Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sunday was a great day for anime*. Eclipse, the fansub group whose translations for Code Geass I generally prefer, took such an inordinately long time uploading the new episode that I was beginning to think they had abandoned the series, and I must say I wouldn't have blamed them if they did. The three previous episodes had been beyond silly on just about every level; faux chess stratagems, nerfed civil war in China, rampant insubstantial deus ex machinas, all followed by a goofy school episode. Well, that last one was kind of cute, but we were clearly a long way from the glory days of Code Geass.

And then episode 13. I was incredibly glad I convinced myself to download it when I saw Eclipse had finally gotten around to the upload at 5pm. In one episode, the show managed to do everything I'd been telling Tim the show had been needing to do for a long time; people needed to die, the school subplot had to be extinguished or drastically reformed, fanservice be damned, characters--especially Lelouch--needed to start accomplishing things again, and characters needed to have confrontations with their psychological issues. In short, sacrifices had to be made. Episode 13 scored on just about every count. And it was better animated. Which leads me to suspect there's one group of people who come in only periodically to do good episodes, which is a shame.

The other big thing on Sunday was that I realised the new series of Slayers had begun, Slayers: Revolution. This is the first new Slayers series in eleven years. It's the best looking series, in some ways even better looking than the movies, mainly because the animation industry has completely shifted in the past decade from paint to images coloured completely via a computer, giving colourists a complete spectrum of colour for cheap.

But otherwise, Slayers: Revolution feels astoundingly similar to the other Slayers series' in feel. It's sort of like the original Star Trek series picking up in 1980 exactly as it left off. I'm not sure this is entirely explained by Slayers: Revolution having the same director, the same animation studio, and the same voice actors. Everything feels uncannily retro without feeling self-consciously so. Like the new theme song**;

It's the same sort of 1980s sounding, mid-90s Japanese pop. Layers of unselfconscious anachronisms. Beautiful, if you ask me.

The theme's sung by Lina Inverse herself, voiced once again by the incredible Megumi Hayashibara whose lead roles in Paprika and Neon Genesis Evangelion haven't made her too big to do a new Slayers series. She is my dream girl.

Background art has exactly the same cheap quality of the old series', the humour's still not incredibly funny, but good enough to contribute to making the characters endearing. The first episode featured Lina rampaging against pirates, including a suspiciously Jack Sparrow-ish fellow, but the second episode, which I downloaded to-day, is much better, as we're given the first real look at threads from the first story arc wherein Lina's nemesis appears to be a little white furry guy with green hands on his ears. Fight on, Lina!

*Yes I'm only just now getting around to talking about Sunday.

**No subtitled version on YouTube, sorry. She's basically singing about how she'll destroy anyone in her way and she'll take lots of treasure, despite the efforts of the forces of, er, evil.

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