Nostalgia is a precious thing for so many people, and Nickelodeon seems to know it all too well. In recent years, the family-oriented TV studio has followed suit with all the other nostalgic cash-ins, and started rebooting their entertainment for those yearning over a simpler decade when VHS tapes were in and cartoons were entertaining; ‘All That’, ‘Hey Arnold’, and now ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’ in the form of a special called ‘Static Cling’. ‘Static Cling’ is an ode to the nostalgic memories we hold dear as well as a commentary on an ever-changing world we are trying to keep up with.
Netflix released a “documentary” on August 5th, 2019 titled, Enter the Anime. The premise is simple enough, “What is anime?” and follows a newcomer to the industry, Alex Burunova, as she doesn’t proceed to do anything for approximately 50 minutes. If it had not been for this review, I would never have touched this film. Even in the first few minutes, it was so repulsive that I would have turned it off altogether. Yet here we are, as promised. Today I’ll be discussing Enter the Anime through the lens of a piece a marketing for Netflex, as it transparently seems to only exist to sell you on their shows (and it can’t even do that).
I’m going to be frank with you all. There is not a single positive thing I could say about this “documentary”. Even when it had something interesting to say, it was often cut off, impossible to decipher due to the hyperactive editing, or drowned in a sea of vapid nothingness. Just wanted to be upfront about that.
The thesis statement of this is to find out what anime is. It’s clear that the target audience is folks who have never seen an anime in their life, but it also expects the viewer to be familiar with the material as well. If I were totally new to anime, this would have turned me off to the medium entirely, and in the next few paragraphs, I’ll explain why.
First, Burunova constantly talks about how “clean” and pristine Japan is as a nation but then says that anime is made by these “deranged” individuals who are the fringe of their society. This is not only extremely offensive, and mindbogglingly baffling that this was ever released, it implies that there is this level of taboo to the medium.
She also takes every moment to be as edgy as possible. I hate the “fellow kids” kind of comments people make about things when people are genuinely trying to connect to multiple generations, but this was exactly that. There is a moment where they say that a character in Baki says, “I don’t give a fuck” and she follows that up by saying, “Unlike Baki, I do give a fuck”. Which I guess is an alright line if it weren’t ruined by things like, “The Instagram royalty of yore” or whatever that stupid line is.
Burunova is like this from minute one. She is a terrible narrator and host.
This is followed up by showing the most graphic content that Netflix anime has to offer. Seriously, nonstop. To the “documentary’s” credit, there is a very brief section on “cute culture” and how “anime is for kids”, but it comes so late in, and is so short, that it may well not even have been included.
Finally, the editing and presentation of any topic is just plain awful. It is so transparent that this is just a giant ad for Netflix anime, especially the CG shows (which is fine), that it goes as far as to undermine its entire premise in the opening minutes.
Let me explain, the first interview is with the Castlevania guy. You know, not a Japanese person or a show even made in Japan. I’m not one of those people who think anime is only something from Japan either, but this really undercut any credibility anyone might have for what’s to come, and not just for this reason.
The guy is a massive weirdo! He starts things off by telling the audience that he is a “time traveler” and wastes almost 12 minutes of the runtime talking about his DOG and Kanye West of all things. What does that have to do with anime?
Even when they do finally talk to some industry people, half of the “interviews” are just… nothing. The worst instance of this was when they left a phone call with Yoko Takahashi’s manager in the “documentary”, instead of talking about NGE (which they never even mention by name for some reason) or showing her performance beyond a few seconds. It was just bad.
Oh yeah! They even recycled footage in this 50 minute piece of garbage. Can you believe that? More than once too! There’s no substance here. One interviewee talked about how many people don’t know him because Netflix lets you skip OP’s and ED’s, but that is given like 2 seconds. Almost all of them laugh about the lack of sleep they get, as if it is some joke you need to “get” about the industry. It was frustrating to watch.
Ok, so what was the point then? Like I said, this is meant to push Netflix shows. I think that’s fine, but they don’t really show much off, and a lot of the things they chose were the edgiest and least accessible titles. Even just choosing from among their “original” properties, they really did not offer variety here. It made anime feel immature, hyper violent, and kind of obnoxious.
Furthermore, they chose almost exclusively CG shows, where much, or even all, of the product was not animated in 2D. Again, this would be fine except that just isn’t what anime is on the whole. Same can be said for the last point.
Also there was this strange focus on titles that haven’t even come out yet. Some not until 2020. This was really dumb, because when those things were stacked up alongside this train wreck, it didn’t make me want to watch them. Seriously, I have less confidence in some of these shows because they were in this “documentary”.
In a lot of ways, this would have been better as a mini series with proper time given to all its topics. The question of “what is anime?” is answered in a lot of ways: culture, food, style, etc… but ultimately settles on saying it doesn’t matter. It chooses to abandon its core premise to say “it brings people together” and “it gives a voice to the outcasts” but, I just couldn’t help but feel it was pandering. Void of all meaning. A genuine waste of time, and a massive mistake on the part of Netflix.
