 aprile 2007

Ghost Hunt

In generale

Ghost Hunt ha una struttura simile ad X-Files. E' diviso in storie di lunghezza dai 3 ai 4 episodi durante le quali un team di sensitivi investiga su un caso nel quale sono o sembrano essere coinvolte forze soprannaturali. Questa serie di 25 episodi copre una parte del manga omonimo ed è la prima stagione, una seconda forse seguirà in futuro.

Animazione - 4/10

Ghost Hunt ha l'animazione più noiosa che abbia mai visto. Il disegno dei personaggi è quanto di più generico si possa immaginare, i vari fantasmi e spiriti sembrano presi dai disegni di un bambino e gli ambienti sono anch'essi generici (la tipica scuola, il titpico appartamento e così via) e disegnati non molto bene. I pochissimi effetti 3D utilizzati, ad esempio I vetri che si infrangono durante la prima storia, sono semplici e mancano di artisticità. Potrei azzardare un'ipotesi e dire che I creatori hanno semplicemente fatto una rassegna delle vignette del manga animando meno cose possibile, ma non avendo letto il manga non posso esserne sicuro. L'animazione è l'elemento proncipalmente responsabile del fatto che Ghost Hunt è, molto semplicemente, un anime noioso. Perfino la sigla iniziale è a malapena sopportabile la prima volta, dalla seconda in poi fa addormentare.

Audio - 6/10

La colonna sonora è dimenticabile, il doppiaggio e gli effetti speciali adeguato. Pienamente nella media sotto tutti gli aspetti, non c'è altro da dire.

Storia - 3/10

La cornice narrativa sembra, come tutti gli altri elementi di questo anime, il minimo comune denominatore di tutti gli anime di questo tipo e lo spettatore riesce sempre a predire con accuratezza quello che succederà 4 o 5 episodi dopo quello che sta guardando. Per quanto riguarda le singole storie, posso affermare con certezza che anche io potrei scrivere qualcosa di meglio. La mancanza di immaginazione e l'uso eccessivo di cliché presi da film come The Ring sono semplicemente ridicoli.

Personaggi - 2/10

Non ho parole per descrivere quanto è ridicola l'idea che un prete cattolico, una sacerdotessa scintoista ed un monaco buddista possano lavorare insieme per esorcizzare spiriti ed ottenere più o meno lo stesso numero di successi. L'approccio alla religione semplicistico utilizzato dall'autore mostra chiaramente quello che aveva in mente quando ha pianificato il manga: un gruppo di supereroi ciascuno con superpoteri differenti che combattono un nemico comune, lo stesso paradigma di mille altri anime. Purtroppo questa volta non funziona: l'unica cosa che distingue un personaggio dall'altro è il vestito e le sciocchezze che borbotta, il resto è solo vortici, facce confuse e fumo. La totale assenza di personalità e quindi di sviluppo non fa che peggiorare una situazione già disastrosa.

Giudizio personale - 0/10

Uno degli anime peggiori che abbia mai visto. Uno spreco di colori. Potrei dilungarmi su quanto mi ha fatto pena, ma che importanza ha? Ghost Hunt è, come l'ectoplasma rigurgitato dai fantasmi, vomito puro.

Giudizio complessivo - 4/10

Forse Ghost Hunt riuscirà a guadagnarsi un pubblico; per quanto sia privo di attrattive non è particolarmente malvagio o brutto, soltanto noioso.



Ghist Hunt's structure is simliar to X-File's. It's divided in three to four episodes long stories, each covering one investigation by a team of ESP users. The setting is, unsurprisingly, today's Japan. This 25 episodes series covers part of the manga with the same name and actually is the first season — i.e. it doesn't have a real ending — maybe a second one will follow in a hopefully far future.

Animation - 4/10

Ghost Hunt has the most boring animation I've ever seen. The character design is so generic any character could fit in any other anime, the various phantoms and spirits and whatnot seem taken from a child's drawing or a bad b-movie and the environments are also generic — the typical school, the typical flat and so on — and not very well drawn. That is, the backgrounds suck. Only a few 3D elements are used throughout the anime, e.g. the glass shards during the first story, and while they're not too ugly they certainly are completely uninteresting. I'd like to go out on a limb and claim the producers simply went through the manga's pages re-drawing it and animating as little as they could, but since I haven't read the manga I can't be sure. The animation is the element that is most guilty of Ghost Hunt being a boring anime. Even the OP is barely bearable the very first time and would make a fly fall asleep from the second time on.

Sound - 6/10

The soundtrack is forgettable, the dubbing and the special effects are adequate. Completely average from any point of view and there's nothing more to say.

Story - 3/10

The novelistic frame seems, like all the other elements composing this anime, the lowest common denominator of all the anime belonging to Ghost Hunt's genre and the viewer is always able to predict accurately what will happen during the next three or four episodes. As for the actual stories within it, even I could write something better and I lack any talent. The lack of imagination — in a fantasy story!!! — and the excessive use of cliches derived from famous movies like The Ring are simply ridiculous.

Characters - 2/10

I have no words to describe the ridiculousness of the idea of a Catholic priest, a Shinto priest and a Buddhist monk working together to exorcise spirits — with the same success rate. Whether those religions are actually at odds or not is irrelevant, the overly simplistic approach to religion used either by the manga creator or by those who made the anime adaptation reveals what whoever is responsible had in mind: a team of superheroes, each using different superpowers to fight a common enemy. A common paradigm in anime, but this time in particular it doesn't work: the only thingss setting a character apart from the others are the clothes and the nonsense they mutter. The lack of personality and development worsen an already disastrous situation.

Personal judgment - 0/10

One of the worst anime I've ever watched. A waste of colors. I could go on a tirade about exactly what I personally disliked about it, but who cares? Ghost Hunt is, like ectoplasm itself, phantom's ethereal vomit bound to disappear soon from everyone's memory.

Overall - 4/10

Maybe Ghost Hunt will get some kind of public; while devoid of interesting elements, it isn't ugly, just boring.

venerdì 23 marzo 2007

Il labirinto del fauno - Pan's Labyrinth

To go to the English translation of this review, scroll down or use you browser's search function to find the tag [ENG]

Il labirinto del fauno è caratterizzato da un'ottima regia, bravi attori ed effetti speciali estremamente ben realizzati e di ottimo gusto. Oscillando continuamente fra due generi completamente diversi, fantasy e storico (siamo nella Spagna del '44), questo film riesce a prendere il meglio di entrambi e impacchettarlo in un tutt'uno piuttosto coerente. Non perfettamente coerente, guardando il film la parte fantasy e la parte storica sembrano comunque due storie separate che condividono la protagonista; ma un tutt'uno che è coerente nella misura in cui lo spettatore riesca a vedere i collegamenti tra le due parti. Non è il film più bello o più ricco di significato che sia mai stato fatto, ma ha una sua chiave di lettura e un messaggio da trasmettere ed è nel suo complesso divertente e soddisfacente, nonché ovviamente un esperimento interessante.

