Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dr. Who Series One to Three

When you're out and about in the internet, you can't help but notice some fandoms you don't know anything about. Of course, you can't watch everything - and much less like everything - but I get curious anyway. So Firefly is on my list and I watched Avatar and Korra (review coming up) and then there's Dr. Who... One of the reasons to get an Amazon Prime trial was Dr. Who. Luckily you can also watch it in English, though my TV can't do subtitles and the British actors are soemtimes hard to understand.

So, I thought why not write a review and share my impressions.
Amazon only has the revival series though. Which on one hand is good (because it's faster to catch up - imagine having to start in the 60s!). On the other hand it's a bit of a shame because you miss out on the beginning.

In case you don't know what Dr. Who is about: the Doctor (he never gives another name) is an alien from the planet of Gallifrey. His species is called time lords, a very powerful and long-lived species. When hurt badly, they can "regenerate", which completely changes their body and saves them from dying. Despite of this the time lords became extinct in a terrible war; as far as the Doctor knows, he's the last one.
He travels around in his space ship, the TARDIS, which can travel through both space and time. The TARDIS looks like a blue British police box, but is a lot bigger in the inside.
He usually travels with one or rarely more Companions. They seem mostly to be female, though the relationship is not of a sexual nature. They're just a partner to join in on his adventures.

Series 1 - The Ninth Doctor and Rose
I quite liked the outfit of the Ninth Doctor - leather jacket and jeans. Simple. Practical. But I have to say I had some difficulties with his character. He seems so hyper, he was laughing so often, which to me felt inappropriate considering the seriousness of most of the plots. He was acting like he was on a roller coaster ride when it was actually a matter of life and death. So I wasn't too sad when he "died" at the end of series one.

I'm not too sure about his Companion Rose either. She's very down-to-earth but I never could get a real grip on her personality. She was there and she's kinda cool and that's it.
Her relationship with Mikey was one of the things I didn't like about her. He's a cool character, too, brave, loyal and sensible. But I felt like he was treated unfairly.

The highlight of the first series for me was Captain Jack Harkness. Former time agency agent, badass, flirts with everyone. What a joy to watch! He's a bit like Han Solo meets Captain Kirk. I liked how they made him bisexual, it just fits; and it's still rather rare on TV. Plus he got a good bit of characters development, too. While watching I thought to myself "hey, they should give this guy his own show" - only to find out later that they actually did! Another show to put on my list, it seems.

Overall it needed a bit getting used to the cheesiness now and then. On the other hand, some of the episodes were really creepy (like peoples faces turning into gasmasks - nightmare material).
There are some people saying that you shouldn't watch this series and you should start with the second one. I'm not quite sure why, because even though I didn't like the main characters too much, I think you really should start here.

Series 2 - The Tenth Doctor and Rose
It went on with the creepy and there were quite a few double episodes (whcih are too long to watch during the work week), so I feel like it took ages to finish this series. Even though I finally get to see one of the two sexy fangirl-favourite Doctors - that should have been an incentive to watch.

And yeah, David Tennant is good. You know, American heartthrobs look like Chris Evans, but British heartthrobs look like David Tennant or Benedict Cumberbatch. And like so often, I do prefer the British way over the American way in that aspect.
Oh, and did I mention how I love the Chucks? Suit, trenchcoat and Chucks - wonderful outfit.

But still, this series was somehow hard to watch.
I liked the episodes in the past, with Queen Victoria and Madame de Pompadour. And it was really interesting to meet a former Companion.
The season finale didn't touch me as much as it should have - probably because I really don't get Roses character. Most of the emotion in the scene came from watching the face of the Doctor (so hey, kudos to David Tennant).

Series 3 - The Tenth Doctor and Martha
Alright, I have to admit, they finally got me with the first episode of this series because I think the way the Tenth Doctor invited Martha to the TARDIS was damn sexy. I get it now. And once it has been seen, it's hard to unsee.