This is slightly longer than the max character limit of 1,000 words I set for these mini reviews, but this was just that bad. I tried to stay focused on the marketing angle, but I just couldn’t avoid airing grievances. Let me know if you liked this in the comments, please tell me how you managed to do that. Support my stuff via the Ko-fi button below. See ya in the next one folks.
I’ll save you the trouble, yes, 7 Seeds was a worse Netflix show than Hero Mask was. That’s really saying something, and a massive disappointment because this show is based on a very well regarded manga that is extremely interesting! This adaptation does have the intrigue, but it fails on almost every level to execute on any of it.
Long time readers will know that studio Gonzo and I have a history as I’ve watched a surprisingly large amount of their library. It’s impressive that they are still producing stuff even today, like in today’s case with 7 Seeds. Even though I think this show is rubbish, it does live up to my main thought on Gonzo’s work: not all of their shows are good, but they are all at least interesting.
This is a doomsday survival story. The world is about to end, so the government forms teams of people, putting them in cryosleep, so that they can one day rebuild society long after the remainder of humanity has been wiped out as a last resort. It’s such a strong premise, which I am not doing justice to.
I was just praising Phantomin my last article for how well it adapted its source material by making changes, that I feel kind of bad about what I have to say on 7 Seeds’s behalf. It too makes changes, but it really doesn’t work at all. Shots are pretty faithful to the manga, the issue more lies in that an episode could cover up to 10 chapters of the manga at a time. That’s absurd!
All of this isn’t helped by the fact that the anime chooses to jump all over the place, following various groups of people, some even on unique timelines. It isn’t like things are hard to follow, but stuff is just constantly happening and way too quickly. Especially the bad stuff.
What I mean by that, is the bad things that happen to the characters. Even if you somehow cared for any of them (seriously, there are maybe 3 I didn’t totally hate), you have no down time to appreciate when they have a moment of calm. Unrelentless is how I would describe this, it just keeps throwing tragic event, after tragic event.
On the note about the characters, they are all terrible, even the supposed “good guys” from the “good teams”. Let me give you an example, one character hates another character because he is kind of a coward. She does horrible stuff to him and others. Later, he dies to save her life and MAGICALLY she gives a huge speech about how much she loved and cared about the dude. It all feels so fake. These don’t even feel like characters.
It wasn’t all bad though, like I said. There was a lot of cool world building details and concepts tossed around. 7 Seeds even managed TWO whole (mostly) effective story beats! One was about an underground shelter, the first way the government tried to protect people. This was the more effective of the two, even if it was a little goofy and over the top in places. The second was about Jesus, but he’s good at baseball and also has dogs. It was just his backstory.
Otherwise, the animation was baffling in terms of how bad it was. The character’s look great, aside from the gross hair thing, which is cool because the manga art would not have translated well to animation. Music was a joke, even the OP and ED. I’ve already spoken to the writing and direction, so that’s it really.
I guess there is one pretty big thing left. 7 Seeds doesn’t even have an ending! Netflix really has a bad habit of not finishing what they start when it comes to these “original” projects. Thankfully, I do know that the second half of this series is coming soon, but it was a pretty big mistake to leave things hanging like they did.
Not going to lie, I was still interested in watching to see how things progressed. The world was interesting and critiquing the issues with things was fun for me. However, leaving off on what I wouldn’t even call a cliff hanger, literally just cutting from the middle of what feels like a normal episode, was gross. It also wasn’t clear that this was meant to just be a part 1 either.
Should mention, the dub is not bad. Anyway, this trailer doesn’t look too bad, does it? Yeah, I wish it was true…
Of course it isn’t hard to figure that out once you finish the “final” episode, but it just doesn’t sit well with me. Clearly, I mean I’m on my third paragraph about it now. Do yourself a favor, totally pass on 7 Seeds. If you really want to check it out, at least wait until the second half drops on Netflix so you (hopefully) get a complete product.
Did you make the mistake of watching 7 Seeds? Totally disagree with me here? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Consider dropping a few bucks my way by hitting the Ko-fi button below if you like my articles here. Thanks for reading and see ya soon!
I’m back with my latest Netflix adventure, this time with Ingress the Animation, a supernatural drama based on a mobile game by Niantic. You may know them for Pokemon GO, and like that game, this is an AR game meant to get people out and about but this one came first. Is there enough here to make for a good show? Does this sit somewhere closer to B: The Beginning or is this another Hero Mask?
When I sat down to watch this one I had no clue it was a mobile game adaptation, I only learned all that part way through when I was doing some digging. I also expected the show to be another supernatural cop procedural, but this one was more action oriented. Still, Ingress managed to peak my interest.
What got me interested in everything was the introduction of Makoto, a psychic detective who is asked to investigate a strange incident. With the ability to see memories contained in objects, he soon learns something he shouldn’t and gets wrapped up in a global conspiracy. You know, just another Monday.
It’s a bit cliche, but what I liked most about this was how the anime showed you how his power works. Actually, things were done this way more often than not. There were still info dumps, but they weren’t too often and were done when only necessary.