La moglie di un capitano impegnato nella caccia di ribelli porta la figlia con sé al molino dove il marito ha stabilito la propria base, in modo da permettere al figlio che aspetta di nascere vicino al padre. Lungo la strada la figlia incontra un insetto strano, che identifica immediatamente come una fata; arrivata al molino, la fata la guida al centro di un labirinto, dove la ragazzina incontra un fauno. E' da quel punto in poi che i generi fantasy e storico iniziano ad alternarsi, mostrando le avventure della bambina sia nella crudele realtà storica che in un mondo sotterraneo abitato da strane creature dove la magia esiste ed ha potere anche sulla realtà.

Anche se metà del film è senz'altro classificabile come una fiaba, è importante sottolineare che Il labirinto del Fauno è, dall'inizio alla fine, un film da adulti. Non solo molte scene, sia nella parte storica che in quella fantasy, sono molto violente; tutto il film è caratterizzato da un'atmosfera cupa e da un certo pessimismo e la regia di Del Toro, intelligente ed efficace, non permette di ignorare le parti più tragiche.

La metà fiabesca in qualche modo riflette la crudeltà del mondo reale ed è caratterizzata da moltissimi elementi horror (una creatura addirittura sembra presa di peso da Silent Hill, nel senso che in quel film sarebbe praticamente a casa sua). L'effetto ottenuto è ambiguo: alcuni spettatori preferiranno vederlo come una fiaba nella quale una bambina cerca di scappare dagli orrori della guerra cercando rifugio in un mondo parallelo, che si rivela poi esso stesso altrettanto pericoloso, altri spettatori vorranno invece interpretare il mondo fantastico come una rappresentazione della guerra così come la vedrebbe una bambina. L'ambiguità è chiaramente voluta ed anche se personalmente credo che la giusta chiave di lettura sia una sola è giusto che ciascuno scelga quella che preferisce. Il semplice fatto che il film riesca a far pensare un po' è di per se stesso molto positivo.

Il labirinto del Fauno non è fine a sé stesso. Come minimo gli si deve riconoscere la ricostruzione storica, che da sola lo rende più di un lavoro di fantasia. In aggiunta, è piuttosto evidente che Del Toro intendeva anche parlare del passaggio all'età adulta; ci è riuscito molto bene. Rinnovo il consiglio che do sempre a tutti in questi casi: guardate sotto alla superficie.

Una nota di merito per gli attori, tutti estremamente bravi.

Effetti visivi: 9
Gli effetti speciali non sono mai esagerati, anzi li ho trovati di ottimo gusto e di grande effetto.

Regia: 9
La regia di Del Toro funziona benissimo per tutto il film.

Audio: 7,5
La colonna sonora non è niente di eccezionale, ma fa il proprio lavoro più che bene. Ottimi gli effetti sonori.

Storia: 9
Originale ed interessante.

Personaggi: 8,5
Ottimi e ben costruiti i personaggi, alcuni piuttosto originali.

Apprezzamento personale: 8
Anche se non lo considero certo il film più bello che abbia mai visto, mi è piaciuto tantissimo.

Voto complessivo: 9
Farà miliardi :)


Pan's Labyrinth is distinguished by a great direction, great actors and well done and tasteful special effects. Continuously switching between two completely different genres, fantasy and historical -- it's 1944, Spain-- this movie manages to take the best of both and packs it in a coherent whole. Not perfectly coherent, the fantasy part and the historical part still feel like two different stories sharing the same protagonist; but insofar as the viewer can see the connections between its two parts, it is coherent indeed. Whether the viewer will enjoy the movie properly or feel it as a set of two different things awkwardly thrown together depends, I'm afraid, on the viewer's sensibility.

This isn't the most beautiful or most meaningful movie ever made, but it does have a couple of interesting interpretations and sends an interesting message. Overall, it's a very enjoyable and satisfying experience and of course an interesting experiment, too.

The wife of a captain who's hunting down rebels brings her daughter with her when she goes to the place in the countryside where her husband established his base of operations, so that the child she's pregnant with will be able to be born near his father. Along the road her daughter, a young girl, meets a strange insect she immediately recognizes as a fairy; the fairy eventually leads her to the center of a labyrinth, where the girl meets the faun. From that moment on, fantasy story and historical account start to alternate, showing the girl's adventures both in the cruel reality and in an equally cruel underworld inhabited by strange creatures and rich with magic that can influence the real world as well as the fantasy one.

Even if half of the movie can be described as a fairytale, it's important to underline that Pan's labyrinth absolutely isn't for children. Violence is focused on, although it isn't as abundant as in most horror movies, and a dark mood permeates everything. Del Toro's intelligent and effective direction and the exceptional performance of the actors won't let anyone ignore the most tragic scenes.

The fantasy part somehow reflects the cruelty of the real world and is full of horror movie elements - one of the creatures in particular would feel right at home in Silent Hill. The effect obtained is twofold: some viewers will prefer to see it all as a fairytale where a young girl tries to escape from an ugly world running into a fantastic, but equally cruel, fantasy world, others will instead read the fairytale part as a representation of the horrors of war as they are seen by a young girl. The ambiguity is intended and even if, personally, I think the right interpretation is one and only one, it's a great thing that the viewers are able to choose; it's great that they are forced to think about it, it's a feature only good movies have.

Pan's labyrinth isn't just two hours of fun like most blockbusters. At the very least, it must be given credit for the successful reconstruction of a troubled period of Spanish history. In addition to that, it's also quite evident that Del Toro wanted to talk about the coming of age; he succeeded, brilliantly. An accurate analysis of the themes explored in this movie would be out of place in a review, so I will simply give the advice I always give: look under hood, under the surface.

The actors in this movie are absolutely great, their performances more than praiseworthy.

Special effects: 9
The special effects in this movie aren't as overdone as they are in most American movies. I personally found them beautiful and tasteful but what matters here is that they are technically excellent.

Direction: 9

Sound: 7,5
The soundtrack isn't particularly praiseworthy, but does its job very well.

Story: 9

Characters: 8,5
Quite deep and very well construed, some of them also quite original.

Personal judgement: 8
I liked this movie a lot and regard its viewing as a very positive experience.

Overall: 9

martedì 20 marzo 2007

Final Fantasy 7 - Advent Children

Questa è la prima recensione che ho scritto, in inglese, presa di peso da e sbattuta qua perchè ci sono un po' affezionato. Forse scriverò una traduzione in italiano in futuro ma al momento esiste solo la versione in inglese.


