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Since the start of this week, I've been watching Ergo Proxy. I currently have 5 episodes left to finish the series, and I thought I'd review my thoughts on it before it finishes. I have a certain feeling that things will be left unexplained and unresolved in the end, and it might leave a bad taste on my otherwise good impression of the show thus far.

I like going into a series without knowing anything about it, and Ergo Proxy is no exception. On initial impression, I was attracted to the show's darkly futuristic, dystopian backdrop with slight cyberpunk themes. In fact, the show's first few episodes share themes similar to that of sci-fi classics like "Brave New World," and "Fahrenheit 451." We have a seemingly perfect society based on people living as model citizens. Humans live alongside autoreivs (androids) in a pure white, dome shaped city called Romdeau, and the scene paints a somewhat ideal utopian future. However, we immediately learn that not everything is as stable as it seems. There are autoreivs who have become infected with the Cogito virus, basically enabling them to become self-aware and leading some to murderous rampages. The government tries to keep this a secret from the general public, and they hire control personnel to destroy any rampant autoreivs they discover.

This could be a story in itself, but it just serves as a beginning to the real story at hand. The main male protagonist, Vincent Law, serves under the autoreiv control unit to deal with any autoreivs infected by the virus. He tries his best to follow the rules and be a model citizen, but he just doesn't seem to fit in with society. One day, he finds himself getting chased down by a "monster" called Proxy, which leads to many innocent people getting massacred in a shopping mall. After the fiasco, he's subsequently wanted and hunted down by the Security Bureau, forcing him to flee outside the domed city of Romdeau and into the vast wastelands beyond. Vincent wonders why these events are happening around him, and he learns that he himself has a deep dark secret that he can't seem to remember. This brings about in him a quest for truth and meaning, which propels him to journey back to his hometown of Mosque. Meanwhile, the uncertainty of his origin causes a lot of higher-ups to be interested in him as well.

Basically, that's the premise of this anime. It's a man's journey for truth and validation of existence. This very premise leads to a lot of deep philosophical musings by characters throughout the show, and it's done fairly well for the most part. It runs on the verge of being pompous and pretentious at times, but before it gets too self-absorbed in itself, it refocuses its shift back to the story at hand. I guess because of this very nature, it might get too convoluted at certain points. Hmm... in fact, because this anime takes on so many philosophical ideas at once, there is very little time to explore everything in depth. The philosophical roots of this series feel more like a tease rather than a full-fledged exploration of ideas, but I'm fine with that. Most of the questions posed by the anime are reflective and rhetorical rather than conclusive. If I wanted something more in-depth though, I'd just go pick up a philosophy book, but in relation to the story, I think it works out nicely.

Most of the characters are plagued with existential problems.. and they're always referring to their raison d'être, their reason for existence.  Heck, "existence" is the very theme of this anime. It's funny that the only one who doesn't suffer from this is Pino, the autoreiv in the form of a young girl. She gets infected by the Cogito virus, and for the whole series she's happy just learning about the world around her. Meanwhile, the other characters are always faced with the question of why they're doing what they're doing, and they're always reminding themselves of that reason. I find Pino to be a strange character to add to the story, because for most of the plot, her only purpose is to serve as a beacon of innocent joy in an otherwise bleak setting. The other characters seem kind of empty at first, but as the story progress, they grow subtly in character. Even Raul, the head of the Security Bureau who seems cold, logical, and manipulative, becomes strangely human in his actions towards the end.

I can't help but feel this story would have been better off as a novel. It's a great anime though, but it comes up a little short in being a satisfying masterpiece. The story and its elements have a lot of depth behind it, and is pretty thorough in exploring itself. I think it's for this reason though that the anime can be very dry at times. It's not to the point of frustrating, and it's still an enjoyable series to watch if you're into dark sci-fi or stories with philosophical elements. Some people may be turned off because this show has too much depth, or maybe for the sense that it just seems like it does. The show can easily be boring is you don't care about this stuff. It's also a very serious show, so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't take things seriously or is just looking for a laugh.
I have a notion that the ending will be really convoluted and unsatisfying.. but of course, I have yet to see the conclusion to all this, so perhaps I should reserve my thoughts on this aspect until after I've finished watching.
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So it's the third time I've watched the anime series Koi Kaze. THEM Anime Reviews has a good synopsis and review of the anime, so I won't spend much time reiterating what they say.
Haha, and I have to agree with the reviewer on THEM Anime. It really is refreshing that Koshiro is NOT a pretty boy. It serves as a nice contrast to Nanoka and emphasizes how unconventional their love for each other is. This series is aimed at men between 20 to early 30s, so it seems natural for me to easily get into this. I wonder how women would approach this series.

It's hard for me to admit this is one of my favorite shows because of the controversial subject matter. I find myself rooting for the two characters, even though I would have a hard time approving of such a relationship. In that sense, it's a challenging show to watch. I always put myself in their shoes, and I ask myself if I would have done things any differently. I would probably give in to such feelings if I had them myself. I also wonder if I wouldn't have liked the series as much as I did if I hadn't identify so easily with the two main characters. The two characters are what really make the show, and if you don't like them, I can't imagine it would be any good. Apart from them though, the anime is beautifully done, and its pacing is perfect, at least in my opinion. I don't know if most people would be able to get into a series like this though. It's not meant for a mainstream audience.

