Tag Archives: Ice

Ktulu’s Third Annual Anime Awards & Shaming Ceremony

This year, I thought I’d try something a bit different with these. First off, I’m not going to bother with nominees. It occurs to me that having different nominees is only really helpful if I announce those in advance. Secondly, I’ll be hosting a “reader’s choice” awards. I’ll list every single anime I’ve reviewed this year, sorted alphabetically, in the comments section leave your own choices for the various awards. For those of you who are regular readers from AFT, I’ll be posting a special thread for you to use. You can vote for however many categories you want. They can be anything that actually relates to the award in question, regardless of whether or not I liked/disliked them. To give a few examples, Futari Wa Precure: Max Heart  won’t be eligible for the various film reviews & Corpse Party isn’t eligible for the comedic awards, because it has to be deliberately funny to be in the running for those. For your convenience, I’ve labelled all of the film reviews.

So, here’s our list of anime reviewed:

3×3 Eyes Seima Densetsu, Akuma no Riddle, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku: Dash, Ankoku Cat, Appleseed (film), Cardcaptor Sakura: the movie (film), Choujigen Game Neptune: The Animation, Choujuu Densetsu Gestalt, Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch, Conqueror of Shamballa (film), Corpse Party: Tortured Souls, Death Parade, Divergence Eve, Dragonball Z: Fusion Reborn (film), Exlorer Woman Ray, Futari wa Precure: Max Heart, Gankutsuou, Ginga Ojou-sama Densetsu Yuna, Gintama, Glass no Kamen, Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka, Hetalia: Paint it White (film), Hoshi wo ou Kodomo (film), Ice, Kannazuki no Miko, Kara no Kyoukai 6 (film), Kara no Kyoukai 7 (film), Kekkai Sensen, Kigurumikku V3, Kyattou Ninden Teyandee, Love Hina, Love Hina Again, Love Live, Love Live 2, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha As, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha Vivid, Mars of Destruction, Miyamoto Musashi: Souken ni Haseru Yume (film), Mushishi, Natsu no Arashi 2, Night Walker: Mayonaka no Tantei, Overlord, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox, Shigofumi, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo, Solty Rei, Spirited Away (film), Strike Witches, Sunabouzu, Uchuu Kyoudai, Whisper of the Heart (Film), Wooser no Sono Higurashi, X-men, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru, Yuru Yuri 2, Yuru Yuri San Hai 

Now that that’s taken care of, let’s go over my personal choices for this year’s awards.

The Moffat Award for unbearably awful writing within a supposedly mostly serious series or OVA. Previous winners: Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge & Neon Genesis Evangelion

This year’s Moffat award winner is, from Madhouse, X-men. 

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You’re probably thinking, “really, Ktulu? You’ve reviewed Mars of Destruction, Ice & Corpse Party: Tortured Souls this year, but X-men stands out as the worst?” Yes, yes it does. Don’t get me wrong, all of these are terrible in their own right, but there are two things that makes X-men worse than those other three, for me. The first is that it’s the longest. Which gives it more time for its stupidity. The second is that I have a bigger attachment to X-men than I do those other series. I’ve never played the games that Corpse Party & Mars of Destruction are based on nor have I read the novel that Ice is based on. Maybe they’re good and the anime versions butchered them, maybe they’re just as bad. What I have read are a lot of X-men issues. As written by Chris Claremont, this is easily one of my favourite super hero teams. Which makes seeing them written as badly as they are in this series particularly infuriating.

The Simone Award for writing excellence is a mostly serious series or OVA. Our previous winners were Psycho Pass & Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. 

This year the Simone award goes to Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS.

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This one was tough to decide with StrikerS, Mushishi & Death Parade all in the running, but, in the end, StrikerS is the one I have the most fondness for by a very slight margin.

The Abrams Award for Horrendous film writing. Our previous winners were End of Evangelion & Metropolis.

This year the Abrams Award goes to Hetalia: Paint it White.

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As fond as I am of the series itself, the film was a lazy drudge with recycled gags and basically nothing good that was actually original for the franchise.

