My 60 Billion Double Dollar Addiction
Fast forward to now and I am a spaghetti western fan who loves animation and with an ear for identifying voice-over artists. Trigun did me one better. It blended a western with my other favorite genre, sci-fi and told a story that that didn’t completely suck! Talk about inhaling multiple genres that you appreciate all in the same sitting...
Trigun bridged the gap between anime and manga. I now have a list of manga that I will be reading and it’s quite long. But Trigun did not do the same for anime TV shows that it had done for manga. However, during a search for something fresh and bold like Trigun, I discovered one of the wackiest and sexiest animes: Girls Bravo.
This show has nudity in every opening sequence along with a story line that you’d think only kids would watch. Some characters are over exaggerated and annoying and the soundtrack can be strangely mystical at times. Therefore it intrigues me. The first season is better than the second (so far). Season two lost its sci-fi element almost immediately and it turned into an entirely different show. But the important thing is that it opened my mind to other seemingly strange anime TV shows. I became accustomed to Girls Bravo and its mixture of campiness and willingness to tell a love story. In fact, I didn’t know to whom or what the show was trying to appeal. Girls Bravo reminds me of Bollywood films, which try to appeal to a mass audience utilizing multiple languages, cultures, and blends different film genres together. As I've learned, Anime does this quite frequently but not in the same way.
Distance Over Time Equals Anime
5 Centimeters per Second, written and directed by Makoto Shinkai, is a carefully directed masterpiece which tells the melancholy story of Takaki Tono as he progresses through, “....cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility [that] converge to test the delicate petals of love.” The voice over may not work for everyone, but it’s the way he chose to tell this story. Remove it and you might end up with a much darker film with unclear character motivations. Overall, if you are looking to break into anime films, you might want to start with Shinkai’s 5 Centimeters per Second, as it is grounded in nostalgic realism and can evoke childhood emotions in a haunting way. If you were to jump into Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, you might lose your mind trying to suspend your disbelief, however I highly recommend it.
Smoking Can't Be This Cool
The manga is also an easy yet satisfying read. Some mangas are difficult to follow because of amount of action within the artwork but Cain Kuga, Cowboy Bebop's illustrator, did a great job keeping things simple. This is where I was first introduced to cigarette smoking Spike. He's a pretty cool character without being too cool and without overshadowing the other characters. Steve Blum gives a great performance voicing his character with suave smoky vocals.
Giant Guns Go Bang, Bang, Blood!
Another of his original concepts, Gungrave, was originally developed as a PS2 game and was adapted to TV as a series. I've just begun to read the anime manga, and I've only watched the first episode to lag behind my position within the manga. It seems promising and is very different from his other works sans giant guns and tortured pasts. Okay, so maybe it's not that different.
The Ever-Swelling Ocean
I've now read and watched only a miniscule amount of anime/manga compared to the laundry list in existence. But to me these are the most important. They have been and always will be my gateway drugs that got me hooked. Anime/manga can require a lot of patience at times but if you give them a chance, they'll surprise you in ways you never thought possible.