This is the first review I wrote, long ago, taken as it is, with no corrections, from I apologize if my knowledge of the English language back then wasn't as good as it is now.

If you haven`t played the game you may still enjoy the fights but the movie will seem so much worse than it actually is. The movie won`t have any value for you and you will enjoy it much less. For someone who hasn`t played the game all the votes should go down by 1 or 2, except animation and sound. Enjoyment would probably be a generous 8. Keep this in mind as you read the review.

Animation - 10/10

Well, this movie probably represents the peak of what Japanese animation has to offer today. I`m not going into every detail, just know that you won`t see anything better than this until someone else decides to shell out a ton of yen like Square-Enix obviously did. Computer or not, the sheer amount of detail packed in every single frame is enough to make the development of a movie like this both long and costly.

I could say FF7-AC`s animation has "two modes".
The first is used in the quiet scenes and tends to enhance the value of the beautiful 3D models of each character, their life-like movements and facial expressions.
The other is a very different style; during the fight scenes everything suddenly speeds up, the camera jerks around a lot and the characters run at insane speeds, fly and swing their swords in movements that can only be described as inhuman. Far from detracting anything from the overall beauty of this movie, this second "mode" is used very effectively to convey a strong sense of power and endurance and when one of the two sides finally is defeated, well, it`s almost a shock because throughout the fight it usually seems nobody`s ever going to give up. That`s why the action scenes are so gripping, they really catch your attention and your eyes are bolted to the screen. Actually, the fight scenes are the only thing Square has put in the movie, heh, so I guess we`re lucky they`re done so well.

Sound - 10/10

Great. Great, great, great. The sound quality of the special effects is very high and all the shots fired and all the sword blows are so much more convincing thanks to the sounds that come with them.

The soundtrack - that was truly a wonder. The guys at Square took all the best themes of the most loved characters from the game and put them in the movie, but they didn`t leave them as they were.
Half of them were remade into different versions that improve on the original in every way. I`m saying that`s true for about half of what you hear but of course I don`t have the OST yet. Anyway, the rest is improved in different ways, e.g. the famous Sephiroth theme is now accompanied by a distorted guitar and beautiful guitar solos. Many themes have been remade as rock or orchestral + techno pieces. Every single one is beautiful.

One thing I must say however is that cramming all those very different tunes together in a movie actually hurt consistency - you can hear rock right after orchestral or the other way around and it feels a bit strange.
However this small shortcoming is completely overshadowed by the sheer delight of hearing all those tunes you`ve listened to for 60+ hours while you played the game. I`m sure even someone who never heard them will like them a lot.

Story - 3/10


Seriously, there is a lame attempt at justifying the fight scenes with a straightforward and not very well fleshed out plot but you can see what Square`s aim was set on - i.e. beautiful, stunning action sequences. I can`t even summarize it without telling you 100% of it because it seems it`s a summary itself. Heh.
We have seen time and again that complex, interesting plots can be fit inside a ~1h30m timespan, e.g. think of Perfect Blue. This movie doesn`t even attempt to give the audience something interesting to think about.

The strong message of FF7 isn`t conveyed at all here. The "lifestream theory" isn`t expanded or even repeated (well repeating it would have been bad). What I`m trying to say is that nothing really interesting happens at all outside the fight scenes, no interesting events, no revelations, nothing, although the game has awesome material to offer for that purpose.

The game had a huge, deserved success and you can see the story as an excuse to let us see our beloved heroes again. In that regard the movie, too, is a success because every time one of them pops up you can`t help jumping out of the chair.

However, I believe the review of a movie should be objective and actually analize the movie itself, without seeing it as an extension of something else. Besides, there`s really nothing to extend in the game since its story was well thought out and ended in a consistent and rational way, tying all the loose ends nicely even hours before the ending.
We all know what marketing is and how it works so there`s no need to explain how big successes are likely to be exploited by those who created them (The Matrix, anyone?).

What is really inexcusable is that you can feel throughout the movie that its creators actually tried to make the overly simple plot seem something deep and complex. Be it an excercise in style or a desperate attempt to transform something that is basically a beat-`em-up, Street Fighter style, in a real movie, that`s a lame thing to do and it made me drop the vote from 5 to 2.
However, since the movie had Aerith in it, I raised the vote to 3 :D Not very rational but, hey, I`m a human being.

Characters - 4/10


Ok ok the movie has 3D models of the characters. That doesn`t mean it actually has actual characters. You know, those guys that have thoughts, things to say, a personality. The only one that seems to be explored in a little more detail is Cloud, who supposedly lost his will to fight and finds it again for no reason, probably because the last fight against Sephiroth wouldn`t have been as cool if he kept being beaten around like in the beginning of the movie. Heh.

He`s feeling guilty because he let Aerith die and never quite recovered but Aerith herself helps him. It seems cool, but this only lasts for a short time and it`s the only noteworthy thing that happens to a character in this movie. It fails completely at portraying Cloud as an interesting fellow. Actually, I`d like to stop a bit on this and tell you just how uninteresting and boringCloud is but you`ll see for yourself.

On second thought, I`ll tell you. Cloud was never meant to be the hero who defeats everyone. In the game he`s a liar - remember the Soldier thing? - and once he`s even incapacitated and reduced to a larvae on a wheelchair until Tifa rescues him from his mental breakdown.

The reason why Cloud sucks in this movie is that he had weaknesses as well as strenghts and a strong, well defined personality and you felt it even though he never said much; now he`s a Bruce Willis-like mindless hero with just a hinting of personality and a passion for childish one-liners. Not Hollywood-style one-liners as in "go f*ck yourself, man", but still one-liners. All of this things make him totally forgettable. It`s even more maddening because you can see clearly that it`s all a rushed attempt at putting something, anything around that big void to hide it from the audience. Same as the story, actually.

The other characters didn`t recieve even half of the attention Cloud got. Even Tifa, the second most important character in this movie, doesn`t really think or speak about anything interesting and her role in the movie is to put the burden on Cloud`s shoulders and convince him to fight.
Once she manages to do it, with the help of Aerith`s spirit, she holds back and lets Cloud do everything - like all the other characters do. Our heroes are all there, each one in his/her meaningless role.

They appear out of the blue riding on Cid`s new plane-thing and believe me, it`s a joy to see them all again. I never realized how much I loved them all until now. They all do things in their own very particular style: Barret runs around shooting things at random, Barret-style, Vincent shows us how cool his cloak is, Tifa punches and kicks like she did when the "limit" gauge was full, Cid still has those goggles, Cait Sith now rides Red... Really, they all rock so much - graphically. But, again, under the surface there`s nothing.
Of course, the cast is just too big for a movie. I know. But they could have made at least 2 or 3 interesting characters. Instead, well, nothing to see here, move along.

