So a little under a month ago, I asked a bunch of you Anime fans of Hubski for advice on series to watch. The advice I got was amazing and also a bit overwhelming, but a lot of your recommendations stood out to me. War and early everyone else recommended Samurai Champloo and Ghost in the Shell so they're on the list of things for me to see. In fact, I have a free day today (thank God cause I'm up so late) and I see that the Ghost in the Shell movie is on Hulu, so I'm gonna watch that today. Seeing as how almost everyone mentioned it, I'm hoping I'm in for a treat. I also am going to see if I can get my hands on the three original animes that make up the Robotech Series like kleinbl00 suggested, but seeing as how none of them are on Hulu or Netflix at the moment, it might have to wait a bit (no, I will not torrent). While I haven't checked out Fist of the North Star yet, it's also on the list to see and I'm also gonna look further into a lot of what vile and snoodog suggested, see if there's anything that catches my fancy.
So at this point, you're probably thinking to yourself “Well damn, it sounds like rd95 hasn't watched anything yet. What the hell?” Don't worry. They're all on the list and I fully intend to check out each one of them. Talking to one of my good friends just last week though, he recommended something to me knowing my taste in pop culture. Knowing I love pulpy shit, comic books, and cheap western novels by Louis L'Amour, he recommended I get on Hulu, find everything from the '70s to the early '80s that caught my eye and start there. Seeing as how they're older, I'd be enamored by their dated charm as well as more forgiving of their flaws. Tonight/this morning, I did just that. Here's my thoughts on what I saw, in chronological order of series release, not in order of which I viewed them . . .
Gatchaman – I've seen two episodes of this so far. I was a bit skeptical going in. When it comes to hero stories, I'm not a huge fan of team dynamics. When you're focusing on so many main characters, character development can sometimes suffer and heroes are easily written to fit particular tropes. This show seems to be no different so far, with Ken, the boy scout team leader, Joe the bad ass with a hot streak, Jinpei the light hearted character who also fits the Robin/Speedy teenage hero part, Jun the token female member and possible love interest of Ken, and lastly Ryu, the guy who's just kind of there. Being a fan of Godzilla films growing up, I do have to say that the first episode was great. With a giant robot bent on wreaking havoc and the Japanese defense forces' tanks being utterly useless in stopping it, I felt like I was watching a Kaiju film. The animation in this show is very inconsistent in quality (think the '80s Transformers movie level of inconsistent) but I think that's very forgivable seeing how old it is. That said, the up close hero shots are actually very well drawn and look downright beautiful so I enjoy seeing them come on screen. One thing I did notice, is that in both episodes they did insert a few seconds of live film into the cartoon for explosions and water effects. It'll be interesting to see if that's something they'll continue to do. I'd also like to mention that even though it's a super hero show, I'm kind of getting some Thunderbirds vibes from it. I might stick with it a little bit, but I don't feel compelled to watch this show to the end.
Casshan – I've only seen the first episode but I'm kind of digging it so far. It's definitely got some campy sci-fi tropes, from a robot uprising to turning a dog and a man into androids to fight said robots. It also had a scene depicting the inability of the military to stop the robot menace. While the story isn't anything particularly amazing (and it actually reminds me a bit of the premise behind Gold Key's Magnus: Robot Fighter which was a classic comic book series from the '60s) I like what I'm seeing so far, animation wise. The artists seem to take particular care to make the action scenes involving Casshan look as fluid and exciting as possible. While the story isn't particularly grabbing, I'll probably watch a few more episodes just to get a feel for it. It's another show where I don't feel compelled to watch to the end, but I might end up changing my mind. Who knows?
Starblazers - determinedkid will probably be sad to see that I'm watching the American adaptation, but unfortunately Hulu doesn't have the Japanese original. What's interesting to me, is that even though this came out two years later than Gatchaman, the quality of the animation seems to be lower. The colors aren't as bright and crisp, which might be both due to the setting of the actual story as well as poor preservation techniques, and the animation itself often feels stiff and awkward. It's not enough to push me away, but just something a bit interesting. I started watching this around the time I made the anime advice thread, so I'm about fifteen episodes in and to be honest, while I love it for its campiness, I find it kind of boring. The story seems to be taking forever to unfold, meandering about just like the crew of the Argo. Is it fun? Yes. Is it creative? I dunno. I like it. But then again, I liked the original Star Trek series but never felt compelled to finish that one either. Seeing as how this has three seasons, I think finishing it might be a bit of a chore.
Space Pirate Captain Harlock – UGH! WHAT IS THIS?! I DON'T LIKE THIS AT ALL! I only watched one episode and that was more than enough for me. It's got a lot of what I don't like about pulp stories. It has a seemingly bad ass protagonist who doesn't actually do anything bad ass, a sub plot with a little child that you don't know anything about yet which would be great for building mystery but the whole thing reeks of forced sentimentality, a military/police force that is so incompetent that they're not a believable element in the story. I'm sure the more I watched, the more I'd end up hating, but a single episode was enough to convince me that this is probably not my bag. As a side note, the colors in the one episode I watched were both very grainy and very dark. I don't think the originals that this digital copy was made from was well preserved and that makes me sad.
Space Adventure Cobra – I am two episodes into this and I'm super excited about this show and also super conflicted. On the one hand, I think this might be my jam. The characters and set design of this cartoon absolutely scream '80s sci-fi and some of the animation is downright gorgeous, both the characters themselves as well as the painted backgrounds. The hero strikes me as a bad ass, flawed, but not an asshole and his partner, a female android also shows promise. That said, there's some things that rub me the wrong way. I've never been a fan of the bikini clad woman as a trophy trope and seeing as how that trope showed up in the second episode, I'm really hoping this doesn't become a trend. Also worrying, the hero's main weapon, his Psycho-Gun is overpowered as hell, seeing as how he can fire with pinpoint accuracy and change the direction of his shots mid-flight. I really hope the writers of this series find new and inventive ways to make him vulnerable. That said though, the first two episodes were still a hell of a lot of fun so I'm gonna see where this goes.
Patlabor: The TV Series – Apparently there's a lot of Patlabor cartoons, so I made sure to link to the right one so you guys know which one I'm referring to. While this isn't from the '70s or '80s, like Starblazers, I started watching this around the time I made the anime suggestion thread so I thought I should include it in this list for that reason alone. Similarly, I'm pretty far ahead in this one too, though I have to admit I slept through about six or seven episodes and haven't felt compelled to re-watch them. I thought this series had some promise. It's a police drama with big robots. How could you mess it up? You could make it boring. That's how. That's what they did. They made this show boring, boring, boooring. I saw The Patlabor movie years and years ago and I remember liking it a lot. It's also on Hulu, I think I'll watch it after Ghost in the Shell tomorrow to see if it's as good as I remember it.