It can be difficult to recover from a bad first impression.
A lot of people have to do a lot of things right to make a good anime. Most of the time animators, directors, producers, composers, actors and many others have to do their jobs well. Maybe a few of those folks can turn in subpar performances, but if (a) enough aspects of the show are below a certain threshold of quality or (b) one of the show’s key aspects is bottom-of-the-barrel-quality, then a show can be ruined. The 1997 fantasy anime The Violinist of Hamelin suffers from an acute case of the latter.
Yet, in spite of the bad first impression it is sure to leave on viewers, those who give it a chance will discover something wonderful in this creation born from the mind of writer Yasuhiro Imagawa.
Suggested Soundtrack for Reading – Vivaldi “Gloria.”
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WARNING: SPOILERS WITHIN
GUNNM, or Battle Angel Alita, is a 1993 two-episode OAV based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga of the same name. This OAV more-or-less covers the first two volumes of the manga. I recently re-watched it for the first time in over a decade, and I like it way more now than as a teenager. The production values aren’t quite as high-quality as its notable cyberpunk contemporaries, but the story and characters hold up and the action is well animated.
Though GUNNM functions well enough as a sci-fi actioner, I think there’s more going on there than the engaging hand-to-hand combat sequences. In fact, I want to make the case that it can also be viewed as a kind of existentialist myth. By “myth” I simply mean a traditional story that serves to convey an ideology through narrative, in this case a visual narrative. Also, I realize that existentialism is quite a sweeping term that encompasses many paradigms of thought; I draw my understanding of these ideas from, in the main, two figures: Kierkegaard and Dostoyevsky.
Suggested Soundtrack for Reading – The Killing Joke “Nervous System”
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