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Higurashi (Season 1) Review

jeudi 22 juin 2017 à 20:13
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (TV Series 2006)
Produced by Geneon Universal Entertainment, Frontier Works, Sotsu, DAX Production

When writing anime reviews I do my damnedest to avoid spoiling anything that happens beyond the opening minutes of a series. I've always preferred going into a show with absolutely no idea of what's to come, and it's led to some wonderful surprises along with many a-quickly-dropped series. In the past I've mostly relied on recommendation charts, recommendations from friends or and the occasional magazine review to guide my choice in what to watch next. Sometimes it pays off to be a little random, however, so before I dive into the world of Hinamizawa for this review, allow me to share how I first came across the famous/infamous series.

It was late at night, sometime in 2010. I was coming off of an extended hiatus from anime, having recently watched series such as Dance in the Vampire Bund, So Ra No Wo To, Spice and Wolf. On this particular night there was nothing I had in mind to watch. But I wanted to watch something.So, I clicked my way to the anime list on some now-dead streaming site, closed my eyes and scrolled my way up and down the page. Opening my eyes, I uncovered the title “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni” from beneath my fingertip. I'd never heard the name. It meant nothing. I made myself comfortable and hit play on the first episode without any expectations.

Four episodes later, in a somewhat forceful way, I pried myself from the computer and went to sleep. That next morning I would wake up and immediately consume another chunk of episodes. The masterful demonstration of tension and suspense that is Higurashi's first arc had me hooked.


Higurashi, also known as When They Cry or When the Higurashi Cry, is a mystery/drama series based on 07th Expansion's 2002 visual novel of the same name. The series is primarily renowned for mixing torturous violence, a cute, unassuming group of friends, and framing it all within a very unusual format. It's setin the summer of 1983, in a discrete mountain village called Hinamizawa. The 26 episodes of Higurashi's first season follow the ragtag posse of Keiichi Maebara, Rena Ryugu, Mion Sonozaki, Satoko Hojo and Rika Furude who are entangled within a mysterious series of deaths and disappearances.

Let's first establish that the characters and setting of Higurashiare excellent. Throughout the series you really get a feeling for balance of power within the community, how the townspeople feel about things, who is liked and disliked and why. It's a great setting with as much character as any of the series' protagonists. The local deity of Oyashiro-sama and surrounding folklore make Hinamizawa an excellent setting.


The characters of Higurashi have translated well into merchandise with catchy designs, and, whether they're playing games or going mad, they mingle well with each other. Kittenlike Rika, prankster Satoko, Tomboyish Mion, obsessed-with-all-things-cute Rena–they all act as important parts of the fun and endearing lead bunch. They're backed by great voice talent and writers and surrounded by good supporting characters. Keiichi, the fallible star of Higurashi,isa lead of the self-sacrificing type. He's involved in most of the series' goofier moments and, while a bit on the bland side, possesses a certain charm.

The animation of Higurashi is difficult to pin down. Everything is drawn in a very passive way. The colors are light and warm, and shapes are gently defined with soft, gray lines. Humorous breaks in style are frequent (loads of distortion), and as characters go overboard their faces grow increasingly twisted and contorted. There are some laughable moments of inconsistency throughout the series, but overall the art of Higurashi is fine.


Kenji Kawai (credited composer of Ghost in the Shell, Fate/Stay night, Ranma ½) lays down an awesome soundtrack, featuring dozens and dozens of tracks with gripping atmospheres and haunting melodies. Impish tracks, heard when Keiichi and friends battle it out in club activities, capture the playful spirit perfectly as well. Opening and closing the tracks, “Higurash ino Naku Koro ni” and “Why, or Why Not” round out the series' enjoyable sounds.

The combination of gore, cute gals, lolis, over the top humor and fan service sounds like the formula for an incredible trashy and tacky anime, but Higurashi manages to execute on its premise in impressive fashion.

Ratings
-2 Awful, ruined it
-1 Took away from the experience
0 Okay, didn't leave an impression good/bad
+1 Added to the experience
+2 Superb

Story: +1
Writing: +1
Characters: +2
Art/Animation: +1
Music: +2
Entertainment: +2
Personal Bias: 0

References
https://myanimelist.net/anime/934
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higurashi_When_They_Cry

Source : http://www.blogger.com/feeds/1297362356635195876/posts/default/1254521845075432774


Mercy Maya remastered

vendredi 16 juin 2017 à 17:12
Eleven of my personal favorite tracks from Mercy Maya, lightly remastered, plus three previously unreleased tracks have been packed together for this little Remastered Collection. Notes with influences (or a hasty excuse to use more Mercy pics?) included.

