Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Night Before The Voyage

I'm on a highway to hel(sinki that is). I'll be leaving in just over an hour from now, and I probably won't be able to access the Internet this weekend and neither Monday or Tuesday, probably. I spent this night watching some anime, and in between, the Nostalgia Critic (I did this while I was waiting for the anime episodes to stream). I'll talk about these two things in my post.

First off, I really like the Nostalgia Critic. He's funny and he really makes a point with his videos, even though I sometimes disagree with him. I was watching his review of The Wizard, and it really got me thinking. How could they get away with such a thing back then? Like he said, it's much more fun to play video games than to watch a movie about people playing video games. Indeed, such a movie would be stupid, they wouldn't make things like this nowada-... hmm... I just remembered Duel Masters and Yu-Gi-Oh! (*shiver shiver*) Talk about pathetic... Also, that movie had commercial written all over it. I'm thinking, the nowadays equivalent of the sequence when they presented Super Mario Bros. 3 would be having someone play Duke Nukem Forever (actually... that would be pretty mind-blowing). But nowadays we have E3 for that. Anyway... I don't remember seeing this movie when I was little (of course not, we didn't even have Nintendo here, we all had those Chinese-made rip-off consoles), but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have found it interesting, not even back then... which is something I cannot say about Mortal Kombat, which I just loved (I was always more of a Mortal Kombat fan than a Street Fighter fan, since I had a PC), and still think is a cool movie (disagreeing with the Nostalgia Critic yet again).

Ok, now that that's out of the way, let's get onto the more important thing I want to talk about. The anime I watched, which happenes to be ef - a tale of memories. This is a romantic anime, and it is by far one of the most beautiful anime I've ever seen. I have nothing but praise for this one. Seriously, I find no words to express how great it is. I honestly regret having the need to stream it and not watching it some time before in higher quality. Before I go on, for all of you romantics, artists and dreamers out there, this is a must see.

Now that I've finished with the introduction, let's talk about the anime a little. Like all great romantic anime, this one is also the adaptation of an adult visual novel (which is a euphemism for eroge, short for "erotic game") entitled ef - a fairy tale of the two. The list could go on forever, starting with Air and ending with Higurashi no Naku Koro ni... ok, maybe that's not really a romantic story, but you get the idea. It is no surprise that I mentioned Air, since it's the first thing that came into my mind while I was watching ef - a tale of memories. Actually, it was the second, the very first thing that came into my mind was INSERT FAVOURITE MAKOTO SHINKAI ANIME TITLE HERE. And no wonder, since it was none other than Makoto Shinkai who made the opening of the game. And his influence is felt throughout the anime. I'm going to talk about the visuals later on. Now, let's just get back to the story... ... ... Ok, that's it! I'm not telling you anything about the story. Why? Because it's just too damn good to spoil any of it. Suffice to say, it involves boys and girls (yes, more of them, but not at the same time, not really, only in parallel stories) and their relationships. Like someone says (right here in this anime I'm reviewing): "There is no such thing as friendship between a boy and a girl", and thus you understand where I'm getting. Of course you do, I said it off the bat that this was a romance anime, didn't I? But that's not enough to express what I'm talking about. This anime is about LOVE!!! I mean it! The strong feelings it conveys are overwhelming, but I'll get back to that (as well as the visuals, later). Let me finish with the story... ... ... besides the fact that it is hypnotizing, every moment fills you more and more, and just when you've thought you're about to overflow (remember Mamimi ;) ) they give you more and more. Top that with a breath-taking ending, and there you have it. Now as far as the stories go, they don't entwine as much as I would have liked them too (like the magnificent work in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni), but that doesn't make them stand out individually. Also, I believe they wouldn't have had the same effect, had they been separated (unlike in Diamond Dust Drops, for example). So much for the story... I'm not telling any more, honest... go watch it!

Now, onto the other parts, after all, a story alone doesn't make a good anime. And there is more to this anime than the story, I assure you. I stood up talking about the visuals, so I'll get to it now. Like I said before, they have the mark of Makoto Shinkai on them. Though they lack the play of lights and shadows, the thing which I adore most in the works of Makoto Shinkai, they do compensate with those other trademark shots (empty scenes, even though the characters are talking; landscapes in which the tiny characters seem to disappear; scenes in which only parts of the characters are shown with their faces awkwardly being off screen). Coupled with these visuals are powerful artistic images: crayon drawings of the characters, monocoloured frames (for example, the screen going red for a moment when someone skips a heartbeat), the scenes gradually losing colour and a lot more that I simply can't describe. On top of the stunning visuals and the powerful images comes the spine-chilling music. It is more than appropriate, it is fantastic. The tune isn't exactly catchy, but it gets carved into your heart. It gave me goosebumps when I heard it, and whenever I recall it, it still makes me shiver (pretty much like the opening of Kana ~Little Sister~). Now, all these create a heart-stopping atmosphere that is indescribable. I really don't know what to compare it with. It is tragic and beautiful, painful and lovely, burning and soothing...

Now, about the themes. It does have some fantastic elements, but it's far from being Air. It's more down to earth, and I guess I can relate to it more. It talks about love (naturally), dreams, choice, memory, silence, colours and everything in between. On top of that, it has a guy looking like a young Kaji (from Neon Genesis Evangelion), giving one of the kids advice, although not in a melon patch.

Once again, for all of you romantics, artists and dreamers out there, this is a must see. That's all I have to say about that.

1 comment:

tibi masterofalltime said...

HAAAA! sweet irony! you have seen "the wizard". we watched it together when you were really young. you might not remember; we didn't see it from the start. there was a sequence when lucas is using a powerglove(tm) to play some racing game. and you know what, you have actually liked it. we both did. :p

anyway, let me suggest an anime with really weird camera angles, some romance and a healthy dose of mystery: "zettai shounen". you should watch it. and you still haven't seen "100 stories".

hyvaa matkaa!