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Broken Anime

I just tried to watch a feature from Comix Wave called Asylum Session. That was a non-starter. It’s a cell-shaded computer animated feature, and oh man it looks just awful. This might sound snobbish, but I watched maybe two minutes of it. The animation is overly bright and garish. Characters move awkwardly and freeze perfectly still to talk to someone. And their mouths, sweet merciful crap what is up with the way their mouths move?

It’s unwatchable. It’s broken. I don’t think I’ve ever given up on something so fast. Reboot has better animation, and that show is over 10 years old. I can’t believe this is the same company that’s been involved in Makoto Shinkai’s productions. I only hope Asylum Session represents the worst of Comix Wave’s catalog, because if its produced something even more awful I don’t wanna know about it.

Giving up on Asylum Session reminded me of another CG anime I gave up on sometime last year: Freedom. Katsuhiro Otomo’s name is attched to the project, but don’t let that fool you, he just did some mecha designs and has been reluctant to talk about his involvement at length. I’ve heard the story of Freedom criticized a fair bit, but if you ask me the animation is the reason why that OVA doesn’t work.

Freedom is better than Asylum, but the character animation is still unnatural. People in Freedom’s world wobble around while they talk and their mouths contort awkwardly when they speak. Worse yet, a lot of the background work is done in traditional style, including incidental characters, and the two do not mesh well at all. I technically finished the first two episodes of Freedom, but I mentally checked out when Takeru saw a traditionally animated character he thought he recognized in the middle of the second episode. As his hand reached out to touch her shoulder, she turned into a computer animated character. Ouch.

I certainly think it’s possible for worthwhile computer animated features to be made in Japan. Although the stories may not be perfect, titles such as the Appleseed movies and Final Fantasy: Advent Children can be a lot of fun to watch. The animation is nowhere near Pixar or even Dreamworks quality, but those features are by no means badly animated. However, if the budget or the talent just isn’t there, computer animation should not even be attempted. I’ve built up something of a tolerance to bad traditional animation, but bad computer animation? I raise my white flag and retreat.

5 Responses to “Broken Anime”

  1. Ghostwriter Says:

    Hello Marc! I recently reread your review of “Puni Puni Poemy.” The way you wrote the review,it sounds like this Nabeshin is quite a character. In my opinion,if anyone on earth deserves the title “the Mel Brooks of anime,”it’s this guy. Just in case you don’t know who Mel Brooks is,I’d suggest looking this guy up. Wikipedia would be a good place to start. Well Marc,what do you think?

  2. Chainclaw Says:

    Marc didn’t write this blog post. Be sure you check the name at the top before you respond.

  3. Ghostwriter Says:

    Oops! Sorry!

  4. Ghostwriter Says:

    Recently,I read in the latest issue of “Otaku USA” that they’re going to be re-releasing three “Ghost in the Shell” movies. Two of them are compilations of episodes from the tv show,the other is a stand-alone production. For me,it’s a fairly good show with one huge flaw that it has yet to overcome.
    The “Ghost in the Shell” franchise has a pretty solid premise. It takes place in a future where people are cyberized or transformed into robots. That’s a pretty good idea and the show shines best when it gives us the ins and outs of this world.

    The show sometimes bogs itself down in a lot of technobabble. But,that flaw is minor compared to what seems to me to be it’s biggest flaw,it’s anti-Americanism. It seems that from the few episodes of the show in which they appear or that I’ve seen,Americans are seen as jerks at best,villains at worst or some combination thereof. And no,I haven’t really read the manga but it’s a pretty safe bet that the portrayal of this country in it is probably worse.
    Couldn’t the creator of the series have created an America where cyberization is a hot-button issue,like abortion or illegal immigration is now? The person who created the series had a pretty good idea on his hands. Why did he have to ruin it with needless America-bashing? I don’t have an answer to that question. I hope someday someone will give me an answer to it.

  5. Ghostwriter Says:

    About a month ago,I read a column on the Anime News Network website. It was by Jason Thompson. It was called “House of a 1000 Manga.” I found out about an bizarre yet little-known manga called “Baron Gong Battle.” From what I got from the article it was supposed to be a salute to Hollywood action flicks. It tried to combine said flicks with the shonen genre of anime and manga.
    What got my attention was that it said that it was also set in the United States. It’s plot seemed to revolve around a bartender that’s enlisted to fight against a bunch of artificial humans that were created by the Nazis during World War II.

    From what I also read it didn’t do very well here. Only six of it’s nine books were ever translated into English. And I think I have a pretty good idea as to why. Two very successful examples of the shonen genre in this country,”Bleach” and “Naruto” have likable,sympathetic heroes that the audience cares about. “Baron Gong Battle’s” hero comes across as an unlikable jerk. Not the type of person most Americans would want to read about,much less go on an adventure with.
    Also,it may have had the elements for a successful manga but didn’t know what to do with them. It just goes completely over-the-top in a very unbelievable way. There didn’t really seem to be anything really believable about it. I admit that I haven’t read the manga. I’m going by what I read about it in the column and the two reviews I dug up online.

    I don’t seem to mind someone paying tribute to the Hollywood action movies or combining them with the Japanese shonen genre. I wouldn’t object too much if a manga artist did a Japanese genre like the harem manga and set it in America. All I want is for it to be good. What do you guys think?