This post is mainly going to cover an 80’s OVA series, Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster, the film Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade and a TV series, Mononoke. I’d been meaning to watch the first two for quite some time, but some videos from Demo convinced me to watch them sooner rather than later.
I’ll start with Gunbuster, which is Hideaki Anno’s first work as something other than an animator. It set some conventions for the genre, and ultimately led onto the groundwork for Neon Genesis Evangelion. Blablabla, you can read that stuff elsewhere. My thoughts on the show is that, yeah, it’s from the 80’s and there’s some 80’s cheesiness (dramatic lens flare!), but I think it aged fairly well. I watched a remastered BD release, and the art and animation holds up pretty damn well. In fact, where they put effort in, the animation exceeds most of what you see today (but they mainly put effort into breast animation, which is good or bad depending on your disposition). It starts off a little slow and parodies an earlier tennis anime. The second half of the 6 episode OVA series is where it gets real good, and the ending is really satisfying. Definitely one of the better endings in anime, even if you’re not too keen on mecha. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of mecha shows, but I still really enjoyed this one and would recommend it to anyone (especially Evangelion fans). Also, the soundtrack is baller as all fuck.
The next thing I recently watched was Jin-Roh. I don’t really know where to start with this one, but knowing the gruesome version of Little Red Riding hood would help. Heck, even knowing there’s a version of the story you weren’t told as a child helps (as some people get hung up about the one told in Jin-Roh being wrong or some shit, I don’t even know). Anyway, the story is set after Japan’s defeat in WWII (don’t worry, it doesn’t focus on that at all). I really can’t go into talking about this one much without spoiling it, so I’ll try my best not to be be warned, what I mention may be a spoiler to you. What I liked about the film most were two things; first is that it tells you the ending of the film repeatedly without you realising it, and second how the hierarchy of knowledge was handled in this film. What it does with the HoK is nothing new really, but having studied film for 2 years and looking in the HoK in depth really let me understand how well it was done.
The only issue for some people is that two of the three factions in this film are a little hard to distinguish if you’re not paying full attention. You really need to pay attention in this sort of film, or you’re going to miss something important that will ultimately lead to confusion and lack of enjoyment of the film (I believe this is why it isn’t as highly rated as it should be on websites like MAL). Again, I don’t want to spoil this at all so I wont mention what it is about the HoK that was great. Overall Jin-Roh starts a little slowly for some, but it’s certainly a film that rewards the slow pacing and makes for great repeated viewings once you know the ending.
And at the moment I’m watching Mononoke. I’ve finished the first 2 arcs and it’s really, really good. I watched the first episode with some friends and they seemed to hate it. Admittedly, the first episode is a bit slow and mysterious, but I think shows of this nature really benefit from a mysterious first episode. Part of what makes it good is finding out who and what the Medicine Seller actually is, and what he can do. It’s finding out what Mononoke are. It’s the different characters and story of each arc. I really like it, and the artstyle is really refreshing too. I’ll add to this when I’ve finished the series.
I’m going to watch Diebuster next, probably.
Err, I’m also making a BD release of Shinsekai Yori. This is the first time I’ve done something like this seriously, and it’s opened my eyes to how much effort goes into a release. First of all, there’s the actual encoding. It can take a while to get a good script for that show (mainly depending on how much action and noise there is), then once you’ve got a script you’re happy with it can take a while for the actual encoding. I have a 3600k overclocked to 4.4GHz and each episode is taking me over an hour. Then I’ve had to rip subs from UTW’s TV release, re-sample them to 1080, re-time them (which isn’t just a case of moving it along a set amount of time, because most episodes have an extra frame or 3 thrown in randomly after transitions in the BDMVs for some reason – so I have to do multiple re-timings per episode). I’ve also had to fix some sloppy typesetting they left in here and there, and add my own subtitles for the previews that were cut from TV releases but made it to the BDMVs. After that I’ve had to collect all the fonts used with the subs, and mux those all with the .mkv (making sure I’ve set the UTW subs and Japanese audio to the default track, etc.) I probably spend around 20 minutes on each episode making sure everything’s as it should be. Probably more, it’s not like I time myself.
tl;dr thank your encoders, typesetters, timers and translators. Expect a release on animebytes.