Thursday, January 28, 2021

The 12 Most Interesting Anime Reviewed in The Land of Obscusion's First Decade Part 2

The internet has made it rather popular for people to just rag on stuff that isn't great, and while I don't have any problems with doing just that (I've certainly ragged on bad productions here every now & then), I do think that such thinking often becomes a victim of its own hype, so to speak. It becomes easy to just write stuff off as mere crap that has nothing of value to it, outside of being reliable for a cheap joke, and in turn it gives people a way to feel artificially superior, because "they know better" by way of seeing other people act that way. I knew that I never wanted this blog to ever get caught in that way of thinking, because even the absolute worst anime I've ever reviewed had those glimpses of merit to them; they just didn't take advantage of those benefits. That's why I think it's more interesting for me to go over the "most interesting" titles I've reviewed, instead of simply looking back on "the worst" & feeling superior, because I know how to rag on it.

But enough rambling, let's move on the other "most interesting" anime I reviewed from December 2010 to the end of 2020. Sorry, but no "Honorable Mentions" this time around, though you could also include Yugo the Negotiator here as well, simply because of that whole "two completely different studios & staff worked on each half of the show" concept.

We start the second half of this list with a somewhat notorious anime that I actually enjoy in a completely unironic fashion (i.e. I don't think it's "So Bad, It's Good", but rather think it's legitimately good), but I can fully see why it wound up becoming a laughing stock. In fact, I won't even bring up my bizarre (& completely accidental) "argument" with professional translator Neil Nadelman over this anime, because I've done so before in the past, and it's honestly rather silly & "totally lame" to mull over it. Running from 2003 to 2007 in Shinchosha's Weekly Comic Bunch magazine, Naikaku Kenryoku Hanzai Kyousei Torishimarikan/Government Crime Investigation Agent Zaizen Jotaro is a 17-volume seinen manga written by ex-Tokyo PD detective Ken Kitashiba & drawn by Yasuhiro Watanabe, a former assistant to the legendary Tetsuo Hara, detailing the various adventures of the titular Jotaro Zaizen, an ex-cop who fakes his death after an attempt at arresting a foreign dignitary results in government corruption allowing the dignitary to get away scot-free. After some time abroad, during which he gains access to the Zainers Gold Black Card that gives him access to nigh-infinite funds after rescuing a member of British royalty, Zaizen returns to Japan to join the newly-formed GCIA, an extralegal department meant to put a stop to Japanese government corruption & hold those responsible for their crimes.

Friday, January 22, 2021

The 12 Most Interesting Anime Reviewed in The Land of Obscusion's First Decade Part 1

It's usually standard protocol for anyone who writes about stuff on the internet that if you make a "best of" list then you have to follow it up with a "worst of" list, as a sort of karmic balance, I guess. Admittedly, I did first think of doing that, but the simple fact of the matter is that I don't actively aim to watch & review stuff that I know is bad, so the overall list was rather small & I didn't want to just put stuff that wasn't anywhere near as bad as what I already had listed so as to fill things out to twelve entries; Gin-Iro no Olynssis was bad, but not "the worst", for example. However, most of the stuff I had picked for a theoretical "worst of" list were also notable in that they had another similarity to them: They were all "interesting" in some notable fashion.

So, while there will be a bit of "the worst" to be found here, let's instead go over what I feel are easily the anime I've reviewed over the past decade that had the "most interesting" aspects to them, whether it was bizarre storytelling, a unique production history, or just something to it that you would have never expected at first glance.

While there are video game companies that predate it by way of originally working in non-video game industries, Nihon Falcom is one of the oldest game developers in the world that's still active, having been formed back in 1981. It wouldn't take too long for Falcom to start becoming a notable developer with Dragon Slayer in 1984, but it was Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu the following year that made Falcom a major name in RPGs. It sold over 400,000 copies in 1985 alone, which was just unheard of for Japanese PC games at the time, & in 1986 Falcom released Xanadu Scenario II, one of the earliest expansion packs ever (& the debut of an 18-year old Yuzo Koshiro). Then, in 1987, a manga interpretation titled Xanadu -Dragon Slayer Densetsu- came out, drawn by then-Falcom employee Kazuhiko Tsudzuki, and in 1988 Falcom finally saw its very first anime adaptation by way of a 50-minute OVA with the same name as the manga, though I don't know if it's actually an adaptation.