As the story unfolds Makoto gets involved with a girl named Sarah. She tells Makoto that there exists a hidden substance that has influenced humanity for some time called, Exotic Matter, or XM for short. This explains his ability. It’s an example where the show tells you things, but the whole while it does a lot of showing at the same time.
Mostly, this is to teach you about the mobile game. Surprisingly, it did a really good job because I was talking to my brother about it (he’s played it) and he was shocked how well I knew the game for never playing. Even more shocking, this never felt intrusive. It felt totally organic within the story and something that really sets this one apart for me.
In the end, the story isn’t revolutionary but one that I enjoyed more than expected. Going back to my earlier question, it had quality closer to B than Hero Mask, which is a good thing for sure. I’d watch more of this if it ever got more.
The characters for the series are done in CG and that can be a bit distracting, sometimes resulting in odd action choreography, but if you can look past that, the show looks pretty good most of the time. I’d say it generally looked worse in the early episodes but improved as it went, I also got a lot more used to it though, so there’s that.
Finally, the music was great! The OP and ED were both done by an idie band, alt-J. I joked on Twitter about how random geometry was used in the OP, and then the song had the lyrics, “Triangles are my favorite shape.” Which, at first, I found humorous, but as the show went on it made good thematic sense. It was a solid choice. Not to mention the animation sequence here is strong from a directional standpoint.
The ED, “In Cold Blood” was clearly picked for the binary lyrics because the rest of the song doesn’t really fit the show. However, that part is thematic and the AR sequence of real life places and the game collide is neat. It was another way to show off the game without being too in your face.
In short, I’d recommend Ingress the Animation if you are already curious about the game especially. Fans of supernatural action/mystery shows should also enjoy this one. As I said, it isn’t revolutionary, but you’ll at least have a decent time.
Have you ever played Ingress? Did you watch the show? Share your thoughts on either in the comments. If you want to support my work, you can do so via the Ko-fi button below. Thanks, as always, for reading and hope to see you back here again soon!
Ted Bundy was one of the most notorious serial killers in American history, second to Charles Manson, committing a series of grisly murders of thirty plus women in the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Florida, Colorado, and Utah. His crimes were described by Judge Edward Cowart as “Extremely wicked, shockingly evil, vile, and the product of design to inflict a high degree of pain”, and he was executed in the Florida State Prison on January 24, 1989. Though he was a despicable human being with no regard of human life, what sort of separated him from other serial killers was how charismatic he was; no other person could take on the persona of Bundy like Zac Efron, an actor with enough charisma to carry a movie, which is exactly what he does in this scatterbrained biopic based on the memoir ‘The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy’ by his former girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall (Portrayed by Lily Collins).
Continuing my journey with anime on Netflix, I decided to watch Lost Song after the disaster that was Hero Mask. The description got me interested in this because it said there would be singing and a quick cursory look at the staff revealed that Yukari Tamura (you may recognize her vocal performances in shows such as Island or Higurashi) would be a prominent character. While not every roll of hers involves singing, this one seemed like it obviously would, and that was enough to get me to watch. Unfortunately, the show had a lot of bad reviews, but I was convinced there might be something to this one.Continue reading “Lost Song – Straight Forward Children’s Fare?”→
As you may recall, I’ve been going through Netflix shows recently. Last time I took a look at B: The Beginning and how I found it to be pretty similar to Psycho-Pass. My primary complaint toward B was that it didn’t focus enough on the cop/mystery side of thing and eventually went too deep into its supernatural elements. While Hero Mask has some science fiction stuff going on, it sticks pretty hard to a Western cop procedural. The question is, did it work?Continue reading “Hero Mask – Heard You Like B: The Beginning…”→
There is no denying that musical biopics are making a comeback. With the success of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, and the upcoming ‘Rocketman’ set to hit theaters this summer. It is even more prevalent with the new Netflix film, ‘The Dirt’, which is based on the best-selling autobiographical novel of nearly the same name (subtitled ‘Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band’) by the members of Mötley Crüe, consisting of Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx. You would expect the story of one of the most controversial hard rock bands of the 80’s to be fodder for a documentary about the band itself (which was what I expected at first), yet screenwriter Rich Wilkes, and director Jeff Tremaine could not help but ride off the success of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
Spoilers, I couldn’t figure out a way to talk about this without spoiling parts of Psycho-Pass or this show. I tried to keep them to a minimum though.
Lately I’ve been on a bit of a Netflix kick so I figured it was finally time to get around to some anime I had put off for one reason or another. Today I’m looking at B: The Beginning (going to refer to it as B moving forward), a supernatural, mystery, police-like procedural that is very reminiscent of Psycho-Pass. If you like one, would you like the other?Continue reading “B: The Beginning – Heard You Like Psycho-Pass…”→
My mom pestered me about watching Netflix’s You awhile back and I finally sat down and finished it over the weekend. It’s about a man, Joe, who after having his heart broken, falls in love with a beautiful woman, Beck, when she visits the bookstore he works at. However, Joe is a bit obsessive and is willing to do anything for love, even if that means a murder or two.Continue reading “You – Another Netflix Original”→