The Miyazaki Award for stellar film writing. Our previous winners were Nausicaa & Kara no Kyoukai 4. 

This year’s Miyazaki award goes to Spirited Away. 

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An excellent film from Studio Ghibli and the best I’ve watched this year.

The Macfarlane award for most failed comedy. Our prior winners were OreImo & Kill la Kill. 

This year, the Macfarlane award goes to Sunabouzu.

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A series that treated rape as uproariously funny and consistently found new ways to defy good taste and be genuinely one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.

The Pratchett award for comedic excellence. Our previous winners were Bottle Fairy & Doki Doki Precure.

This year’s Pratchett award goes to Yuru Yuri San Hai.

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It was difficult to choose between this and the second series of Love Live but, ultimately, San Hai came out on top by the slightest of margins.

The Meyer award for worst written romance. Our previous winners were OreImo & Mawaru Penguindrum.

This year’s Meyer award goes to Love Hina Again.

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Have you ever wanted to see a love triangle with a guy, his sister and the girl who abuses him? If you answered in the affirmative, I question your mental health. But that’s what Love Hina Again provides.

Next up we have the Kanemaki award for greatest romance. The previous winners of this one were Btooom & Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha.

This year, the Kanemaki award goes to Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS.

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They had a fantastic budding romance in the first series. In StrikerS, they have a stellar mature romance. Nanoha and Fate are a spectacular couple.

The Anno award for flattest, most uninteresting cast. Previous winners were End of Evangelion & Neon Genesis Evangelion.

This year it goes to Love Hina Again. 

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The only reason that Sunabouzu didn’t take this one is that its characters are supposed to be unlikable. That’s the joke. Love Hina gives us a bunch of characters we’re supposed to like, because… they’re one-dimensional and obnoxious and Love Hina Again lowers the bar by adding in the incestuous sister character.

The Moore award for best cast. Our previous winners were Sailor Moon & Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin.

This year’s Moore award goes to Death Parade.

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Death Parade gives us a  group of characters who are highly endearing and have a lot to them. Both in terms of major characters and in terms of one episode characters.

The Bendis award for worst major conflict. The previous winners were From up on Poppy Hill & Sword Art Online.

This year’s Bendis award goes to Ice.

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Ice is a series where the main conflict really doesn’t work even in concept. We have a future with only women. we have two major factions. One wants to save humanity, but not with the tested, functional methods we have to let two women reproduce with one another. They want to use some convoluted nonsense. We also have another group that hates science because it’s a man’s field (Nothing insulting to all the female scientists out there at all) and just wants to let everything end while they indulge in hedonism. Both of these groups are insufferably stupid and it makes their conflict really uninteresting.

The Claremont award for most compelling conflict. Our previous winners for this one are Psycho Pass & Shingeki no Kyojin.

This year’s Claremont award goes to Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s.

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What makes this conflict so good is that the antagonists are really endearing and have an incredibly sympathetic motivation. You want to see Nanoha & Fate pull through, but you also want the guardian knights to come out okay. You’re legitimately torn between the groups and it makes the conflict really compelling.

The Liefeld award for visual ineptitude. Our previous winners were Aku no Hana & Amada anime Series: Super Mario Brothers.

This year, we’re doing something a bit different and giving two out. One for the film category and the other for the series/OVA category. Our winners are Dragonball Z: Fusion Reborn & Corpse Party: Tortured Souls.

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In the case of Fusion Reborn, the big artistic failing is that the action sequences are weak, which is pretty sad when you have something as action-oriented as Dragonball. In Tortured Souls the big issue is that it looks goofy. The gore effects are overblown to the point of absurd and the monsters just look silly. The artwork takes scenes that are supposed to be intense and makes them unintentionally hilarious.

Next we have the Urbino award for visual excellence. Our previous winners were Nausicaa & Tokyo Godfathers. 

This year, there will be two. One for the film category & one for the series/OVA category. Our winners are Spirited Away & Mushishi.

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Both of these works are really well detailed with some stellar nature scenes and they just look really superb.

The Spencer award for acting incompetence. Our previous winners were the English dub of Sailor Moon & Neon Genesis Evangelion.