They`re in the movie only to provide fanservice - no, fanservice isn`t just tits & ass, it`s also overly detailed mechas and things like that, things that are only meant to please the fans - and they only have a small impact on the events taking place. In the end they just decide to hold back and let Cloud do all the spanking by himself, for no reason at all, even if they know he`s going to face Sephiroth who in the last battle had to be brought down by SIX of them working in two teams (unless you managed to get the Knights of the Round materia... aaahhh the memories, the memories!).
All in all, their inclusion in the movie was very, very awkward and clumsy.

So, my vote is 2 but since Aerith was one of the characters the vote went up to 3.
Since I almost fell from the chair cheering them as they appeared one after the other and my heart actually started beating faster during a certain sequence when they attack, one after the other, a huge beast (Bahamut :D) I bumped the vote up to 4.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Sure, I value rationality. Ok, I see your point, can we get back to what I was saying?

Value - 7

I wasn`t sure about this vote. I mean, the movie is funny as hell and a must watch and you`ll certainly watch it more than once but you`ll probably skip all the quiet scenes and rewatch only those amazing fights. So is the value really that high? There`s nothing you`ll want to see again outside the battles. I also think what will happen in the long run - not very long, actually - is that you`ll get bored of the fight scenes too.

What usually drives us to watch a movie again and again is mainly our love for the characters, e.g. Tanabe Ai in PlanetES. The second best thing is the beauty of the story.

Now, the story is just downright ugly and devoid of any attraction but it may just be that our love for the original characters from the game is so strong that we`ll want to see this movie a lot of times, in spite of it being empty and having only some watered down versions of some of the original characters.

Well, I give Value a 7. I`m still very unsure.

Enjoyment - 10/10

No doubt about this one. The movie is funny as hell and makes time fly. The quiet moments should have been overly boring - they would have been in a live action movie - but the animation is so good you barely notice that nothing is really going on.
The insanely high level of the animation, my friends, is the only reason why you`ll want to watch this movie.
Go for it. Watch it. You`ll enjoy it a lot, despite all its shortcomings. I recommend this movie, strongly.

Mugen no Ryvius - Infinite Ryvius

To go to the English translation of this review, scroll down or use you browser's search function to find the tag [ENG]

In generale

Mugen no Ryvius è, in poche parole, "Il signore delle mosche" con personaggi diversi ed ambientato su un'astronave. Alcune centinaia di ragazzini si trovano intrappolati su una stazione spaziale, dove stavano studiando, dopo che un'attacco all'apparenza terroristico ha tolto di mezzo quasi tutti gli insegnanti. La stazione è destinata alla distruzione e i pochi adulti rimasti si sacrificano per tentare di far guadagnare tempo agli studenti, i quali riescono, appena in tempo, a decollare su una strana astronave della quale nessuno sa niente: la Ryvius.

Inizia così un viaggio senza meta lungo circa otto mesi durante il quale succede praticamente di tutto. Come ne "Il signore delle mosche", una volta eliminato l'ordine della società resta soltanto il caos delle morali dei singoli individui, le quali si scontrano continuamente, spesso violentemente; i creatori di questo anime riescono a mantenere il controllo dei personaggi e delle vari fili dell'intreccio in modo ammirevole, guidando il tutto verso un ottimo finale.

Animazione - 8/10

Mugen no Ryvius è stato creato dalla Sunrise nel 1999, quindi l'animazione non è allo stesso livello di anime usciti l'altro ieri. Detto questo, tutto, dal disegno dei personaggi alle astronavi, è visualmente appagante. Non c'è alcun tipo di inconsistenza, tantomeno episodi disegnati peggio di altri. Questa consistenza e cura dei particolari (che oggigiorno è normale aspettarsi dalla Sunrise)
crea una solida base sulla quale l'anime nel proprio complesso può poggiare solidamente, a differenza di molti altri nei quali alcune inconsistenze sono talmente evidenti da strappare via l'attenzione da quello che dovrebbe essere il punto focale.

Scene di una grandissima spettacolarità e potenza emotiva punteggiano tutto l'anime dall'inizio alla fine, comprese le ultimissime immagini. In Ryvius c'è poca azione, ma quando c'è è veramente indimenticabile - quello che ci aspetteremmo dai creatori di Macross.

Audio - 7/10

La colonna sonora di Ryvius non è niente di particolarmente eccezionale, ma fa il proprio lavoro in modo efficiente, anche se non spettacolare. Devo riconoscere che la scelta delle sigle di apertura e chiusura è stata particolarmente intelligente ed appropriata, ma è anche vero che certi pezzi hip-hop a volte vengono messi troppo in evidenza per nessuna buona ragione e rovinano un po' l'atmosfera.

I doppiatori giapponesi sono spesso molto bravi; purtroppo quelli di due dei personaggi più importanti non sanno "piangere" e un paio di volte rovinano la scena. Ammetto che in effetti succede talmente di rado che quasi non si nota.

Storia - 7,5/10

La storia è piuttosto semplice, si tratta semplicemente di un lungo viaggio compiuto in un ambiente ostile in condizioni di isolamento totale dal resto del sistema solare. Alcune persone sono interessate alla distruzione della Ryvius e durante l'anime siamo esposti alle fazioni che sulla Terra si confrontano riguardo a questo problema. Esiste quindi un certo livello di complessità, che è gestito bene quanto tutto il resto e che ha senso, ma il punto focale dell'anime sono i personaggi. La storia appare per lo più come una rassegna di battaglie intervallate da periodi di quiete e la stragrande maggioranza del tempo viene dedicato allo sviluppo dei personaggi.

Ogni personaggio ha una propria storia personale che si svolge sul Ryvius e che ha le proprie radici nel suo passato sul suo pianete natale. I personaggi principali sono tanti (circa 15) e le loro storie si intrecciano fra loro formando un intreccio piuttosto complesso che si sovrappone alla storia principale, ma tutto l'intreccio è finalizzato a sostenere lo sviluppo dei personaggi e non è di per sé interessante.

Personaggi - 10/10

Anche se c'è un protagonista, l'anime sposta continuamente l'attenzione da un personaggio all'altro sia dando una visione d'insieme delle stato degli abitanti del Ryvius sia scendendo nei particolari dei sentimenti e delle motivazioni di ognuno. Tenendo conto del fatto che il numero dei personaggi che vengono seguiti con molta attenzione è altissimo (15-16 sono davvero tanti per una serie del genere), è assolutamente incredibile che sia stato realizzato il livello di sviluppo che si può trovare in questo anime. Alcuni si evolvono fino a diventare il proprio opposto, altri diventano invece versioni sempre più estremizzate di sè stessi, fin quasi a diventare delle caricature. Da un certo punto di vista è lo stesso tipo di sviluppo che troviamo in Evangelion, che sicuramente ha avuto la propria influenza su questo anime come su tantissimi altri, ma l'esecuzione di Ryvius è decisamente più subdola, molto meno surreale e decisamente più realistica. La cosa più importante, in ogni caso, è che anche se di tanto in tanto ci sono salti di alcuni mesi fra un episodio e l'altro, lo spettatore vede svolgersi tutte le evoluzioni di tutti i personaggi principali con gradualità, ogni passo perfettamente sensato e giustificato da quello che succede attorno a loro.

