Friday, May 05, 2006

An Animated Discussion

Somewhere in the vicinity of four years ago a friend took me to a preview screening of an animated film called Cowboy Bebop. I can't remember why they had the tickets - I suspect it had something to do with them working for Madman Distribution. Going in I remember being extremely skeptical; however, coming out I was amazed and enthused. I realized at the time that I'd been missing out on a really interesting medium. The same friend that took me to see the feature film later managed to get me a free boxed set of the television series. If anything, the series is even better than the film. The characters are extremely well developed, the narrative is both tight and quirky at the same time, and the soundtrack, man, the soundtrack far surpasses anything we get to see in our traditional television series. In short, I'm totally hooked on Bebop.

I figured if Bebop was great I'd easily be able to find other series that are just as enjoyable. The problem I've encountered is that a quick glance over the shelves of the local JB HiFi reveals such a diverse range of animation that I'm unable to figure out what is worth buying. It seems like, as with all other forms of media, there is a lot of chafe and not very much wheat. Coupled with the vast range of animation is my very specific idea of what I want to watch. I'm not really interested in the shows that are aimed at children, or the ones that are packed full of magic, fantasy, or aliens. I like the ones that are set slightly in the future; but that future has to be relatively probable. I like plots involving government and corporate corruption. I picked up 'Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex', and, fortunately, that filled the bill nicely. It isn't as good as Bebop, but it's still quite entertaining.

So now I'm wondering where to go from here. I've finished Standalone Complex, and I'm hungry for more. I'm sure the net can provide the answers. But the websites are probably like the series - too many and of a quality so rocky and undulating that to hit on a good one will amount to potluck. Hmmm, some thought is required.


GBE said...

Watch Akira. Go on. Do it do it do it.

Try the original Ghost in the Shell movie and the sequel (Innocence). There's Perfect Blue, if you want your brain buggered. Actually, all of the movies mentioned above will do that.

I also liked Blood: The Last Vampire and, though it's slightly more Americanised and maybe a bit kiddy, Spirited Away. The Ninja Scroll. Spriggan. X. Those are all movies, because I'm yet to get into many series, though Noir and Full Metal Alchemist are supposedly good.

There's some fantastic stuff out there, but you've got to be careful or you'll end up watching the ones featuring bigbouncybreasted girls who accidentally flash their underpants while they fight crime, or worse yet, Yu-Gi-Oh.

(Please don't tell anyone about my secret life.)

(Watch Akira.)

Ella said...

I am in love with Cowboy Bebop. I'd suggest Outlaw Star and Trigun because these three anime are considered to be like a trilogy for old west style anime. I also loved Witch Hunter Robin, produced by the same studio as did Bebop.

Movie Bebop I watched more out of dedication:-) It was ok but series are grand!

Don Quixote said...

Maybe I'll check out Perfect Blue - I don't mind my brain being buggered, in fact there is a case to say that it already is.

I definitely recommend getting into the series (particularly Bebop); the series in my limited experience are far better than the movies.

Ella - my belief is that they Westernized Bebop too much. The series is far more diverse and interesting.

Don Quixote said...

Ps - I kinasorta got into a habit of watching Yu-Gi-Oh of a morning before work. If you don't tell anyone I won't either.

some girl said...

Okay, I have to be honest, as I was reading that post, I thought to myself: "What the hell is Cowboy Bebop." To me bebop is a type of music and I thought maybe, but from what you've all said, not so much music and more animated cartoon thing. I need a deeper explanation before I decided whether or not I will mock you in a good hearted sense.

Don Quixote said...

Well, Somegirl, Bebop is a form of Jazz. The lead Character in Cowboy Bebop is a bounty hunter they call the "Space Cowboy". The soundtrack to the show is full of Bebop jazz - it is the best soundtrack to a show that I've ever heard. Aside from jazz they also use eclectic mix of music from all round the world.

But the things that I like often open me up to ridicule, and I take it well, so feel free to begin the mockery.