Monday, June 19, 2006

O Great Thing of My Formative Years

This might seem just the slightest bit crazy for a blog topic, but I'm going to go ahead anyway. Admittedly, I can see it connecting to previous entries, notably in the “Casting Back to the Start” vein. Maybe there'll be a tad of repetition, and I'm almost certain there'll be some revision. On with it...

Over the weekend I watched the first disc, six episodes, of the classic anime series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Wow, I think this was the first real source of horror for me. Sure, to a degree it's the big monster--or here mostly, so far at least--big robot wrecking everything kind of horror and it seems the “thing” can't be beaten, giant Space Mummy aside. While there is a childish naivete to some of the presentation, and the take on the stories, the show is also obviously very mature, and quite decidedly dark.

This is kind of spoiler ridden from here on out, so if you want to keep it totally fresh for when you see it yourself, and I can really recommend it, then maybe you'd best skip to the music suggestions at the end.

Even though the blood is frequently multi-coloured, particularly as it flies through the air along with spit, there is a lot of it. The show is quite violent, a good thing I must say. There's a fairly high death toll already, both with the civilians and the villains. Our lead hero isn't above lying to children both for furtherance of good, which comes off a slight bit selfishness versus selfishness, and also both capable of standing idly by and watching mayhem and murder as well as feeling the crushing pain of failing to save lives when he does step in. It's a bit confused and complex at the same time, the dealing with revenge, struggling with the past, and just how to deal with it all. There's a wonderfully twisted bit... I couldn't save your father... this is the thing I couldn't save him from... here you have to destroy it to get on with your life... vengeance is good, don't mind that you might be killing people to do it, they're only killers... oh and yeah it scary, but you'll feel better when you make us break the rules because we want to break them, and use violence.

Then there is the character interaction which is likewise complicated. First we have the somewhat conventional Japanese let's use familial familiar terms. So, is anyone in any way related to anyone else? It shall remain to be seen. Memory, and its of probably frighteningly bad dubbing in English and of course even worse translation--never mind the intentional butchering--collides with what's in front of me to muddle things worse. However certain things are obvious such as of course... boy leads girl on team, girl has feelings for team leader, wants to express them, maybe shouldn't, boy is a bit of a clod and doesn't get it, or maybe does but has no idea how to handle it, or ignores it for any number of reasons, not the least his driving goal to complete his mission.

All in all wicked, excellent stuff, though I found it to be really heavy stuff and rather than watch the next disc the second night I took a break with something lighter, if serial killings can be called lighter. Before I go I would like to point out a couple things. For starters, yeah Gatchaman is in some ways is very 70's. Much to my surprise it's really early seventies, and actually older than I am. Also it is so easy to see the things that it must have influenced. It is ground breaking, and though it could be construed now as horribly cliche, it seems to me it must be the grand daddy of those cliches. So there we go.

Mood: frenetic.
Music: Beneath These Waves by Demons & Wizards and Future World by Helloween.

Demons & Wizards: Touched By the Crimson King
Buy these at
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Helloween: Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 1

Bird go!


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