Anche molti dei personaggi secondari subiscono una qualche evoluzione, che però viene presentata un salto per volta; è però quasi sempre possibile riempire gli spazi vuoti da soli.

Il punto focale di tutto questo è un confronto fra diverse morali e diversi modi di percepire la realtà e le persone attorno a noi. Un gruppo di 400 ragazzini che tentano di organizzarsi come meglio possono, fallendo continuamente, per cercare di sopravvivere è un buon modo per far capire la funzione svolta dalla società e le conseguenze che avrebbe la sua scomparsa. Si parte dalla quasi assenza del concetto di proprietà personale, con tutti che lavorano assieme per il eben comune; varie fasi si susseguono, fino ad arrivare alla nascita di qualcosa di simile al denaro e ad una economia rudimentale. Non mi dilungo oltre, ma invito i futuri spettatori a fare attenzione a questi svolgimenti che dicono molto e, soprattutto, fanno pensare molto.

Estremamente felice è stata la scelta di includere alcuni personaggi comici per allentare di tanto in tanto la tensione, che in molti punti diventa quasi palpabile. La tizia che per 26 episodi continua a cercare e rincorrere pezzi del proprio costume da dinosauro e il tizio che se ne va in giro coprendosi solo con un cuscino sono semplicemente esilaranti, probabilmente per contrasto con tutto il resto e per il fattoc he appaiono sempre inaspettatamente.

Apprezzamento personale - 10/10

Ryvius ha senz'altro lasciato un segno. Anche se le sue radici letterarie sono evidenti, all'interno dell'ormai vasto mondo degli anime resta una luce nel buio, un esempio di originalità ed intelligenza raramente raggiunto. Nel continuare a scrivere recensioni, mi chiedo per quante volte potrò dire qualcosa di altrettanto positivo per altri anime.

Voto complessivo - 9/10

Ryvius è un must-see per tutti gli appassionati di buona fantascienza che, come me, sono un po' stufi di vedere un intero genere annacquato da schifezze che si concentrano unicamente su cannoni e astronavi. Il punto focale della buona fantascienza è sempre stato l'uomo, che si parli di Ray Bradbury o di Kim Stanley Robinson; Ryvius segue le orme dei grandi del genere al quale appartiene.

Complessivamente, anche se i personaggi che popolano la strana astronave sono più che sufficienti, Mugen no Ryvius nel proprio complesso supera di gran lunga
in artisticità la maggioranza degli anime che sono stati prodotti finora e dovrebbe essere parte della collezione di tutti gli appassionati.



Mugen no Ryvius is, in a few words, "The lord of the flies" with different characters and set on a spaceship. A few hundred kids find themselves trapped in a space station, where they were studying to become astronauts, after what appears as a terrorist attack has killed most of the teachers. The station is going to blow up in a few hours and the few adults still alive sacrifice themselves to buy the students some time. The students manage to save themselves moving inside a strange spaceship nobody knows anything about, the Ryvius, and escaping with it.

It's the beginning of an aimless eight months long trip across the solar system, during which almost everything imaginable happens. As in "The lord of the flies", once a community has been stripped of its social structure only the moral sense of every single person is left and all those different morals clash against each other, often violently. The creators of this anime manage to keep control of the many characters and the many threads of the plot admirably, guiding the whole tangled mess to a beautiful ending.

Animation - 8/10

Infinite Ryvius was created by Sunrise in 1999, so the animation obviously isn't on par with that anime that came out of the production house the day before yesterday. Even so, everything from the character design to the spaceships is visually appealing and satisfying. Inconsistencies are nowhere to be found, no episode is drawn any better or any worse than the others. This consistency -- which admittedly isn't unheard of, but still quite rare although it's to be expected from Sunrise -- create a strong foundation over which the anime as a whole stands firmly. It gives credibility and power to everything else, letting the focus stay on the story and the character development while still being beautiful and appealing. Too often the animation is overdone, stealing the focus away from the most important parts.

Scenes of great beauty and great emotive power are scattered all over the show, including the very last images. Action is relatively rare but unforgettable - more or less what we would expect from Macross' creators.

Sound - 7/10

The soundtrack is nothing to write home about, but it still does its job efficiently, although not in a spectacular way. I found the choice of the OP and ED particularly intelligent and appropriate, but some hip-hop tracks sometimes are strongly focused on for no good reason and they almost ruin the mood several times.

The Japanese dubbers are, as always, mostly very good; unfortunately the ones dubbing two of the main characters simply can't weep or cry in a convincing way - a couple of times they actually ruin the whole scene. I admit, though, that it happens so rarely that the viewing experience as a whole doesn't suffer from it significantly.

Story - 7.5/10

The story is quite simple, it's a trip in a hostile environment in conditions of complete separation from the rest of humanity. Some people are interested in the destruction of the Ryvius, as it is made clear almost immediately, so during the anime we get some insight on the confrontation
between a couple of factions on Earth, each one with its own agenda. This adds to the story an additional layer of complexity, which is meaningful and well managed by the anime creators, but the focus of Mugen no Ryvius are the characters and everything else is peripheral. For this reason, the story appears simply as a sequence of battles with quiet parts between them and most of the screentime is used to develop the characters.

Every main character -- and most of the secondary ones, actually -- has a personal story unfolding on the Ryvius, its roots usually being some specific event that happened before the beginning of the anime, outside of the spaceship. The main characters are many -- about 15 -- and their stories soon become all tangled together in a complex plot that overlaps the story, but the whole thing has the one and only purpose to support the character development and isn't interesting in and of itself.

Characters - 10/10

Although there's a protagonist, the anime repeatedly moves the focus from a character to another giving both a general view of the situation Ryvius' inhabitants are in and delving into the details of each person's feelings and motivations. Considering the big number of main characters in this anime, the sheer amount of character development is itself a major achievement. Some become the exact opposite of their former selves, some others' characteristics are inflated and strengthened to an extreme. One could say it's the same kind of character development we see in Evangelion, an anime that certainly had some influence on this -- and many other -- anime, but Ryvius's execution is somewhat more subtle, less surreal and way more realistic. The most important thing is, however, that even though between two episodes weeks or months can go by in a flash the character development is gradual, every little step sensible and justified by the events taking place around the main characters.