Anyway, Martha. I quite like Martha. Perhaps she's more relatable to me than Rose. She seems to be an introvert, she's well-educated and clever. I love how when she turned up with the Doctor as a "date" to a party, her sister remarked something like "science geek - should have known"; it says a lot about Martha.
With all that strength of character she's also unfortunately a tragic figure. She falls in love with the Doctor right away. I can't blame her: he's intelligent, he's good-looking and he kissed her in a dangerous situation (science shows that people easily fall in love in frightening situations because of misattribution of the excitement). Plus the way he invited her to their first voluntary space-time-adventure was nothing short of seduction.
And I think that's where Martha was treated unfairly by the Doctor. It felt like he desperately needed someone and he chose her, with little regard towards her feelings and she needed to deal with all his emotional baggage while also having to deal with her own unrequited love.
And I feel like Martha also got treated unfairly by the producers. She's intelligent, but was never quite allowed to show it. She saved the earth from one of the most powerful beings in the universe, saved the Doctor - without any super power, just by herself, a normal human being. But it wasn't actually shown on screen. It's a little unfair, really, to not show any of her badassery. No wonder the fans didn't like her as much.

And then, in the last few episodes - Jack is back! So good to see him again (and the big reveal - wow). Although... The Doctor also treated him badly, at least in the beginning. What is this - the season of the Doctor treating his friends like shit? True, we have been shown that the Doctor can be quite merciless; but usually only to his enemies.

But still, I shed a few tears at the end of the finale, with both Jack and Martha leaving the Doctor and his puppy dog eyes.

That's it for now. The next series will follow later when I have watched them.

Official Website
Wikipedia Series 1
Wikipedia Series 2
Wikipedia Series 3

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Summer season 2016 short anime reviews

Fukigen na Mononokean (The Morose Mononokean)
This feels like a mixture between Natsume's Book of Friends and Kyokai no Rinne. Though I thought the latter got boring after a while, I love the former, so I have high hopes for this series. There's this school boy who realizes he can see yokai one day after he's possessed by one. He seeks the help of an exorcist, who happens to be a classmate. To pay for his exorcism, he has to help him.

I have the feeling, this might be my favourite anime of the season. I'm really looking forward to where the realtionship between these two is going. It's seems to start off kind of as a mentorship, but not quite, since their the same age. Also there seems to be the yokai of the week, so I expect we get to see many different creatures.

Hatsukoi Monster
This girl falls in love with a guy and starts dating him. So far it looks like an average shoujo anime. Only that the boy and his friends - even though looking like they're straight out of some idol anime - are primary school kids. They don't look like it, but act like it, complete with "wiener" jokes and all.
I was thinking "WTF" throughout most of the first episode and then dropped it. This isn't only a bad reverse harem, it's worse. It's not even funny in an ironic way. It's just really, really bad. Why does something like this even get produced?

I love Barakamon! It's one of my favourites, both anime and manga. I have to say that my high hopes in the prequel Handa-Kun were a bit disappointed. It's a different genre and not a masterpiece like Barakamon. But maybe Handa-Kun is more suited to be an anime?

High school student Handa-kun thinks no-one likes him. When people do something he interprets their acts accordingly. But in reality people at school admire Handa-kun and they interpret his action as extremely cool and aloof - even if he's just frozen out of fear. And now you know the plot of each episode: one misunderstanding after the other.
Handa-kun is very episodic - extremely so. Actually there's like two or three seperate stories per anime episode. It's just comedy with the same theme to it every time. It's not bad, but... it's just the same over and over again. Maybe the show should be called Confirmation Bias.
The first half of the first episode is some Gintama-like breaking of the fourth wall. I thought it was a little too much, but for some reason it was only the first episode. What I think is a little creepy is how everyone except the main characters has no eyes - they look like Dr. Who monsters or something.
I really like the song in the ending, though.

Amaama to Inazuma (sweetness & lightning)
It seems food-centered anime is all the trend right now. This is another one. It's about a single parent and teacher, whose wife died a few months ago. He works all day and is not good at cooking so his daughter gets only ready-made bento from the convenient store. Until they meet a pupil and daughter of a restaurant owner. They meet up at the restaurant to cook together while the mother is away busy with work at a TV station.
The setting is a bit weird, but the series isn't too bad. It's not great either. It's nice to watch.

I'm a really bad cook, so maybe this will make me want to learn how to cook? On the other hand, some of these food combinations are really a bit... foreign.
Still, definitely one you shouldn't watch while hungry.

This is another short series, with an episode only lasting about 3 minutes. If you thought the other short animes were wacky... this one is about a cat that lives in a banana.
It's kinda cute but really makes no sense at all.

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