2009年1月12日月曜日

Manga, movie, anime recommendations

I never watch or read any kind of media without a recommendation first, because unfortunately unlike browsing the web, you can't just hop from site to site without any investment. So this post will be my first post where I recommend things to watch or read. I plan to do more of these in the future, but it won't be for a long while because it takes a while to build up enough things where you can write reviews like this.

I will give each a rating based on 6 stars (ten is way too much, five is one too few).
5 and 6 stars are a class of their own.
4 stars are worth the effort.
3 stars are things you watch/read if you're bored.

Manga

ぱられる(パラレル)***
This was an ok manga. It's about a this kid who likes a girl. But when he confesses his love for her, she rejects him. Not only that, but he goes home to find that his dad is remarrying... to the mother of the girl he confessed to. The series is about them living together for a year while their parents leave them to go on a rather long vacation. 4 volumes long. I was bored and this was recommend to me, so I thought, what the hell. I guess it was worth it. A good beginner's manga.
ぱられる cover

スクールデイズ ***
This was actually a very mediocre manga that was very short. It's about a kid who likes a girl, but is too much of a wimp to do anything about it. So he enlists the help of his friend (girl) to get them together and succeeds. The only problem is the friend also likes him. Very simple language, a bit funny, two volumes long. The only reason I mention this manga here is because of the ending. It has probably the best endings I've read in a long time and is completely unexpected for this type of story. Trust me, read this one for the ending, it'll only take you a day or two to finish it.

Also, if you're a sucky beginner to Japanese and you want a good but simple manga to start you off on, I recommend this one.


ラブひな ******
This one is a classic that probably doesn't need an introduction. It's about a guy named 景太郎 who moves into a girls dormitory. He acts like an idiot, then he gets punched into the sky. Actually as the story progresses, it gets a little lighter on the slapstick humor and focuses on the underlying story, which is 東大, archeology, and the relationships. 14 volumes of probably the best manga I've ever read.
ラブひな cover

涼風(すずか) *****
This is actually the first manga I read. Before starting Japanese, I never read manga. But when it was recommended to me I decided to try it, and I was hooked. I have fond memories staying up late and reading this.

It's about a high school transfer student 大和(やまと) going to live in his aunt's apartment building. From there he falls completely for the girl named 涼風 living next door. But because of unforeseen problems/drama, the first half of the series is driven by him trying to get her. The second half of the series is devoted to him trying to keep her as a girlfriend. Neither of these are easy tasks.

This manga has exceptionally good art. Practically every single frame had a well drawn background to it and the character art was extremely good. It's also not a "goofy" manga with the plot maintaining a realistic sense. 18 volumes long.
涼風 cover

あいこら(Love and collage) ****
This one is about a high school kid who has a "parts fetish". He likes specific types of "parts" (such as blue eyes, 新幹線200系オッパイ, a type of legs, etc.) and the story is about him living with girls who all have one type of part he likes. The plot is mostly driven by him getting in trouble over his fetish and him protecting the woman who hold his parts. I'm going to be honest, the chapters where it just got over the top with his fetish I skipped. But outside of that there was a decent plot. But don't read this and expect a very deep story, it's mostly a comedy. 12 volumes.
あいこら cover

Movies

修羅雪姫(しゅらゆきひめ)******
This movie is so over the top with blood and gore, it's where Tarantino got his inspiration for Kill Bill. It's about a woman who is born solely for the purpose of carrying out her mother's vengeance, and oh what a good job she does. This movie, after a bit of back story, is about after she has grown up and goes off to find the people who screwed over her mother. A very entertaining movie that is one of my personal favorites.
修羅雪姫 poster

タンポポ *****
This movie was brilliant in that the plot managed to be entirely about food and still be incredibly entertaining. To say this has a story would be going far, it's mostly a (comedic) documentary about Japan's obsession with food. It was made in 1985, also.

With that said, the basic plot is a woman named タンポポ who after enlisting the help of a cowboy trucker (A Japanese John Wayne look a like trucker) , goes to find the perfect ラメン recipe. Hilarity ensures.

クワイエットルームにようこそ *****
This film was recommended to be by a friend, and I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical. But it ended up being a very good film. It's about a normal woman who wakes up strapped to a bed in a mental hospital. The how and why don't come until a little later when her boyfriend comes and tells her she overdosed on pills. From that she's forced to stay in the mental hospital surrounded by crazies until she's released, where we find how just how normal she is.

If you liked One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, you'll like this. It's similar, but without the angst and bad ending. It has a good ending.

転々(てんてん)******
This movie is brilliant. The movie is about these two guys. 福原(ふくはら), who's a debt collector, is offering to pay the failing college student who's in debt 百万円 to go on a 東京散歩 with him. Along the way you find out more about the two guys and how they failed at life.

This movie is so good in that it has so many real life shots of Japan. It really made me feel like what I was watching is what Japan is really like, how people are formal/informal, what the city is like, what people are like, etc. If you love a big, cold city like I do, you'll love this movie.

You can watch the trailer here.