Friday, January 15, 2021

The 12 Best Anime Reviewed in The Land of Obscusion's First Decade Part 2

Reducing this list of "the best" to only twelve (overall) picks was by no means an easy task. I could have easily made this list twice as long, and still feel that there would be some notable omissions. Therefore, allow me to start the second half with some "honorable mentions", because they still are worth bringing up:
-Yugo the Negotiator (two halves done by two completely different studios & staffs, and both are great stories)
-Hareluya II BØY (animation is cheap & chintzy, but literally everything else is just outstanding)
-Yakitate!! Japan (some might feel the comedy goes too ridiculous the longer the show goes, but it's still easily one of the funniest anime I have ever seen)
-Saint Seiya: Legend of Crimson Youth (if you only ever see one Seiya anime, it should be this, as it's the purest distillation of the series & the best movie)
-Ring ni Kakero 1 (because of course it would be included somewhere here)

So, with that out of the way, let's move on to the other half of the best anime I've reviewed on this blog over the previous decade!

Yasuhiro Imagawa may not have a large amount of anime on his resume, but his work as a director is generally considered some of the best out there. However, not mentioned anywhere near as much is Imagawa's work as a screenwriter, which he actually has a slightly larger amount of titles to his name, though this does include some anime that he also directed. The first time he was in charge of series composition (i.e. he was head writer) but didn't also direct was Violinist of Hameln, the 25-episode TV anime adaptation of the manga by Michiaki Watanabe. This anime debuted at the end of 1996, following a theatrical short film earlier that same year which was done by a completely different studio & staff. However, whereas the movie is accurate to the comical stylings of the manga, the TV series went in a completely different direction, and Yasuhiro Imagawa made sure he delivered on director Junji Nishimura's concept... All by himself.

Friday, January 8, 2021

The 12 Best Anime Reviewed in The Land of Obscusion's First Decade Part 1

Welcome to 2021 here at The Land of Obscision, the start of a brand new decade for the blog! For those unfamiliar, I have indeed been putting out new pieces at this blog focused on the obscure & forgotten for just barely over 10 whole years, which often seems to surprise people. Because of that, I have done traditional reviews for, as of the start of this year, nearly 257 different anime & manga (there are some multi-part reviews, hence the "nearly"), as well as video games & "other" adaptations of anime/manga. Therefore, after an entire decade, I think it's time for me to finally look back & pick twelve review subjects that I feel were the best of them all! Before we start, though, some ground rules. First, this is for anime only, as they make up ~83% of the counted reviews. If you're curious what the best manga, games, & "other" reviewed are, though, it'd be (in no order) B't X (Manga), Ring ni Kakero 1 (Manga), Bastard!! (Manga), Otoko Zaka, Super Robot Wars GC/XO (Game), Fuma no Kojirou (Live-Action), & Team Astro (Live-Action). Second, like what I just did, this isn't a numbered list in any way, though I will be saving the "best" of them all for last in Part 2. Finally, while I could certainly include more, this will be only a list of twelve (though multiple reviews will count together in some instances), as that's my standard amount for lists like these. Why? Because I like to go one step beyond "one step beyond", and it also can still be split up evenly.

With that out of the way, let's start with what is easily the oldest review in this list!

Dororo [1969]
For most, if you were to ask them what their favorite Osamu Tezuka creation is, I'm sure the most common answer would be either Astro Boy, Black Jack, Phoenix, or maybe one of his gekiga-esque works. Personally, though, my favorite is definitely Dororo, which is admittedly amusing since Tezuka had admitted that the only reason he even made the manga was because he saw how successful Shigeru Mizuki's GeGeGe no Kitaro was doing, and Tezuka's competitive nature made him jealous; to no surprise, Dororo barely ran for a whole year before getting cancelled. However, it's that very short-lived nature that has allowed Dororo to have a long life in the annals of Tezuka's vast catalog, as literally every single adaptation of the manga goes into its own direction, especially when it comes to giving the plot a proper finale, which Tezuka was never able to. The first of these adaptations was the 1969 TV anime adaptation done by Mushi Pro, Tezuka's original anime studio, and it's just outstanding.