My never-ending quest to find good fantasy anime has its ups and downs. Sometimes I find really great stuff like Berserk, Moribito, or Escaflowne. Then there’s stuff that’s just kind of okay like Romeo X Juliet. Then there’s stuff that just makes me want to give up entirely.
The Sacred Blacksmith tells the story of Cecily Campbell, and her breasts, who became a knight after the sudden death of her father. When looking for a blacksmith to repair her sword she meets the rude and impatient Luke Ainsworth, who wants nothing to do with her, and his young assistant Lisa. After an attack from mysterious monsters, Cecily is tasked with guarding a Demon Sword, and the group try to figure out what could be behind the attack.
The Sacred Blacksmith takes a lot of cues from Slayers. It uses a generic fantasy setting, features a female main character who frequently fights with the male lead, and blends comedy into the storyline. Another thing it has in common with Slayers is that it likes to run jokes straight into the ground. There is literally one joke made throughout The Sacred Blacksmith, which is that Cecily has large breasts. Every single joke revolves around that. People are pointing out how big they are, or wishing their breasts were as big as hers, or her breasts are bursting out of her armour and being on full display for Luke. There’s not a single attempt at humour made in the series that does not revolve around Cecily’s breasts and their apparent largeness. It doesn’t even matter if you’re a fourteen year old boy who just discovered breasts and think they’re the greatest thing in the world, these jokes are insultingly stupid and they never stop. Continue reading
I’ve heard a few times that Kenji Kamiyama is a pretty good director, and when I hear a director is good I like to seek out their work to see for myself. Kamiyama’s most well known work, the one he gets most of his attention for, would be Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Unfortunately I’m just not into sci-fi so I’ve only seen a small part of it. It seemed like I would never really get a chance to see Kamiyama’s work, but then I caught wind of a series called Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, a fantasy series directed by Kamiyama. I don’t think it’s a particularly well known series because I’ve never really heard anyone talking about it, but nonetheless it would be my first real exposure to Kenji Kamiyama’s directorial abilities.
Moribito is based on the first book in a series of novels and tells the story of a bodyguard named Balsa, who has tasked herself with saving eight lives to atone for eight people who were killed because of her, and the young prince Chagum whom she was hired to protect. The young prince has been possessed by a water spirit, and his father, the Mikado, plots to have him killed. In a final desperate attempt to save her son, Chagum’s mother hires Balsa, and she sets out to protect him from the Mikado’s forces.
Like most people out there, while I was in high school I had to read William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It’s one of the most well known love stories in fiction and has been a mainstay of pop culture throughout the years. Obviously, someone was going to turn it into an anime eventually. I have no idea how any of you reacted to the play when you read it, but my cynical 16-year-old self hated it. I don’t hate it now, but I still wasn’t exactly going into this expecting much. But I like to keep an open mind and give everything a fair chance, because sometimes things can surprise you.
Romeo X Juliet is more than just a simple anime version of the classic love story, for a few reasons. The biggest reason is because it’s barely Romeo and Juliet at all. It does share some common elements and scenes from the original, mostly in character names and relationships, but it deviates greatly. In the original story, Romeo and Juliet are simply children from two families that hate each other. In this version, Romeo is the son of Prince Montague, who came into his position by killing the former ruler of Neo-Verona, Prince Capulet, the father of Juliet. This adds another level of tragedy to the love that forms between the two. Instead of Juliet simply falling in love with a boy her family hates, she’s fallen in love with the son of the man who killed her father, a man she swore revenge against.
I was never a big fan of music history when I was growing up. I remember sitting in 7th grade music class when the teacher babbled on about famous composers and whatnot, and me not really giving a damn. When I learned a few years ago that there was an RPG called Eternal Sonata that centered around Frédéric Chopin – a famous composer from the 19th century, I thought to myself “Meh, that can’t possibly be interesting.” But it was an RPG, and since I’m a sucker for RPGs, in addition to the generally positive reviews the game received, I decided to give it a try.
Upon playing Eternal Sonata, it quickly became one of my all-time favorite RPGs. Although a bit weak in terms of story, the game excels in its graphics, gameplay, and characters.
The game starts out with Chopin suffering from a fatal illness on his death bed. With death looming just around the corner, he falls into a deep sleep and dreams himself into a fantasy world. This is the world of Eternal Sonata. The events that take place in this world are loosely related to actual events that occurred throughout Chopin’s life. In the dream world, a product known as floral powder is used in everyday life to cure any illness. For some reason, the government has recently placed a hefty tax on this product and instead is encouraging people to use mineral powder, another product that seemingly has the same effect. Chopin, along with some friends he meets along the way, set out to investigate the mystery behind this mineral powder, only to discover that its continued use could pose a threat not only to those who use it, but to the entire world.