This year, the Spencer award goes to Ice.

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Ultimately, Ice suffers from casting several girls who can’t act in major roles and from Ishida Akira’s worst performance. In spite of him being a genuinely good actor.

The Sir Stewart award for impeccable acting. Our previous winners were Black Rock Shooter (OVA) & Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha.

This year’s Sir Stewart award goes to Glass no Kamen.

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What makes this series stand out are the multiple performances from Kobayashi Sanae & Yajima Akiko as their characters don different asks for the stage. They have to play their own characters, plus the characters their characters are playing and they have to do all of it really well for the series to work. Which they do, brilliantly.

The Perry award for ear-splitting awful music. Our previous winners were the English dub of Sailor Moon & Street Fighter II.

This year’s Perry award winner is Mars of Destruction.

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As much as I love classical music, Mars of Destruction uses it in a very shoddy way, not bothering to match the music to what’s happening on screen. That, in addition to the crappy sound mixing, makes it the worst.

Our final award is the Kloss award for loveliest music. The previous winners were Slayers Perfect & K-on: The Movie. 

This year’s Kloss award goes to Love Live series 2.

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The music in this series really is spectacular and the way the actresses harmonise is superb.

So, those are my choices this year. Feel free to leave a comment with your choices from the list or you can e-mail me at ktuluthedarkone@hotmail.com. Thanks for following me this year and I hope you’ll continue to do so in the following year, even when our tastes are very different. In two weeks I’ll post the reader’s choice winners. Have a happy Valentine’s all.

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Five Constructive ways to improve Ice & Shingeki no Kyojin

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. As usual, there will be a list of five suggestions, in no particular order, for each series and there will be spoilers. So, you may want to keep that in mind. This time around I’ll be looking at a pair of post-apocalyptic series, one good and one bad. We’ll start with the bad one, The OVA Ice and then move on to the Shingeki no Kyojin anime.

Ice:

  1. Fixing the premise. I went into some detail about why the premise of the human race going extinct due to lack of men doesn’t work. Mainly because we have ways for women to reproduce with other women. They require medical intervention, and the baby will always be a girl, but we clearly see that this future has high level technology and records. I do have two suggestions to make the premise workable.

    A). Have past technology and records be lost. Sure, you’ll end up with a society where everything is in ruins and they’ve regressed to primitive conditions, but that might actually make things more interesting. This method has the added advantage that the thing Julia and her group are seeking could be records about the procedure to fertilise an egg using the chromosome from another egg.

    B.) Have the survivors all be men. Yeah, there’s a theory about a way that it might be conceivable for a baby to have two biological fathers, but at the time Ice was written that doesn’t exist and, even now, it’s in the very, very early theoretical stages. You can keep your futuristic world and tech without any issues using this method. The characters would just have to be gender-swapped.

2. The acting. Yeah, the idols in this were pretty bad, overall. And there was no real reason for them to act in this. They could have just done the music since that’s their forte, and left the acting to actual actors. Ishida Akira also really shouldn’t have been cast in this. Especially not when he’s going to use his completely undisguised voice.

3. The time skip scenes: In Ice, the post-apocalyptic future apparently wasn’t enough to carry three episodes. As such, we get flashbacks to a woman named Hitomi, just like one of our leads, and hen we end with a peak at the future where reincarnated versions of our leading ladies meet again in some idyllic garden type setting. Romances that incorporate reincarnation can work. The problem in this one is that the setup is clumsy and there’s really no time to develop the concept. So, it comes across as rushed and stupid. The whole time skipping element should have just been eliminated to allow for more time to develop the world and/or characters.

4. The romance needed development: What passes for a romance in this is that Hitomi rescues Yuki. Yuki immediately comes onto Hitomi only to be rejected. They spend a small amount of time together while returning. They meet again at a party, dance together and there are some more stilted moments where they have zero chemistry but they have the reincarnation thing, so I guess it must be fated love. That’s just lazy writing. With the time wasted on those time shifts, they could have actually shown more scenes twixt the two and let their relationship grow naturally. If they couldn’t be bothered to actually develop the romance in a sensible fashion, they shouldn’t have bothered having it.

