Monday, July 13, 2009

It's been a hard twelve night...

Don't worry folks, this blog isn't dead just yet!

"I Want a Boyfriend Too! A Trap on a Luxury Cruise Ship"

-You know, I really like Thetis. Not only does she actually have a personality and comes up with the plan this time, her feelings and relationship with Jadeite we don't know about really beings a refreshing change of pace. If only the other Youmas were like her.
-The revel/staging of the cruise thing actually being a commercial didn't come across as well as it should have.
-If the subs are right, nice touch of the maximum passenger capacity being 666.
-Heh, Umino being hit by Usagi in the dream sequence is so unexpected, it's amusing.
- Is it just me, or is Unimo's hair more "spiky" than usual? And speaking of Unimo, I notice Unimo's "eyes" actual move. So I guess they're not part of the glasses!

-It's a split second thing, but check out Usaigi's hair after Unimo said where the tickets are. A visual technique that we won't be seeing a lot that I wish it did.
-Man, this season really liked exaggerating Usagi's running ability now, didn't it?
-Odd use of a high angle when Rei said "Invitation for two". Ditto on closing in on Rei's monologue.
-I don't know if it's becuase of the animators working on other shows, but what is up with the background characters in this scene?

-I do like the use of fiery backgrounds when Rei uses the machine. Very atmospheric over something pretty small.
-Also, I'm starting to notice that this show loves highlighting certain scenes while the rest isn't in a certain angle, like what I saw with Usagi when she finds out about Rei's situation. This is like the fifth time I saw this on the show.
-I've heard somewhere that whenever you see silhouettes in a crowd shot in animation, it's pretty much an animated shortcut. Nonetheless, it does works in a night time setting like it was used in this episode.
-Interesting use of a up angle shot on Usagi after Luna's complaining. I wonder if it used for Luna's perspective on Usagi? If it was, nice touch.
-Imagine that, no lipstick this time on the disguise.
-One thing I don't get about villains in shows like this. Why do they remind themselves about they're own plan? I know they do that for the audience, but from a storyteller's point of view, that's just bizarre. Nice use of black spirits things to tell the plan in a "head only" approach though.
-Speaking of bizarre, why did Jadeite gave himself a tan and black hair for this disguise? According to the other episodes, he can pull off disguises without them, so why for this one? Make him more handsome or something?

-Hey look, a music cue that'll be used later for the pre-commercial break R eyecatcher! How quaint!
-Another up angle shot when we see Jadeite looking at Usagi. Hm, lots of "looking into something through a high angle" angles in this episode for some reason.
-Again, I really like the change of pace of the Youma (Thetis) doing the plan and Jadeite just following along. Also, all of this because Thetis loves Jadeite and wants his attention just makes me wish we have more Youmas who are interesting and are non-one dimensional. If only, if only...
-Only in animation when eating is made funnier with facial distortions and exaggerating acting.

-Wow, what's up with Ami's neck in the dinning scene? And speaking of Ami, one thing I'm starting to notice about her is that in these early episodes, she's not really emotional invested into things, at least, compared to her behavior in the future. I mean, not only does she seems to be more focused into studying, she's making a lot of casual one-liners and facial expressions in this particular episode. Whenever or not I'll miss it later on, we'll see. 'Til then...
Seriously, pretty jarring.
-Okay, Ami just being "surprised" (wasn't really conveyed that well) about Sailor Moon came out of nowhere. I can't describe in words on how unintentionally funny/sad that part is.
-Now here's a weird staging problem when Sailor Moon is seen. The camera pans up to her, but during this, there's moon beams that distract you to the right of the screen, and when the pan is finished with the moon beams, it looks awkward and cluttered. Not a highlight of the show's visual moments I admit...
-However, the clear use of abstract backgrounds on Thetis approaching Sailor Moon IS a nice visual moment.
-And why is Luna telling Sailor Moon about Thetis's attacks when she can see it herself? Then again, lots of comic books love stating the obvious...
-No Tuxedo Mask in this episode I see...
-I never noticed the spinning background during "Bubble Spray" until now. And I knew about the "missing glove frame" before that!
-Ending was kinda redundant though.

Overall: As you can see with me pointing out small details, this isn't a strong episode, but by all means does it not suck. I really liked the Youma in this one, the characterizations were okay and there were some good facial expressions, but the plot and animation wasn't anything special. So, all in all, pretty average (yet again).

All images are from "the oracle". That is true, that IS possible!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Eleven Heaven!

