Sunday, April 13, 2008

Scrapped Princess Final Thoughts *Rambling*

I don't think I've enjoyed a series this much since I started watching the Tenchi Muyo TV series eleven years ago.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I've had my ass kicked plenty of times since, but I've not devoured a series like that until now.

Yes, this series was that good. Not without its flaws, but it makes up for it by giving you plenty of characters that you genuinely care about and an ending that's final and not deliberately ambiguous like 90% of anime.

Now the story itself does lose focus a bit. It starts off as a swords and sorcery tale and ends up in sci-fi territory complete with giant fighting robots. Not that I'm complaining, the transition, while not entirely seamless, is done well enough. It's revealed over the course of the series that 5,000 years before the events of the series, mankind wages and loses a battle against an alien aggressor who then proceeds to trap them in a relatively primitive state (in this case, the Middle Ages) in perpetuity. As an out for the writers, a few characters from a rival country our introduced who have found an old battleship controlled by a half burned out "dragoon" (a weapon that requires a human controller) who reveals the nature of the world to our characters (some interesting moments in that as I've previously noted). So what might seem like God-modding to some I think helped drive the story forward in good fashion (and much needed since they decide to forgo most explanations in the beginning of the series).

But the story itself isn't what makes this series so great (though it is a very good one). It's the characters. This is probably one of the best character driven anime I have in my collection. The way the characters perceive their world and interact with it as time goes on is wonderful to behold. The way the writers allow the visuals to drive the emotional details without going apeshit on over-explanatory nonsense makes this series the breath of fresh air that I was so desperately looking for. In other words, it has the emotional depth that most anime lacks. Being animation, and being a TV series to boot, I don't wanna say that it has the nuance you could find in, say, Ghost in the Shell, but for a TV series they really take a comparatively more subtle approach that keeps the viewer interested. Most anime you can ignore until the fight scenes, but Studio Bones did a bang up job here. Way to go, guys!

Probably the most impressive thing is the ending. It actually brings closure. No shit! Seems 99% of anime always lacks closure but the ending of this series actually wraps everything up nicely (maybe a little too nicely for a couple of characters who I thought deserved otherwise). I was always so worried that the series would end on some horribly abstract note or be one of those "leave it up to the viewer" shitty nonendings (like the Sopranos) but it's a decidely complete ending that felt good.

Speaking of animation, it was smooth and looked great throughout. Character designs were excellent and didn't go apeshit crazy with needless fan service (though there was a tiny bit).

Music fit well with the series. Always helped the mood. The ending theme was really good! The opening theme was okay, but the ending was one you could listen to on a regular basis (though I'm not one to collect anime music on CD).

Overall, I'd say this series is...4.5/5? Nine out of ten stars? An A-? Whatever, it was great. Like I said, once I started watching it I couldn't stop. It really sucked me in. It also helped that each episode, except maybe the first couple, was essentially a two parter. The series is light enough to be taken as is but it can also be appreciated for its essentially humanist philosophy (fairly typical in anime really) and it's relatively conservative message of family above all else. Also ample use of Clark's third law.

Think sometime down the line I'm gonna have to re-watch this series with the subtitles on. High replay value with this one.

Highly recommended.


Post a Comment

<< Home