5. The Ice itself: In my review, I said the Ice worked in a nonsensical way. How? Well, a girl injects the ice into her vagina. Which causes her to become encased in a crystalline cocoon. This process, somehow, makes a baby. That baby can be a boy, in spite of them having no access to Y chromosomes. Even suspending disbelief to the maximum level that’s humanly possible, that method makes no sense. It’s so stupid that they can’t even throw in some techno-babble to try to explain the mechanism. It would honestly work better to have the Ice be an illicit drug or something and just have reproduction work using one of the actual methods.
Shingeki no Kyojin

1. The Foreshadowing: This really could have been fixed by just doing a better job of following the manga. In the anime, they either skip the foreshadowing scenes or move them to a point where there’s no more point because they’re about to give the reveal anyway. . The big example in the first series is Annie training against her father. In the manga, this scene is part of the training segment. In the anime, they move it to right before the reveal that she’s a titan shifter. Yeah, foreshadowing is actually a lot more effective if you introduce it earlier.

2.  Eren, Mikasa,and Armin should not be the focus: There are so many compelling and complex characters in the supporting cast of Shingeki no Kyojin. So, I constantly find myself wondering why they focus on the three bland ones who have very stock personalities? Is it a marketing gimmick? Did Isayama think that cliched characters would be easier to sell to the audience? Was it a move to make you care more about the characters who are more likely to get killed so that those scenes have gravitas? Either way, Toast, Sand and Vegetable just aren’t interesting and there’s a whole ensemble that would make for more interesting viewing.

3. The romantic tension between Toast and Sand: Here we have two characters who have been raised like siblings since they were really small. There should not be any kind of romantic tension between them.

4. Trim the recaps: The recap portions of this really do take up too much time and it just feels like a thin excuse to pad things out. The sad part is, they don’t even need to do that. There are a couple foreshadowing scenes they skipped in the first series that could have been helpful to have. Alternatively, they could have given us some more time with the interesting characters.

5. Vegetable has a not so cunning plan: One of the problems with Vegetable’s character is that he’s supposed to be clever and intelligent, but all he does is point out really obvious stuff like “I bet that Toast can lift that rock while in titan form to block the titan’s path” and various other things that any of these characters should be able to figure out really easily. It doesn’t serve to make him look smart. It just makes everyone else look slow. Either have him come up with something that requires really good reasoning skills or stop telling us that he’s smart.

Well, that’s my very specific list of things that could have improved these two series. I’m sure some of you disagree on some of them. So, feel free to leave a comment on your own ideas of improvements, or why you think I’m crazy for thinking one of those would be an improvement. As you may know, I do take review requests. The ones I’m working on right now are : Uchuu Kyoudai, Samurai Pizza Cats, Solty Rei, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, Gankutsuou,Code Geass series 1 ,Nanoha Vivid, Love Live s2, Golgo 13 & Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex series 2. Expect to see those reviews popping up. I’ll finish as many as I can in September before we get into horror anime month.

Ice: The more you think about it, the less sense it makes

Ice is a yuri OVA from 2007. It was brought to us by the studio, PPM. There was also a fairly short novel that was published shortly before the anime was released. I don’t know much about the OVA or the studio behind it. All I can tell you is that the creator, Akimoto Yasushi, is also the producer of the idol group AKB48 and some members of that group do act in this. This OVA also has a bit of a negative reputation. So let’s take a look and see if that’s well-deserved.

Story:

In the not too distant future, probably next Sunday AD, all men have been wiped out. Some of the women who remain, the Kisaragis have taken up a hedonistic lifestyle, while waiting for humanity’s extinction. Meanwhile, another group called the Guardians seeks a piece of technology called “Ice” to try to save humanity from extinction. The narrative covers a major clash between these two groups and their ideals.