Okay, let's see if I can actually post this without procrastination this time...

Usagi vs Rei? A Nightmare in Dreamland

-First episode Masahiro Ando is credited as the animation director. Therefore, keep your eye out for more circular faces and lots of facial expressions!
-Well, it's unneeded, but it's nice to know the three girls already have a chemistry to work off each other for the next 14 or so episodes.
-Third mention of the princess. Thrown away casually as usual, I see.
-Interesting angle in the Dark Kingdom when we see the soldiers. It's not seen well, but I appreciate that it's not a head-on angle this time.
-The reveal of Jadeite wasn't really executed that well. Not only can you see part of his hair a little when you see him before the revel, giving you a clue alredy, he plays it in a calm matter. It should be a minor shock, but that didn't happen.
-Love the facial expressions on the characters after we see Usagi on the merry-go-round. The timing on that was great.
-Okay, what's up with Ami in this shot?
-Nice use of delay timing when Usagi sees the lion, as it makes the reaction funnier, and a interesting use of using straight shapes and lines when she reverted to Rei. Uses the frenzy and panic of Usagi very well. Get used to it though, as it's used a few times in this series.
-Great face on Rei after Usagi gets off on her. Nice use of a upward camera angle too.
-BTW, while I'll like the use of a more circular head on the Dream Princess, as it makes her distinguishable from the other characters, unfortunately, that circular face will be used for the other characters in future episodes Ando worked on. It's fine now, but wait until we get to S, it'll get ugly...
-Suspenseful background behind Jadeite there. Too bad the use of primary colors ruins it a little bit.
-Wait, how did Usagi get that rabbit? That was unexpected, and not the good kind either.
-Now, the scene where Usagi and Rei fight over the kid with the bear is what Masahiro Ando excelled at. Funny facial expressions, abstract backgrounds, and fast pace timing. Now he was great at that. The stuff where it's slowed down and all sappy, however, he didn't do so hot on that. But I'll save that chapter for another day.
-The use of a roller coaster as a scene cut, however, doesn't work. Not only does it distract the viewer, it doesn't really make a lick of sense. I mean, how does a roller coaster transition a scene flawlessly?
-You know, Mamoru being on that train doesn't really make sense. Even if we leanr more about the character later in the show, it still doesn't make sense.
-A unique way of ending the first act. To explain, most episodes in this show end their first act by some still of something (like, a background before the fade in to the eyecatcher). Here, the train keeps going, and bam, eyecatcher. Interesting, isn't it?

-Thinking about it, isn't it kinda odd that Murid in this episode does a evil smirk in her non-evil disguise, but as a youma, never does? That's kinda, oddly weird, isn't it?
-This might be just me, but so far, Rei is kinda acting like a straightman, or a realist, to Usagi. Certainly a nice contract to Usagi's antics and crying if you ask me.
-Why do I have a feeling that there a story about a snake and becoming stoned somewhere?
-First use of "Begone, Evil Spirits!" Surprised that didn't hurt her though.
-Whoa, Murid's transformation was great. Not only was it on 24 fps, it just felted a little spooky, but not the scary kind. That's my nomination for "Best Youma transformation during Jadiete's time on the show".
-Sheesh, that's the third time we see Luna in that "Watch out" pose was. I know this show reuses its' footage a lot, but that's just lazy.
-Yet another great facial expression when we see hearts coming out of Usagi's and Rei's eyes. See what I mean when facial expression was Ando's specialty?
-More great timing when we revel what Usagi and Rei were actually riding. Their voices suddenly stopping helps add to the hilarity.
-Reusing Tuexdo Mask's appearance from the first episode? Was the budget really that low?
-One of the few times in the show where two normal attacks were combined for massive damage. Again, certainly wouldn't be the last.
-Oh, before I forget, I notice that other then the mechanical animals, the episode didn't really used it's amusement park setting to it's potential. Oh well, at least we got pretty backgrounds to stare at that isn't Tokyo.
-There's that sitcomish ending again!

Overall: Sato once said to Ikuhara that he was overdoing his episodes, as seen as this episode was lighter then the previous episode he directed. Again, he was wrong, as this episode had what episode 6 had. A more interesing plot for once, characterizations being just right and not being completely annoying, and of course, some great animation. So, while this episode wasn't quite as good as the sixth episode, it's still a good one. I say give it a watch.

FUN FACT: Ikuhara was responsible for completely changing Rei's character, as seen by the comic dialogue in this episodes. There's more examples, so I'll point them out when we ge there. So, next time you complain about Rei's character in the anime, remember, it's Ikuhara fault!

