October 7, 2007
The latest entry in the long running Gundam franchise debuted Saturday evening on MBS and TBS in Japan. Gundam 00 is directed by veteran anime director Mizushima Seiji of Fullmetal Alchemist, Shaman King and others. Character designs are provided by Chiba Michinori & Kouga Yun. Music is provided by Kawai Kenji, famous for his work on the Ghost in the Shell films, with the theme song provided by JRock mainstays L’Arc~en~Ciel.
In the 24th century, things are not nearly as peaceful on Earth as portrayed in Gene Roddenberry’s idyllic Star Trek. Fossil fuels have run out, leading to constant wars between three major factions over the remaining energy sources. In the midst of this chaos, a paramilitary organization known as Celestial Being emerges. Celestial Being’s mission is to end all wars on Earth. Their method of choice: overwhelming force with 4 advanced mobile suits called Gundams.
The series initially seems a lot like Gundam Wing. 4 bishounen pilots descend to Earth in powerful mobile suits and fight for peace. Compared to Wing, though, 00 has a lot more grit to its depictions of war. It also hasn’t overpowered the Gundams too much, as it’s shown that there is a limit to what even the Gundam Exia can handle without backup. I’m hoping the portrayal of the characters won’t be so shallow as it was with Wing, though I don’t think this will be a problem with FMA’s director at the helm.
With only one episode to go off of, I can’t make a real judgement on the series. For the moment, however, I’m going to be bullish on Gundam 00. It looks like it could shape up to be a pretty good outing for the Gundam metaseries.
October 5, 2007
Buck-Tick released their 15th (!) album back on 9/19/07. “Tenshi no Revolver” is their first album since 2005, and includes the singles “RENDEZVOUS” and “Alice in Wonder Underground.” Oddly absent is “KAGEROU,” the 2nd ending theme from xxx Holic.
“Tenshi no Revolver” follows the fast, somewhat pop-ish style of their last several singles. As I mentioned when I talked about the “Alice in Wonder Underground” single, some people hate this, but I have no problem. It may be “pop”, but we’re certainly not talking about NSync here. There’s a reason why you see Buck-Tick listed on people’s online profiles even though they have no other apparent interest in Japanese music. They’ve managed to garner a worldwide cult following, especially among the goth crowd, with their dark, somewhat bizarre, but still fun style.
The album leads off with “Mr. Darkness & Mrs. Moonlight,” a strange but incredibly infectious piece. I walked around with it in my head for days. After that, we get into the main swing of the album with “RENDEZVOUS” and “Montage”. Things continue at a driving pace, ending with a bang on the last track “REVOLVER.” There are really no bad songs on the whole thing, maintaining a high level of excitement all the way through.
“Tenshi no Revolver” is a great outing from one of Japan’s longest performing bands. As long as you’re not the type that expects a band to be stagnant and never adjust their style forever, “Tenshi no Revolver” is a ton of fun.