Several minor characters evolve to some extent, but their evolution lacks graduality, happening instead in bigger steps; the viewer is usually able to fill in with his own imagination, though.

The focus of all this is a confrontation between different morals and different ways of coping with and perceiving reality as a whole and the people around us. A big bunch of kids trying to organize themselves into some seblance of orderly society -- and failing all the time -- to survive a few more days until the next planet and the next chance of being saved is a great way to understand the function of society and the consequences its sudden dissolution would have. The anime starts from the almost total absence of the concept of private property, everyone working together for the common good; several intermediate states of instability follow each other, meritocracy to tyranny to oligarchy; something similiar to money and an economy are eventually born, to disatrous effects. There's a lot I could talk about, but a review isn't the right place. I simply wish to invite anyone who will watch this show to pay attention to this part of it.

The choice of including some comedy in the form of a couple of funny characters has been a very intelligent one; those characters loose the tension, often almost palpable. The girl who searches for and sometimes even runs after missing pieces of her dino outfit and the guy who seemingly can't find anything to wear except a pillow are exilarating, maybe in virtue of the contrast with the usually gloomy mood.

Personal judgement - 10/10

Ryvius left a mark. Even if its roots in literature are evident, inside the now vast world of anime it's a beacon in the darkness, an example of originality and intelligence rarely met. As I keep writing reviews, I ask myself how many more times I'll be able to say the some for other anime.

Overall - 9/10

Ryvius is a must-see for any fan of good sci-fi who, like me, is pained by the sight of a whole genre watered down by unsightly, high-budgeted, dim-witted crap that focuses on photon cannons and spaceships. The focus of good sci-fi has always been mankind, no matter the author - from Ray Bradbury to Kim Stanley Robinson, they all talk about humankind. Ryvius follows the steps of the great authors of the genre it belongs to.

Even if the characters populating the Ryvius are more then enough, Mugen no Ryvius is, overall and as a whole, way over the artistic level of most anime ever produced and should be part of everyone's collection.

lunedì 19 marzo 2007

Annuncio - Announcement

To read the English translation of this message, please scroll down or use the search function of your browser to find the string "[ENG]".

D'ora in poi tutte le recensioni saranno sia in inglese che in italiano. Potrei decidere di tradurre anche le recensioni già pubblicate, ma non nascondo che la mole di lavoro mi spaventa. Se qualcuno vuole aiutarmi, contattatemi all'indirizzo e vi indicherò quale recensione tradurre. Se dimostrerete una padronanza dell'inglese uguale o superiore alla mia (non ci vuole molto) avrete tutto il tempo che vorrete per tradurre le altre recensioni, eccetto un paio che mi stanno a cuore. Come ringraziamento il vostro nome o nickname sarà ben visibile in tutto il blog e aggiungerò collegamenti ai vostri blog, siti o forum se ne avete.

Annunci come questo saranno molto rari in futuro, quindi prendo al volo questa occasione per ringraziare tutti quelli che hanno letto o leggeranno le mie recensioni. Se avete qualsiasi cosa da dire, lasciate un commento: ricordate che scrivo per voi, ogni richiesta sarà considerata seriamente.


From now on every review will be written both in Italian and English. Anyone interested will be able to jump straight to the English translation searching for the [ENG] "tag" you can see above. "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni" and "Speed Grapher" already have an English translation.

English reviews will follow the structure with some major differences: the sections "Enjoyment" and "Value" will be missing, because they force the reviewer to tell the reader what he should think, which is stupid. There will be instead three more sections, "Personal judgement", "Overview" and "Overall". The first is the one section where the reviewer can speak freely and subjectively about his experience with the anime, going on long tirades about how great it is or how much it sucks, what he felt watching it and other things nobody gives a damn about. The second section, "Overview", will be the first thing you'll see and will contain a rough overview of the anime - what it's about, the genre, things like that. "Overall" will be the last section in the review; it's a rating that reflects how good or bad the anime is objectively. It won't necessarily be an average of the other ratings, it will instead rate the anime as a single whole that can easily be much bigger or much smaller than the sum of its parts - although it usually isn't.

Finally, please note that 6/10 means "sufficient" and 5 is the first "insufficient" rating. 7 means "above average". This differes from where 5 means sufficient.

Thanks for the attention and thanks to anyone who will read my reviews. If you have anything to say, don't think twice before leaving a comment. I write reviews for you, any request you may want to propose will be considered seriously.

lunedì 12 marzo 2007

Sunabouzu - Desert Punk

To go to the English translation of this review, scroll down or use you browser's search function to find the tag [ENG]

In generale

Sunabouzu è allo stesso tempo osceno, cool, assurdo, esilarante, esasperante. E' un sacco di cose contrastanti e finchè dura è come una corsa sulle montagne russe.

Animazione - 7,5/10

Da un certo punto di vista si può dire che l'animazione di Sunabouzu soffre di una certa carenza di dettagli, da un altro si potrebbe ribattere che l'alto livello di stilizzazione è invece uno dei tratti caratteristici dell'anime. Personalmente propendo più per la seconda ipotesi: se l'animazione fosse stata più dettagliata avremmo avuto un anime sostanzialmente diverso, forse migliore, forse peggiore, ma quell'anime non sarebbe stato Sunabouzu. L'impatto sullo spettatore sarebbe stato diverso in modi più profondi del semplice appagamento visivo. In ogni caso, lo spettatore non deve aspettarsi il livello più alto di animazione esistente.

Sunabouzu mira ad essere divertente in tutto e l'animazione non fa eccezione. I personaggi fanno ridere solo a vederli, devo inchinarmi alla genialità dell'autore del manga. I tizi della Gonzo hanno catturato perfettamente lo spirito di ogni personaggio ed hanno fatto un'eccellente trasposizione di ciascuno di essi.

Questo anime è ambientato principalmente nel deserto con poche riprese di interni e l'ovvio risultato è una certa monotonia negli sfondi. Se i personaggi non catturassero l'occhio così brillantemente, l'animazione sarebbe stata decisamente un punto negativo. D'altra parte è vero che il disegno del deserto è fatto piuttosto bene ed il fatto che Sunabouzu non ne cattura la bellezza con la sensibilità che un paesaggio del genere merita nella realtà che tutti conosciamo non significa che l'impatto generale sia spiacevole. C'è una certa mancanza di varietà nei colori e quei pochi che vengono usati non sono particolarmente brillanti, ma ciò fa risaltare l'azione. In totale non posso che giudicare il tutto positivo e soddisfacente.

Spesso vengono usati disegni presi dal manga, con grande effetto.