All images are from "the oracle". What's that you say? You don't care? TOO BAD!

Ben Ten (yes, that's the best I can think of right now)

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y'alls neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpses shell
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller...

Cursed Buses! Fire Senshi Mars Appears

-The beginning scene with Beryl and Jadeite feels rather redundant now, doesn't it?
-Don't you think Usagi should at least mention what was up with the police car to Ami before being reminded by the other police car and Naru? Because I don't think people lose their curiosity when talking to someone.
-So, was Usagi supposed to be confused, worried, or what in the facial expression after Luna's comment? The clarity of it is wasn't coming across very well.
-And of course, the plot is flat out told in a overt fashion. How typical.
-Now's here something visual to look out for. Notice how Jadeite's eyes are in the dark, or not visible. Not only does it bring up a plot point for Rei later, it brings up visual interest to remind the young folks of the enemy. But, again, it's something to point out.
-To add on the visuals, look at the use of flames, the darking on Rei's eyes, and the usage of music on Rei's first appearance. Feels rather moody, doesn't it?
-You know, it's funny on how three girls just go along with the creepy old man's "ceremony". You think they make some comment on him and leave, but hey, what's the fun of that?
-Little do we know that Usagi actually becomes one for a while in episode 62 and 151. But that's another story...
-And thus a friendship begins. You know what I'm talking about.
-Also notice that while Jadiete attacks the girls, you can clearly see the eyes. Weird convenience? I think not.
-Nice use of primary colors and a camera angle when we see the schoolgirls. Brings a downcast approach to it pretty well.
-So wait a minute. Grandpa also hits on males? Either Grandpa's "Pepe Le Pew" approach to the ladies hadn't been developed yet, or he's using the males like in episode 136. Either way, let's not get anal about this.
-As much as there's charm in seeing some of the animation in these early episodes, man do some of them get off model pretty badly. Like this shot of Rei for instance...
-So, how can telling what's going on using flames made Luna assumes Rei could be the princess? I don't remember the actual princess telling the future when we see her later on.
-Again, I can see stuff like the dialogue between the mom and Rei happening in real life. Such progress we made, huh?
-Hey look, animation shortcut #723. No movement on the background characters!
-[Insert comment about Usagi's character here]
-Wow, nice use of flashing lights when Usagi said "no way, no way" on the bus. Definitely helps the frantic feeling of the scene. You know, as much as this episode isn't really interesting, at least from the visual standpoint, it on par with the other episodes, which of course, I like.
-Also, I don't know why, but I sorta like Ami's sudden shock when the portal shows up.

-See, Jadiete's eye connect to the plot somehow! Don't you love it when plot points like that connect each other?
-Okay, Usagi's personality right now is starting to remind me of Homer Simpson (no, not the episodes where he's a jerkass). The two of them changing their attuides like a dog, same lazy attitude, same happy go lucky lifestyle, you know what I'm talking about.
-However, not only was there was a nice use of abstract backgrounds again with Luna, after Usagi disguised herself, there's also a nice use if flahing backgorunds again when Usagi jumps. See what I mean about the visuals?
-You know what else I'm noticing? Every time Usagi is disguised, her disguise always comes with her wearing lipstick. And how does lipstick make you look different?
-See what I mean when Usagi reminds me of Homer? The "I don't wanna, but I'll do it" feels like something Homer would do.
- Note: The tiara actually doesn't kill the Youma this time. It also does some air move to trap the enemy according to this episode.
-Another Note: It also one of the rare episodes where another solider kills the youma, in this case, Mars with "Fire Soul" for the first time.
-Speaking about Mars, I'm not quite sure what Rei's character is the first time we meet her. Is she the serious, mysterious type, or is it something that only lasts this episode? Because unlike the introduction of the others, Rei isn't coming across who she is that well.
-Oh, and I'm not a huge fan that, somehow, Ami's pen extend the hole. That just feels so cliche and overused to me.

Overall: Yeah, as you can see, just like episode 8, other then introducing the next Sailor Solider, nothing really special happens in this one. The plot just feels uninspired again, the characterizations is mediocre again, and the drama I can take it and leave it. So, what the word I'm thinking of that's made for you and me? A-V-E-R-A-G-E!

The images are from "the oracle". Why? 'Cause I can thrill you more than any ghost would ever dare try

(P.S. Sorry to keep you guys waiting)