I love how the scenes and moments are beautifully thought out. I think one of the defining moments of the series is on the Ferris wheel in the first episode, when 27 year old Koshiro cries in front of 15 year old Nanoka, and she comforts him by putting a hand on his head. It's a very awkward scene to imagine, as they both have just met. It sort of bends the social rules for a grown man to cry in front of a young girl, but Nanoka comforts without judging, and it turns out to be a very heartwarming moment. It marks how gentle the anime is, even though it deals with heavy themes.

I think the theme of being socially responsible and emotionally truthful is something I struggle with in my own life. It's easy for me to relate to the feelings of guilt and shame, and also to the feeling of freedom and happiness that comes with being true to one's self. I think that's why I love the role of Chidori's character, which serves as an antagonistic social reminder towards the last few episodes. She voices the logical concerns about the problematic relationship, and it gives a nice reality check to the series.

I didn't catch it the first time I watched the anime, but the ending is strangely ominous, which betrays how happy the two seem at that moment.

Well, I guess that series is over for now until the next time I feel like watching it again. Right now, I'm in a re-watching phase, so I'm picking anime I've seen in the past and seeing how it compares to now. Koi Kaze has been a favorite of mine, and watching it again reminded of all the reasons why I love it.
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I finally watched most of the episodes in the anime series "Mushi-shi," and I have to say that it's fantastic. No wonder it's won lots of awards and is listed as one of the anime out there. I got it a few years ago but didn't watch it at the time, so it's been sitting in my hard drive forever.

The anime is episodic, so each episode has nothing to do with the other. They each contain their own little self-contained story. It's almost like a book of short-stories. The premise of the anime is focused on mushi, organisms that are almost supernatural. The mushi are neither good or evil, but their strange powers tend to cause problems to the humans living near them. The main character, Ginko, is a mushi-shi, a mushi expert who wanders around helping people who are afflicted by these problems. The problems range from everything, such as the mushi gradually eating away at a person's memories, or mushi that are able to help predict the future.

Although Ginko is knowledgeable, he's not always able to help the people around him. This makes the anime really effective at being heartbreaking, because you start to care about the people who are suffering, hoping they can be helped somehow. Each episode leaves off with a lingering sensation, whether hopeful or sad.. so the story stays with you even after the episode has finished. The artwork is filled with mellow, somber colors with shades of greys, greens, and browns. It helps support the atmosphere of the anime, which is fairly serious.. with its occasional funny moments.

Each episode tends to follow a formula, where they introduce a new character and how they're afflicted by the mushi. Ginko tries to figure out the solution to the problem, and then we see the results of his actions. I usually don't like formulaic, but each story is just really so unique that it works best in this way. The problem and solution are always different, so it doesn't get stale.

Mushi-shi is focused on storytelling rather than action or romance. This anime probably won't appeal to people who are looking for those genres. This is a series that's more mature, quiet, and thoughtful. I guess for that reason, this series can be easily dismissed.

I think this can easily be one of my favorite series now. I'm sad that I'm almost done watching it (I'm on episode 19 out of 26)! I really do hope a 2nd season will be produced, although it's already been several years now since the anime ended.

Unfortunately, nobody I know would want to watch this. x_x  My friends and cousins are mainly into shounen stuff, like One Piece, Bleach, Naruto... etc.  It's frustrating when I find something that I think is really cool, yet have no one I can really share it with.
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I just watched the anime film, "The Sky Crawlers," and it was fairly intense. I don't mean this in terms of action though. I would not recommend this to anyone who is looking for action at all (although there are intense action sequences).  This film takes a bit of commitment to watch because the pacing is slow and I just KNOW a lot of people will be bored with it. This film is also not for your average audience and should probably only be watched by mature minded viewers. With that said, for whoever's remaining, this movie will offer something really intelligent and deep, filled with philosophical ideas and drama.

The story deals with Kildren, people who are manufactured and never grow up physically. They're used as pawns in a game-like war run by business. When one of them dies, they're replaced by another just like them. Because of that, everyone seems to force a detached attitude towards things. "Why bother growing up when we're just going to die anyway?" As the story progresses, the sense of meaninglessness becomes very prominent.  The mood and atmosphere become really heavy, probably to the point of depressing.  The characters start to question their fate, and wonder if anything can be done. It gets really heartbreaking though, as the characters struggle to find meaning for themselves.

The film definitely has some social commentary behind it. There are a lot of themes to explore, such as the desire of "being a kid forever" and struggling against a society that fosters that type of growth. It definitely goes with the Buddhist mentality of rebirth. The film was based after a novel, and it makes me interested in reading it.

This film really hit me, because I share a lot of the same mentalities with the characters. "Why should we do anything when things are meaningless anyway?"  It seems almost creepy.... because something along the same lines of what I said to my friend yesterday was repeated in the film. "Keep going... until we can change something."

The animation, story, and music are all  top notch.. The music is especially haunting, since it's from Kenji Kawai. I first heard his music when I watched Vampire Princess Miyu as a kid, and I could instantly recognize his style. 

The Sky Crawlers is really "heavy," and I'll be thinking about it for a long time.


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