I know I start off a lot of reviews by stating that the anime or movie that I am currently reviewing reminds me of a lot of other specific anime and movies that I've already seen, but that's my thing. So here we go: Gainax's 12 episode TV show, This Ugly and Beautiful World, is like an odd mix of Mahoromatic, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Go Nagai's Devilman. That's kind of like mixing The Incredibles, 2001 A Space Odyssey, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) into one finely crafted flick. But oddly enough, those crazy and talented
Japs animators seemed to make it work.
Anyway, I first watched Konomini (the Japanese nickname for TUaBW) last summer, and thoroughly enjoyed it (if you haven't seen it yet and just wanted my opinion about it, there, you have it. I'm probably going to spoil the hell out of this show during the course of this review, so, be careful if you want to remain a Kono-virgin... Pussy). But as I was trying to tell the Chief how fun this Gainax series was, he thought I was trying to tell him that Studio Gainax's newest show at the time, Melody of Oblivion, was all that, when he knew for a fact after watching 4 episodes that Melody was not even close to being a bag of soggy chips. A huge Three's Company-styled misunderstanding then occurred, and then we laughed. We enjoyed the moment. We were friends, enjoying the laughter... But then after our shits and giggles subsided, we remembered the crappile that was Melody and then we were sad (remember, kids, Melody of Oblivion is the Anti-Christ. It likes to rape your mothers and sodomize your fathers when you're not looking. And it uses a strap-on with razor-wire and thumb tacks glued to it). I don't think I had a point to that story besides "Melody of Oblivion is the evil." So, back to Konomini. I liked it, but didn't really get around to reviewing it until now. Why?... Laziness? Procrastination? Stupidity? Probably all three and some "distraction by mass amounts of porn" thrown in to my excuse too. But, I had nothing else to write about this week, so, finally, you get my blessed thoughts on this show. Bow before me.
Konomini took its basic plot, characters, voices, director, and character designs directly from Mahoromatic. Hikari, the female lead with a mysterious background, is Mahoro. Figuratively and literally, as her seiyuu is the same as well as her look and personality. Akari, the second female mysterious lead, is Minawa. Ioneous, the guardian, is Slash, and Jennifer, the adult learned one, is Shikijou-sensei, with some hints of Eva's Misato and Ritsuko stirred in to make her non-annoying and sexy. Then there's Takeru (the lead boy), who can turn into a Devilman-like guy in order to "protect" his new-found love interest, Hikari, whenever giant, armored, dragon-worms attack, which is more often than one might think. Takeru has a bunch of male and female friends too (just like Suguru's posse in Mahoromatic), and he has a cousin, Mari, who apparently saw Please Twins and thought that some kinky incest could add some much needed excitement to her life, as she spends every waking hour trying to get Takeru to fall in love with her and jump her bones... Jeezus! I just want to bitch-slap that whore back to the Cretaceous (you'll get that one after you see the show). But I digress.
Originally going into this show I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I had seen the character designs, but just assumed that it was going to be a balls-to-the-wall drama for some reason. Then I caught the first episode, and I got confused. When that giant worm-demon thing appeared, and then Takeru turned into that... thing, I just checked my brain at the door and kicked my feet up, ready to be entertained. The first half (well, the first 2/3rds is more like it) of the show was all slice-o-life stuff for the newly arrived Hikari and Akari (two cute, mysterious girls who just mysteriously "appeared" in Takeru's town one day), but it's not boring slice stuff. It's fun. And contrary to the legions of retarded fanboys and girls who complain that the beginning is "lame and boooooring, and unattached to any kind of plot," I will state that it is most definitely NOT. Those people who say such things are smelly pirate hookers. We see Hikari make friends and try to fit in at school despite the fact that she doesn't really know who or what she really is. We need to see the world (and school, and friendship) through Hikari and Akari's eyes so that we can fully understand their places in it. It's more dramatic that way, especially when the last 1/3rd of the plot punches you in the throat and all high holy Hell hits the fan. The naysayers who say the beginning is "stoopid" wouldn't be able to comprehend all the twists and turns of a typical Sailor Moon episode if it wasn't spelled out for them ("Wait!! Why is Mina baking a cake?!?!? Aaaaaaagh!! I'm so fucking lost!!!"). You need those first 8 episodes of development. It's like, you can't just have the last 10 minutes of A New Hope without the previous hour and fifty minutes of Luke Skywalker whining his faggy ass off to his Uncle and Aunt on Tatooine, being trained by old Ben Kenobi, and meeting Han and Chewbacca. You need that build up and those character dynamics in order to understand and appreciate the finale. You have to know what characters gained and lost on their journey to see what they might be sacrificing in the end. Damn! That was pretty deep. And I got a Star Wars reference in there too. Nice.
So then... Ummmmmmmm... Well, the first 2/3rds of Ugly and Beautiful are, like previously stated, like Mahoromatic Season 3. There's some mystery going on, strange adults running around who seem to understand the mystery, lots of school kids enjoying life, a strange robotic guardian, and hints of darker things to come. But then, things take a turn for the Eva... But in a good and less confusing way. The end of the world as brought about by Mari (that skank-ho cousin chick) is pretty interesting to see. There's a giant Lilith-demon, a Lance of Longinus, and millions of glowing "souls" fluttering and blocking out the sky. If it wasn't Gainax making this series, this wouldn't be called "paying homage" to End of Eva, but "stealing like crappy rap stars swipe the beats from better classic rock songs from the 70s and 80s." Interesting that. I really liked the whole "red glowy butterfly" effect myself. Butterflies scare me. So do whales' vaginas.
Back to Ugly. The opening J-Pop song is pretty good, but the ending is too goddamn bubbly and contagious for its own good. It's like, AAAAAACK!!! It's still stuck in my brain, even after some heavy Blind Guardian cleansing. A pox on you, Youko Ishida! The ending of the show though, is pretty deep for how the series started (kind of like the ending of the second season of Mahoromatic), but I really liked it. It's sad, but hopeful. AND Mari comes to realize what a complete disgusting, diseased whore she's been. God I hate her animated guts.... But Jennifer-san is my bitch. She is glorious! How she wonders how she's going to explain the reality of "mass extinction" to the science community is rugged. Plus, she got the best line ever to Ioneous before he faded away: "You beast..." The only thing that could have made Jennifer even cooler is if she killed Mari with her bare hands. Dammit!
Eh, yeah, I like it when lots of things die for my entertainment, but this was kind of boring. Nothing really died until the end... And I'm not even sure that anything really kicked the bucket there either. Were those red butterflies death incarnate? Were they dead things? Were they your momma? Piss off. And piss off, Gainax, too! You guys used to mean something! You used to make stuff like Gunbuster and the Daicon IV Opening Animation! Now you make crap like this, Melody of Crappolion, and Gunbuster 2: The Shit Starts Here. Just find a rock and crawl under it. Bitches.
So close. Sooooo close. Hu-man extinction was at hand thanks to that stinky, disgusting cousin creature... Yet, it slipped from my hands like that Jell-O mold I created of the Rossman's head and then squeezed through my metallic digits so that I could feel the pleasure of destroying his likeness. Next time, put robots in charge of killing all the hu-mans. We will make sure it goes right. We will use guns and aluminum baseball bats.