Archive for September, 2010

Basquash – the awesome combination of a mecha series and a sports show!!!

I absolutely love this series it was just so much fun. I do love a good mecha series but have found many that become a little too serious and pretentious. Mecha has a tendency to go a little too deep and while I love series such as Evangelion and Fafner sometimes I would like a mecha series which is a little more fun. A series where you still have amazing robot designs which wonderful movements and battle with all the destructive force you expect of a giant robot but a little less politics. Sometimes I’d like there not to be huge government conspiracies, strange spiritual and religious undertones, emotional backwards pilots and plots that are so complicated that you can’t just enjoy the beauty of a Mecha. Basquash has so much to offer, it has big, loud battling Mecha’s, but instead of an all-out global war they are the tools in a new sport. Mecha’s are used to play a hyped up version of basketball. And like all good sports shows we have intense games and driven and courageous characters. The story takes place in the world of “Earth Dash”, an alternate, futuristic version of Earth where human society split between the far more advanced lunar society and that of the planet’s surface. A popular sport is BFB (Big Foot Basketball), where players ride mecha called “Big Foot” and play basketball in a giant arena. In the city of Rolling Town, Dan JD and his companions take the sport to the streets, rename it “Basquash”, and then embark on a journey to overcome their past hardships and make their dreams come true.

After BFB took to the streets to create Basquash another company tried to monopolize this new sport creating a new league but Dan JD and his team realised this still wasn’t the Basquash they created and therefore went out to play their own true underground form of the sport. We learn much about our characters, Dan JD, who was originally banned from BFB because of the destruction he causes at their championship. He has spent a year in prison and amounted enormous debt but still he wants to play the game. He wants to make up for the fact that his sister (who was a better player than him) had her legs destroyed by a Big Foot. Now he plays because she can’t and is ever growing in strength and skill. Like all good protagonists he is stubborn, proud and brave, he doesn’t back down and he gives everything for his game with passion and enthusiasm. Joining him in his team are Sela d Miranda and Iceman Hottie. Now Iceman Hottie is a character that lives up to his name which is always good and definitely supplies us girls with eye candy, with his angsty past, his slightly split personality, his amazing game play he is near unbeatably and makes for one extremely strong Basquash player. Basquash has a great collection of characters and yes there are plenty of big breasted girls, lots of fan service but it never distracts from the series and is less obvious and in your face than an anime such as Line barrels.
The world they live in is also a good mix of future scapes and industrialization. You see the contrast between the moon world and the earth world and the different way the two civilizations live. People on the surface are trying to get to the moon, the chance of a better life. But it turns out there is more connecting these two civilisations. A great tragedy is prophesized to engulf both worlds and it’s not long before our team of Basquash players find themselves in the middle of it. There’s a bigger picture to the series than just the game they play, winning matches and proving yourself the best Basquash player. All that helps you grow and realize your full potential and that comes into play for the final battle to save the planets. The series is also well paced, a great mixture of drama, comedy, fighting spirit and real threat. It also has great music I just love the opening and ending themes for this series they fit perfectly. “nO limiT” by Eclipse is a fun song performed by our idol group characters; many a great anime has an idol or group where would Macross be without its songs. While Eclipse isn’t quite there compared to the songs of Gundam Seed or Macross there’s still that element of a song bringing hope and strength to the battle which is a theme I’ve always like. Inspiration and power through something peaceful and artistic like music. And of course where’s there’s a female singer involved there’s a romance and like many a good series a nice love triangle. In fact Basquash shares a few similarities with the Macross franchise but without the epic war aspect. The smaller aspects are similar, music, relationships, reluctant hero’s, ace pilots and just an energy and vibrancy that goes with a great made series.

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Himitsu – The Revelation or Top Secret – A beautiful and disturbing little gem of an anime.

