Posts Tagged ‘surreal’

Anime Spotlight – Ranpo Kitan Game of Laplace

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This anime was a wild little find and one of those series that no one talks about but is definitely more original and interesting than most other series out there. The anime is inspired by the works of author Edogawa Ranpo and commemorates the 50th anniversary of his death in 1965.
It’s a murder mystery detective show with a lot of social commentary about the state of modern Japan mixed with horror elements. The show has great cases such as a serial killer making furniture out of women and does not shy away from some disturbing images, it is the very definition of aesthetic violence. They use a lot of very artistic but dark imagery which I really love. What’s awesome is that under the cases there is a feeling of dissatisfaction in Japanese society being reported on the TV, they story brings in ideas about the failing justice system and they rise of those who are not supported by modern Japanese values. If you liked Psycho Pass and want to see an anime tackle similar issues but in a different genre this anime does it very well.

The cast is a diverse mix of characters that all have some interesting personal quirks with the exception of Hashiba the voice of reason. Our main character is Kobayashi a boy bored by his life and a weird sense of what is attractive and interesting until he meets detective Akeshi a 17 year old detective. Kobayashi is suspected in a murder case but after working with Akeshi to solve the mystery he decides to become the detective’s assistant as it’s the first time he’s really had fun. Kobayashi’s best friend Hashiba tags along to be the voice of reason and keep him grounded (plus it’s rather obvious that he’s in love with Kobayashi). There are some very colourful characters but there are better off kept a surprise.
The show has a great art style using metaphor and staging to display various points and bring a great surrealism to it. I see flashes of Ikuhara (Utena, Mawaru PenguinDrum) but darker in this series and very much Danganronpa. The show looks great, has real emotion, dark and imaginative cases, quirky characters, unique set pieces, grittiness and great social commentary so was a real win for me.
Plus a bonus for a fugoshi some real slash/BL potential.

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Durarara!!!!! – An anime of surrealism and complications that’s very intriguing if a bit weird.

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Just finished watching this which I enjoyed immensely because it was a bit odd. The plot follows Mikado Ryūgamine is a young man who longs for the exciting life of the big city. At the invitation of his childhood friend Kida Masaomi, he transfers to a school in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Masaomi warns him about people he doesn’t want to cross in the city: a violent man dressed like a bartender, an information merchant, and a mysterious gang called “Dollars.” And to top it off, Mikado witnesses an urban legend on his first day in the city: the “Black Rider,” the supposedly headless driver of a black motorcycle. The narrative follows all of the characters equally, showing how their lives intersect, creating a greater plotline from what each character knows about a common incident.

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At first it’s hard to tell what the plot is really I mean it’s made up of characters that seem to have nothing in common apart from they live in Ikebukuro and how in fact all their lives are inter-linked. Sounds normal enough if it wasn’t for the fact that no one in this series is normal. I mean this is a real genre hybrid at first I didn’t know if it was a high school drama, a supernatural show, a show about hidden powers, gang warfare, romance or mystery but in truth it’s a mix of all these. It’s rather confusing at first but once you sit back and accept all these things and that it’s just how it is you can enjoy it so much more. I had no idea where this series was going to go the first half seemed to be about the nature of the very supernatural character Celty, a Dulahan fairy (headless rider) from Ireland that travels to Japan to get back her stolen head. Needless to say she soon discovers there are more important things than getting her head like where and how she belongs in this modern society and her true feelings. The second half is where the real plot kicks in as it turns out that there is so much more to the three main protagonists as their secrets and alternate lives are revealed and how it affects their new life. I like the animation style of this series plus the character designs there a little more lined and sketchy which gives it an interesting edge. The scoring also helps with how surreal and odd this series is it really adds another layer as it matches the tones as well as the unfamiliar and strange aspects of the series.

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There’s a great cast of characters who all get equal screen time and time to tell their stories and how they fit into the bigger picture. Although don’t expect to know everything about them some things are left unexplained which adds to the mystery of the setting. You don’t need to know everything about a person to know where they stand and how they feel. This series is really about humanity, what it means to be human, how we feel about others, what we do to protect and keep others safe. How our different ideals and thoughts affect those around us, if you hide something to protect someone you could end up hurting them more. What is it we really desire, what are our fears and why we react the way we do and what are we truly looking for in life, what’s our place where do we truly call home. The show is full of these questions it’s about finding ones place and feelings and discovering what truly matter whether your human or not in the case of Durarara. The show has a mix of supernatural mysteries and the misunderstandings of youth strongly combined to complement each other and really make you think. You get very invested in the lives of these characters and want their safety and happiness to be confirmed. The main characters all go on a journey of self-awareness and discovery with the help of older characters who have found their place and have come to understand themselves. It’s actually quite beautiful and sad at times watching the conflicting emotions and trials of these characters and you do want the best for them.

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That’s not to say this series is all drama and emotional back story having a supernatural element also means the fair share of odd goings on and hidden dangers, ranging from a mysterious slasher, hacking their way through the local population to Celty herself who rides a black motor bike wielding a scythe cutting down foes and protecting allies. There’s a fair bit of action as Celty uses her powers freely against those that oppose her and yet she herself is quite a gently and caring person that doesn’t really want to hurt anyone unless they harm her friends. There’s also the amazing character of Shizuo Heiwajima who is my fav character and not just cause he’s hot, tall with blonde hair, it because while being calm and peaceful most of the time he has a very short fuse. He berates himself as someone who hates violence but unfortunately has the temper of a volcano and once he is angered he is a bit mental. Once in a rage and that’s very often he displays superhuman strength and is known as the strongest man in Ikebukuro. He has the ability to bring out unlimited strength and while his weapons of choice are normally vending machines and road signs he is also brilliant in a hand to hand brawl. One of the most amazing scenes in the series is when people are being transformed into slaves of a sword that wants to love humans but can only do so by cutting them. This sword decides it loves Shizou so sends all its victims to attack him and show him its love. What ensues is a brawl between Shizou and about a hundred possessed people which is a brilliant fight scene, he runs across heads, punches people across town, picks up the entire mod at one point and just gets stronger and stronger during the fight, it’s awesome!!!!

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But yes this series has a bit of everything from high drama, to supernatural mysteries, romance, horror, fight scenes and gang warfare. The gang storyline is very important to the series as they way that our protagonists are tied to the different gangs but that’s something I won’t spoil you have to watch to find out how good if a bit weird this series is!!!!

Check out the My Yaoi, Shonen ai, Boys love Slashable anime list!!
http://www.lzsy.co.uk/2012/12/my-yaoi-shonen-ai-boys-love-slashable-anime-list/

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