MediaFire download
YouTube preview

Source : http://www.blogger.com/feeds/1297362356635195876/posts/default/6142016607453768814


Hail Onizuka!

mercredi 14 juin 2017 à 17:17
More new music--what is this, 2011?! I present to you Onizuka! from Loliqueen. And there's plenty more on the way...

MediaFire download
YouTube preview

I've also started another YouTube channel to spam individual tracks.

Source : http://www.blogger.com/feeds/1297362356635195876/posts/default/4847379552868081728


For The Better

samedi 10 juin 2017 à 19:26
Some new Tsubaki Yeah!: For The Better.


MediaFire download
YouTube preview

I've also just launched another YouTube channel where I'll basically be throwing up single tracks from various albums.

Source : http://www.blogger.com/feeds/1297362356635195876/posts/default/2117672093587181769


Neon Genesis Evangelion

jeudi 8 juin 2017 à 07:48
Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV Series, 1995-1996)
Produced by TV Tokyo, Kadokawa Shoten, Nihon Ad Systems, Audio Tanaka

Since its debut in 1995 few series in anime have garnered such acclaim and condemnation as Hideaki Anno's Neon Genesis Evangelion.The twenty-six episode anime incorporated deeply-personal psychological themes with the mecha genre, exploring the hearts and minds of its main characters as they fight to defend the world from a mysterious race of beings called the “Angels.”

Shinji Ikari has just arrived in Tokyo-3, a fortress city home to the headquarters of the international organization NERV, at the call of the father who abandoned him years prior. Any pretense of catching up and smoothing things over are swiftly dropped when Shinji learns he has been invited to the city for the sole purpose of serving as a pilot for one of NERV's Evangelion units.

As the series goes on, layers of political and psychological drama are stacked upon main storylines (battles to protect Tokyo-3 from Angels and Shinji's internal struggle over piloting the Eva). Humor seen early on gives way to mounting tension and distress as Shinji and the other Evangelion pilots encounter Angel after Angel.


Evangeliontends to cruise along at a middle-of-the-road pace. Setup in the first few episodes is awesome: with the characters and settings all established in memorable fashion. The show settles in for a comparably easygoing mid-section, before going out on an absolute tear of brilliant writing and direction in its latter half.

The final two episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion are surely some of the most hotly debated in anime. It is here where Hideaki Anno's psychological themes override many other aspects of Evangelion and a decidedly-abstract approach is taken. Personally, I've always had a soft spot for the characters' introspection and how it was handled. Many interesting questions and points on the subjects of self-image and existentialism come up. It's certainly an unconventional finale, as much as it is encouraging and inspiring.

Legendary characters, including the ghostly Rei, intense Asuka and indecisive Shinji, are surrounded by an equally great supporting cast. Misato, Gendo, Pen-Pen—there are too many classic characters to name, and every one of them is dynamic, well-written and superbly voiced. The depth of characters is impressive, giving Evangelion's action an emotional edge.

The tone-flat art style certainly dates the series, but Evangelion's character and setting design are unforgettable. Great storyboards further push Evangelion's visual front above average, while changes in lighting and medium fit changes in perspective and mood.


Music by Shirō Sagisu (Bleach, His and Her Circumstances) is top class. It's emotional, well-suited and perfectly produced. Simple and emotive piano and string melodies drill a majority of Evangelion's soundtrack into permanent memory. If any sound-related complaint is worth noting it would have to be the terribly-jarring transitions that occur at the end of several episodes, from hard-hitting scenes and screams straight into various renditions of closing theme “Fly Me To The Moon.”

If you've been avoiding Evangelion all of these years it's time to stop. The countless, classic scenes; the unforgettable characters and the great depths to which they are explored; Evangelion has rightly earned its place in history and has since carried on with a plethora of spin-off manga series and animated films.

Ratings
-2 Awful, ruined it
-1 Took away from the experience
0 Okay, didn't leave an impression good/bad
+1 Added to the experience
+2 Superb

Story: +2
Writing: +2
Characters: +2
Art/Animation: +1
Music: +2
Entertainment: +2
Personal Bias: +1

References
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neon_Genesis_Evangelion
https://myanimelist.net/anime/30

Source : http://www.blogger.com/feeds/1297362356635195876/posts/default/6135592002473945289