Right from the beginning, the premise fails. Because the human race could continue just fine without us men. Yeah, there’s a way to use one woman’s ovum to fertilise another’s. There’s also current research into a way to artificially create sperm from bone marrow, which they have done in laboratory conditions, but it’s still in the developmental stages (even moreso when this was written) so we can excuse them for not using that one. We see that this futuristic world has advanced technology and records from the former era, so why exactly aren’t they just going to use the ovum method? Sure, it would take infrastructure that we don’t currently have, but we see that the Guardians are expending resources in their search for ice, so wouldn’t it be easier and more certain to just develop the infrastructure for the sensible, proven method? No, instead they spend their time looking for this substance that works in a completely nonsensical fashion. Incidentally, we’re supposed to start development of this stuff in 2019, if the date written on the papers they have for it is any indication. I would talk about the issues that arise from setting opening events for your post-apocalyptic future too close to the present, but this series was hopelessly dated when it was written just based on the flawed premise so it doesn’t matter.

There are other issues with the story too. It includes pointless skips to other time periods that offer nothing of value to the plot. Seriously, these scenes just waste time that could have been better spent developing the scenario. The romance is also pretty bad in this. Our leads, Hitomi and Yuki, meet by coincidence, Yuki instantly falls for Hitomi but gets shot down. Their relationship is never actually developed from there. Hitomi just starts warming up to Yuki for no real reason and it’s really stilted. It’s almost like they should have spent more time naturally developing things between them rather than showing other time periods for stupid reasons. The events also don’t flow well and the ending is rubbish.

Characters:

In a well-written work, you can have a group of characters who aren’t sympathetic and still have it be compelling. In Ice, you have no investment. First off, there’s no one to root for. The Kisaragis are a group of idiots who think that science is evil. The Guardians are idiots who come up with convoluted plans but haven’t bothered to think about them, or to think in general really. We’re supposed to side with Hitomi and Yuki, who, theoretically,stand as emissaries between these two inane viewpoints, but it doesn’t really work because Yuki is a vapid twit and Hitomi is a bland prude who has a problem with women having sex with each other, in an all female society. She really needs to just get laid and get that cliched chip off her shoulder. The second reason is just that these characters range from dull and one-dimensional to bombastic and one-dimensional. There’s no complexity present.

Art:

The art can be lazy at times. With both the Guardians and Kisaragis having a legion of silver-haired clones. Except that the Kisaragis put theirs in silly hats. That being said, some of the future tech looks interesting and the action sequences are pretty decent. Clones aside, the character design is okay.

Sound:

The performances in this vary a lot. Some people, like Minagawa Junko & Mamiya Kurumi are pretty good. There are also weak performances from people like Kasai Tomomi and Ono Erena. On one hand, they were pretty young when they did this and they’re singers, not actors. On the other hand, Studio Ghibli frequently uses young actors to great effect. Furthermore, there are plenty of fantastic actors who can also sing really well. As such, those factors really aren’t much of an excuse. They don’t emote well in this nor does their dialogue ever sound natural. Ishida Akira is also dreadfully miss-cast in this. He gives an over the top performance as Julia, the leader of the Guardians and she doesn’t sound remotely like a woman. I kept expecting them to reveal that she was actually a guy but no, she’s not. She just sounds like she is. Ishida Akira is a great actor and has a good amount of range but he can’t pull off a ciswoman and this is definitely the worst performance I’ve ever ever heard from him. The music is pretty strong, though.

Ho-yay:

For a yuri anime, Ice really shies away from yuri content. You have statements about girls sleeping together and there’s a scene where you see Julia surrounded by naked girls, although you won’t see her touch any of them. Seriously, they’re just awkwardly posed around her. The most we get from our heroines is an awkward hug at one point. So, there you have it. You can see a hug and hear some yuri statements. It probably won’t do much for you if you were seeking out a yuri series.

Final Thoughts:

Ice was going to be damaged by its premise regardless of execution. However, really good story-telling and characters could have still mostly salvaged it. Unfortunately, we don’t get either of those things. We get a mess of a plot with a trite group of characters. It doesn’t help that the art is lazy and the acting ranges from okay to horrendous. It is a really bad piece. My final rating is going to be a 2/10. I would not suggest watching it. Next week, I’ll look at Uchuu Kyoudai.