Anime

ラーゼフォン(RahXEphon) ******
This is a mecha anime. It's about a kid named 神名綾人(かみなあやと), which is a pretty badass name. We're told that after a catastrophic something happened, the only habitable place left to live is 東京. But the female protagonist finds him during the chaos of fighting in the first episode and takes him out of 東京 to the outside world where apparently time is years ahead there and 東京 is surrounded by a red barrier. The rest of the story is about him living in the outside word, operating a giant mecha to fight other mechas off, and trying to find out just what the hell is going on and who's pulling the strings. To top it all off, it has a decent love mystery behind it. Very highly recommended, action, romance, drama, robots, I don't think it can get any better.
RahXephon title

ギルガメッシュ(Gilgamesh)****
This anime is something else. It takes place after a major terrorist attack that covered the sky with a mirror and makes normal technology useless. The story follows the two children, a brother and sister, of the man who caused the disaster. With both parents dead and people after them for their mother's huge debt, they're brought to live with a woman who also has adopted several other children. But they're not normal, they have some sort of telekinesis and go around fighting these "Gilgamesh" monster things. It also turns out that the brother has the same abilities. The story is drivin by the mystery of it all. Why they have their powers, why the kid's father did what he did, what the Gilgamesh are, and most of all, which side to take.

This anime was a bit weird, but in a good way. It's something that not everybody would like, but I found it an enjoyable mystery.

Serial Experiments Lain ****
If you like computer "hacker" things, you'll like this. It's about a recluse girl who starts browsing the "Wired", which is a sort of futuristicy internet. Eventually she starts developing multiple personalities, among other things. It's very abstract and very out there. At only 13 episodes, it's definitely worth watching. Japanese beginners can probably enjoy this without too much trouble.
Serial Experiments Lain screenshot
Serial Experiments Lain Screen 2

Witchblade *****
This anime is very exciting to watch. It's also worth seeing. It's about a single mother who lands a job working for the head of a huge super corporation to kill their defunct cyborg killing machines that got loose during a huge earthquake years ago. But what could a single mother do to take care of them? She wields the witchblade. Normally an ordinary bracelet, but when it activates it turns her into a sexy killing machine with blades. Don't let that get in the way, though. I has a decent story with some very likable characters in it, that as the story progresses, the fighting gets less so and the history behind the characters (the single mom's memory is gone) takes hold. Ends up being a very good anime.
Witchblade title

Samurai Champloo *****
Do you like hip hop? Do you like samurai? Well how convenient, this anime has both. From the creator of Cowboy Bebop 渡辺 信一郎 (わたなべしんじろう), this anime does to hip hop what Cowboy Bebop did to Jazz. It's a story about a couple of expert samurai who hate each other traveling with a cute little girl trying to find a samurai who smells like sunflowers. This story doesn't need a deep plot simply because their adventures through Japan are enough to entertain. Very random and off the wall, I love it.

ノワール(Noir)******
This anime is brilliant. The music, the characters, the setting, all top notch. It follows the story of Mireille Bouquet, an assasin, after she finds 夕叢霧香(ゆうむらきりか) in the first episode. Both of them are extremely skilled killers, and it follows the story of them trying to find out about an evil kind of organization named Les Soldats who seems to be trying to kill them on occasion.

A very good plot with a lot of very good action scenes set to good music. It also is not bloody or gory at all, but they do kill a lot of people.

Noir poster

8 件のコメント:

  1. Cool, Love Hina (anime version, not manga) was my first anime (if you don't count a few isolated English dubs of DragonballZ my friends forced me to watch in junior high)

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  2. Dang. This list is worth 7 times it's weight in gold. Thank you so much! I think I'll be referring to this quite a bit in the future. I especially like the manga recommendations for beginners; I was kind of worried about having to randomly pick some manga once I start reading, but not anymore :) Thank you!

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  3. BTW, in case anyone else was using this list and had trouble finding some stuff (like the manga), fear not! I searched and searched for some of the manga, but I could NOT find any of it in Japanese (some was in Chinese) on yesasia or other sites. If you're interested, I found the website mangahelpers.com. They have all kinds of raw manga that you can read online or download (they even have the suzuka manga).

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  4. Everything on the list can be found online.

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  5. Out of interest, could you list the names of your preferred sites? Or are they from the raw server on IRC?

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  6. http://www.jcafe24.com/

    But they seem to be down right now.

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  7. "スクールデイズ ***
    This was actually a very mediocre manga that was very short. It's about a kid who likes a girl, but is too much of a wimp to do anything about it. So he enlists the help of his friend (girl) to get them together and succeeds. The only problem is the friend also likes him. Very simple language, a bit funny, two volumes long. The only reason I mention this manga here is because of the ending. It has probably the best endings I've read in a long time and is completely unexpected for this type of story. Trust me, read this one for the ending, it'll only take you a day or two to finish it."

    i can't understand anything on this site, but i recall reading a manga with this plot. is this manga you're talking about possibly be School Days?

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  8. スクールデイズ
    sukuurudeizu
    skoordayz
    school days

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