Audio - 8/10

La colonna sonora è del tutto dimenticabile e gli effetti sonori raramente abbastanza realistici, ma se la prima è semplicemente insufficiente i secondi sono per lo meno appropriati. La ragione di un voto così alto è presto spiegata: ancora una volta ho il grandissimo piacere di affermare che la maggior parte dei doppiatori sono dei geni. Probabilmente metà del divertimento viene dal tono delle voci dei personaggi principali. Sono ancora una volta stupito dalla differenza di livello fra i doppiatori giapponesi e tutti gli altri.

Storia - 7/10

Sunabouzu è un'ottima commedia ricca di momenti esilaranti, ma la storia non è certo il suo punto focale. Per la maggior parte l'anime va avanti a forza di storie lunghe uno o due episodi e le storie stesse sono sostenute quasi interamente dalle gag. L'ultima storia è invece lunga diversi episodi ed è fatta piuttosto bene; è studiata per spingere fino in fondo l'analisi dei personaggi e concluderne lo sviluppo e chiude l'anime in modo soddisfacente e divertente.

Personaggi - 8/10

Questo anime segue le avventure di Kanta, detto Sunabouzu, un tuttofare/mercenario che fa qualunque cosa per soldi. E' odioso e per di più un gran maiale (hehe vai Kanta siamo con te!), ma anche molto intelligente e incredibilmente dotato (di talento). Kanta da solo sarebbe sufficiente per due anime, ma l'autore del manga non si è risparmiato ed ha messo insieme un cast eccezionale, sulla descrizione del quale non mi dilungo. Lascerò a chi deciderà di guardare Sunabouzu il piacere di scoprirlo da solo. Aspettatevi molto, non sarete delusi: c'è veramente di tutto, dalla ragazzina stupida alla mora formosa e doppiogiochista, ciascuno con la propria personalità, i propri tratti caratteristici, la propria parlata. Per essere una commedia c'è anche una quantità inaspettatamente grande di sviluppo dei personaggi ed anche quelli che non ne subiscono alcuno sono comunque ben strutturati.

Apprezzamento personale - 8/10

Mi sono divertito tantissimo, anche se di tanto in tanto le oscenità erano un po' troppo pesanti e di cattivo gusto e la storia sembrava menare il can per l'aia senza mai arrivare a qualcosa di conclusivo. Mi sono ricreduto durante la seconda metà dell'anime ed ho capito che Sunabouzu è a suo modo geniale, dovevo solo, in un certo senso, abituarmici.

Voto complessivo - 7,5/10

Sunabouzu non è un must-see, ma resta una commedia a suo modo intelligente e molto divertente. Un ottimo esempio di quello che c'è di buono nel mondo degli anime.



Sunabouzu is at the same time obscene, cool, absurd, exhilarating, exasperating, outrageous and funny. It's a lot of contrasting things and while it lasts it's like a roller coaster ride.

Set in a desert in a post-apocalyptic world, this anime follows the adventures of a handyman -- someone who will do anything for money -- his followers and his enemies.

Animation - 7.5/10

One could say Sunabouzu's animation suffers from a lack of details, another person could instead say that the lack of details is part of the animation style, one of the distinguishing traits of this anime. I think the second idea is more likely to be true: had the animation been any more detailed, the anime would have had a substantially different effect on the viewer and I'm not talking simply about finding it more or less beautiful; the animation style as it is now feels just right for this particular anime. However, the short of it is that the animation we have here is far from technically excellent, although most action scenes are done very, very well.

Sunabouzu aims at being a lot of fun and its animation is no exception. Most characters' appearance sometimes is enough to cause anything from giggles to peals of laughter, I bend in the manga's author's general direction. Gonzo's pencil monkeys captured perfectly the essence of every character and realized an excellent transposition.

This anime is set mostly in the desert, indoor scenes are few, so the backgrounds are quite monotonous. If the characters and the action scenes didn't capture the eye so brilliantly, the animation would have been bad overall. On the other hand, the desert drawings are quite good and although this anime doesn't even try to make the desert as beautiful as it is in reality the final result is still pleasing. The monotony comes mostly from the lack of variety in the colors used — the ones that are actually used are not even that vivid — but this makes the action stand out more. In conclusion, I judge Sunabouzu's animation as quite good overall.

Often, drawings lifted straight from the manga are used, to great effect.

Sound - 8/10

The soundtrack is totally forgettable and sound effects are rarely realistic enough, although appropriate. The reason of my high rating is simple: once again I have the pleasure to say that most of the Japanese dubbers who worked on this anime are geniuses. Half of the fun probably comes from their voices!

Story - 7/10

Sunabouzu is a great comedy packed with incredibly funny scenes, but its story certainly isn't particularly appealing. It's a matter of where the focus is, really. This anime is divided for most of its length in short 1- or 2-eps stories and the stories themselves mostly rely on the comedy. The last story is instead several episodes long and, I must say, quite well made: it's studied to delve as much as possible into the characters' souls, conclude their development and close the anime in a satisfying and funny way. It achieves all of its objectives.

Characters - 8/10

Sunabouzu chronicles Kanta's adventures. Kanta, called Sunabouzu, a handyman who does anythign for money, is hateful, a real pig (hehe go Kanta go!) and his morals stink, but he's also very intelligent and skilled. He's such an incredible character, any attempt to describe him is doomed to fail and I have to ask the reader to have faith in me and believe that Kanta by himself would be enough for a couple of 26-eps series. This is no exaggeration. Thankfully, Kanta isn't, after all, the only awesome character there is in this anime, which has one of the most successful casts ever. I'll leave the pleasure to find out by him/herself how good Sunabouzu's characters are to whoever decides to watch this anime. For a silly comedy, there's also quite a lot of character development and even those who don't evolve at all are still well fleshed out.

Personal judgment - 8/10

I had a lot of fun, although now and then I found some parts tasteless and crude. The story seemed to beat around the bush a lot, too. During the second half of the anime I really started enjoying it, though, and had to change my mind; I understood Sunabouzu is, in his own particular way, special and I simply needed to adapt.

Overall - 7.5/10

Sunabouzu isn't a must see, but it's still a great comedy, intelligent in a silly way and very funny. I think it's a good example of what's good about anime.

sabato 10 marzo 2007

Gin`iro no Kami no Agito

To go to the English translation of this review, scroll down or use you browser's search function to find the tag [ENG]

In generale

Agito è il tipico film di animazione "per tutta la famiglia", con grandi pretese ma privo di profondità. Lavori come questo ormai richiedono una progettazione di dieci minuti più altri dieci per scrivere i copioni, il resto è tutto perizia tecnica e produzione; di conseguenza non stupisce il fatto che la produzione e la tecnica siano le sole cose nelle quali Agito raggiunge un buon livello.