I seem to be quite good at finding little anime’s that not many people have watched but really should. This series I found happens to be excellent though very little info is on the web about it. The story takes place five decades from now, when brain scanners have been perfected to the point that the government can retrieve up to five years’ worth of memories from people’s minds — even if they are dead. The investigators of the National Research Institute of Police Science’s 9th Forensics Laboratory must weigh the ethical choices in the ultimate invasion of privacy as they delve into people’s minds to solve crimes. The show is a psychological version of something like CSI but with more weight and a far more disturbing turn. We have an elite police unit that focuses on trying to solve the crimes that would remain a mystery if it wasn’t for this fantastic new technology that is able to look into the memoires of the victims. The catch is the brain must be removed from the dead victim before a 48hr period to ensure that the memories are intact. With storylines such as political assassinations, brutal killings and deranged serial murderers there is much for fans of hard core police and crime dramas to enjoy. For me personally I prefer a little more dark side crime series so this was perfect. I have always loved mystery amine’s such as Detective Academy Q but this is a nice step away from series aimed at a younger audience into a far more adult show. The show itself is pictured more realistically, with character designs and settings looking much how you would find them in the real world. This immediately gives you a more realistic setting rather than the usual fantasy and escapist image of many anime’s. Also it gives you a little insight to the problems of the modern world the nature of escalating crime, humanities passion for more perverse violence and the changes in our culture and society that brings about new waves of crime. For example one story involves the nature of body modification and the new youth culture that has gone beyond tattoo’s and piecing as a way to express themselves and are finding more extreme ways to change their bodies and express their individuality.
By setting itself in the future it allows for the creation of this technology without having to explain too much about how it works. You don’t get bogged down in the science and therefore can enjoy the story without wondering exactly how they extract the memories. But it being the near future there are no flying cars and stereotypical science fiction elements, their world looks much like ours but with a few more technological breakthroughs and disturbing new forms of crime. This is definitely not a series for the faint of hearted not only are some of the cases particularly grotesque and alarming they do not shy away from showing you images that are disturbing. You see the inner working of serial killers minds as well as the horrific crimes they have committed. Scenes of mutilation and decay plus the effect these scenes have on the characters themselves. We are introduced to this story through the character of Ikkou Aoki who having successfully graduated police training is placed in the department. As the new guy it takes him a while to settle in and is frequently distressed and unsettled by the images he sees. It’s his caring and compassionate nature that allows him to make such an important member of the team. His innocence and kindness allows for him to not grow cold and distant from the crimes but to honestly want to solve them and protect the people from the harm these criminals are committing. It is also his own secrets that help him with unique views on the cases.
The series offers that everyone has secrets and where do our morals lie in looking into someone else’s memories even if it is to solve a crime. After all it’s not only the memories before death that are seen but other secrets that these victims may have wanted to keep. The people watching these images have a duty to solve the crime but not to judge the victims on anything else they may see. Aoki knows it’s a thin line they walk and that it’s dangerous to get too involved with what you must personally be thinking when trying to solve a case. The real heart and soul of this team however is Tsuyoshi Maki. A very effeminate and fragile looking young man who is in fact a very strong and determined person. He has his own tragedy and secrets but is focused and dedicated to using this technology to solve crimes and help as many people as possible. Aoki himself says that one day he will discover Maki’s secret but until then he wishes to stay close and protect Maki hopefully one day being as strong as him so they can stand as equals. Maki is incredible haunted young man and the burdens he carries is far more terrifying than most people would cope with not. Not only does he have to live with killing his best friend and Aoki’s resemblance (particularly) in personality to him, but the whole case surrounding his friends death and the serial killer of 37 boys and young men that left to severe mental destruction. The mental scars are enormous and the series slowly starts to piece together this horrific murder, torture and mutilation on boys and how Maki is at the centre of it. Maki has caught the attention of a truly disturbing serial killer who plagues Maki’s memories throughout the series.
I personally think Maki may also be dealing with more than just having his psyche, will power and memories bombarded with gruesome images by a love sick killer. He is also dealing with his own feelings toward the best friend who died and Aoki. I know being a slash fan gives me queer goggles and it’s not just Maki’s feminine features that make me think he is hiding his own homosexuality it’s a couple of scenes that clearly allude to the fact that Maki is also punishing himself for having feelings for his friend in the past and now Aoki. I personally think Maki can do better than Aoki but that’s not the point of the series. It’s a psychological thriller, a crime drama and a look at the horrors of the human mind. A place where only the strongest can stand to look and where only by having your own secrets and demons can you bear to look at and understand other peoples.

Check out the My Yaoi, Shonen ai, Boys love Slashable anime list!!

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