Animazione - 8/10

L'animazione è eccellente, molto dettagliata e caratterizzata da una scelta di colori eccezionale. Ciascuna delle tre ambientazioni principali (foresta, deserto e costruzioni principalmente in metallo) si distingue dalle altre grazie ad una scelta inteligente delle tonalità da utilizzare; non è soltanto questione di quello che si vede sullo schermo, prima ancora di distinguere le forme i colori mandano un potentissimo segnale che ci fa comprendere in un attimo l'"umore" generale del posto in cui si sta svolgendo la storia. Ovviamente questa tecnica si ritrova in molti anime, ma in Agito è stata realizzata eccezionalmente bene. Le scene che fanno da sfondo, da quelle ricche di vegetazione a città futuristiche in decadenza, sonod i per se stesse molto belle.

La fluidità dei movimenti è senz'altro al livello che ci si aspetta di trovare in un film, dove il budget è molto più grande in proporzione alla lunghezza. I personaggi sono ben disegnati, ciascuno con le proprie caratteristiche distintive.

Le scene in 3D sono quelle tipiche della Gonzo; è stato fatto soltanto uno sforzo minimo per integrarle con la parte 2D dell'animazione e spesso il contrasto che si crea da fastidio.

Audio - 8,5/10

Taku Iwasaki ha fatto un lavoro eccezionale, come sempre (per chi non lo sapesse, è il tizio responsabile epr le colonne sonore eccezionali degli OAV di Rurouni Kenshin, conosciuto anche come Samurai X). Le musiche aggiungono tantissimo all'animazione e sono molto belle anche ascoltate da sole.

I doppiaggio è passabile per la maggior parte dei personaggi, ma gli altri sono qualcosa di orribile. In particolare, non so chi sia il doppiatore del protagonista, Agito, ma chiunque sia dovrebbe essere tenuto ad almeno 300 metri di distanza da qualunque microfono, se necessario a fucilate.

Storia - 3/10

La storia di Agito è particolarmente brutta. Non sono non sta in piedi da sola, non solo lo spettatore si accorge facilmente che è stata pensata molto male; è una storia creata con l'intento specifico di servire e giustificare l'animazione. Ciò è deplorevole e va contro il concetto di arte narrativa: si usa l'animazione per raccontare qualcosa, non il contrario. Una cosa simile è imperdonabile.

Gin`iro no Kami no Agito parla di un futuro nel quale la Terra è stata attaccata da forme di vita vegetale venute, apparentemente, dal cuore della Luna, che è stata letteralmente fatta a pezzi da esse quando ne sono uscite. L'umanità è stata decimata e molti hanno dopo i pochi sopravvissuti si sono organizzati in città-stato sparse per il mondo. Quando alcuni individui, ibernati verso la fine dell'"apocalisse", vengono risvegliati la chiave per un'arma nascosta viene recuperata ed una nuova crisi si presenta.

Personaggi - 2/10

Se la storia è pesantemente insufficiente, i personaggi sono invece praticamente assenti. Normalmene quando si mettono dei cliché nelle parti di protagonista, co-protagonsita ed antagonista si cerca comunque di dargli un minimo di spessore, per lo meno uno spessore apparente. I creatori di Agito non si sono disturbati troppo e anziché usare dei normali cliché hanno usato degli involucri vuoti a forma di cliché. La totale mancanza di personalità in qualunque cosa con due gambe che si muove è qualcosa di talmente fastidioso da rendere l'intero lavoro ridicolo. A chi importa se delle figurine di cartone rischiano la vita?

Apprezzamento Personale - 3/10

Mi è piaciuta molto l'animazione, che oggettivamente è fatta veramente bene, ma il livello bassissimo della storia e dei personaggi hanno rovinato completamente l'esperienza.

Voto complessivo - 5/10

Mi rendo conto che non tutti sono tanto esigenti quanto me, Agito potrebbe essere un buon modo di passare il pomeriggio. Per questo ho scelto un voto complessivo insufficiente ma non troppo basso: non ve lo consiglio, ma se non avete di meglio da guardare può essere comunque divertente per la sua ora e mezzo di durata.



Agito is the typical "movie for all the family", lots of pretense and no substance at all. Shows like this one require at most ten minutes of planning and ten more to write the script, the rest is just production and technique; therefore the fact that Agito excels only in technique and production is hardly surprising.

Animation - 8/10

Excellent animation, very detailed and featuring an outstanding palette. Each one of the main sets — forest, desert and ruined futuristic cities — is distinguished by an intelligent choice of colors that allows for the powerful effect of making the viewer aware of the mood instantly and instinctively. This isn't an effect this anime has a monopoly on, but in Agito it's implemented so exceptionally well it deserves praise.

The backgrounds, whether they portray thick vegetation or scrap metal are beautiful, many of them very much so.

The movements are very fluid — as is usually expected from movies, that have bigger budgets — and all of the characters are designed very well, each one having his own distinctive traits.

The 3D elements are the Gonzo typical ones. Only a minimal effort has been made to integrate them with the rest of the animation and the contrast is often annoying.

Sound - 8,5/10

Taku Iwasaki, the talent behind the Rurouni Kenshin OVAs' soundtracks, did a wonderful job. I invite anyone interested to try Agito's OST out because it's as great by itself as it is as a soundtrack.

Most characters have good voices, but a couple of them are unbearable. I have no idea who's the dubber of the main character, Agito, but he should be kept at a minimum of 300 meters from any microphone, using a shotgun if necessary.

Story - 3/10

Agito's story is particularly ugly. Not only it doesn't stand up on its own, not only the viewer becomes aware very easily that it's been planned badly; it's a story created with the specific intent of serving and justifying the animation. This is deplorable and goes against the concept of narrative art: one uses animation to tell a tale or express an idea, a concept; the other way around only produces holiday blockbusters. It's unforgivable.

Gin`iro no Kami no Agito talks of a future when Earth has been attacked by plant-like lifeforms that came from the core of the Moon, which they tore apart in the process of getting out of it to reach our planet. Humankind has almost gone extinct and the survivors live in city-states scattered all over the globe. When a few people -- hibernated since the "apocalypse" -- are woken up by the survivors, the key for a hidden weapon is recovered and mankind faces a new crisis.

Yes, I know. Original and smart.

Characters - 2/10

While the story is heavily unsatisfying, the characters simply suck. Normally even when the characters of a movie are cliches the creators make some effort to make them seem fresh, especially when all of the main characters are cliches. Agito's creators didn't. Everyone's soulless.

The movie suffers so much from the emptiness of the characters that most of it looks ridiculous. Who cares if a cardboard cutout risks his life?

Personal judgement - 3/10

I liked a lot the animation - no wonder since it's the only good part of the movie. The stupidity of the story and the lack of decent characters ruined the experience completely, though, so I was left dissatisfied and slightly annoyed.

Overall - 5/10

Not everyone's as demanding as me, Agito could be a good way to blow an hour and a half in the afternoon. I don't recommend it to anybody, but if you have nothing better...