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Mangahelpers Monthly Anime Recommendations!

+ posted by Nii in Anime News on Nov 5, 2011 00:06

Welcome to Mangahelpers newest feature, the Monthly Anime Recommendations!
From this month on different staff members will provide you with detailed information regarding Anime/Movies which we think of as worth watching and highly enjoyable. This month we have Rebuild of Evangelion by naruto-niichan and Durarara!! by 3c!
Our Reviews will feature the Story, Characters, Animation, Music and a concluding Rating.
Now without further ado let's get started. We hope you will enjoy reading it!

Rebuild of Evangelion

Demographic: Shounen/Seinen
Genre: Action, Drama, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological
Movies: 4 (2 published, 2 yet to come)
Discussion Thread: HERE
Based on: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Directed by: Hideaki Anno
Music by: Shiro Sagisu
Producer: Gainax, Studio Khara

Hello everyone, Naruto-niichan here! Today I would like to recommend you the newly made Evangelion-Series, which consists of 2 published movies and 2 movies which are yet to come. For those of you who don't know about the original Evangelion anime, or rather “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, here's a little info: The anime was published back in the 90's and started as a good but not really special Mecha series, yet it developed into a highly dramatic and psychological show which caused quite an uproar throughout Japan. I can't go into detail without spoiling you but especially the last few episodes created a big discussion about the Anime being “Epic” or “Just Shit”. As a result Gainax, the creating studio of the anime, decided to produce a film which changed the last two episodes gravely, but I honestly never actually watched it because these last two episodes of the anime freaked me out. I didn't really like the anime but I still gave the remade a try because I heard that the Director wants to do the story exactly as he originally planned it to be, reason being that this time there's no budget or time limit hanging on his shoulders.
I should get to the point: Both movies were great and are definitely worth a watch, even for those who didn't like the first anime! Here are my thoughts:

Godlike Creatures

Made for Destruction


Ikari Shinji, a 14 years old boy, is called back by his father for unknown reasons. As soon as he arrives he witnesses an attack from an Angel, a Nemesis of humanity who attacks them for unknown reasons and, in an event called “Second Impact”, already managed to destroy a great deal of the earth's nature and the human race. The only way to fight them are “EVA's”, robot-like beings who can only be piloted by children. Shinji's father called him for this exact reason and so his son soon finds himself in a struggle against the Angels, his own bitterness and the urge to just run away from everything.

The story is as dark as it sounds so you shouldn't expect a light-hearted watch. It has some cruel and brutal scenes, that's why the film's really shouldn't be watched by someone who can't stand heavy violence.
Still it's not like the story doesn't have any happy moments, there is a fair share of relatively normal life and interesting interactions between Shinji and the people who surround him. This brings me to the next part, Evangelion's characters.

Shinji:"Yeah I'm the Main Character!"

"I may look harmless but you shouldn't make me angry"


One of the strong points of Evangelion are the characters. They all follow some well-known tropes and yet are very unique in their own way.
There's the main character, Shinji, who's full of contrary feelings. He's a quiet boy who feels a lot of resentment against his father and yet wants that he acknowledges him. You may or may not like him but Shinji is a very special main character who will create some strong feelings within you.
Other EVA pilots all share some unique behaviour, going from “Tsundere” to emotionless to very straightforward and wild. Yeah I know that may not sound like anything new but the characters and their traits are so well done that they aren't just your standard anime boys/girls.
Now about the “Grown-up's”, who are quite different. They are relatively normal people, all having their problems but acting very composed. Katsuragi Misato plays the main role on their side, looking after Shinji and the rest, she seems like the only really caring person. Again you should keep in mind that Evangelion and it's characters are all very complex, so your opinions about them might change throughout the story.

Animation & Art

There's not that much to say about the animation. Looking at the fact that the remade are movies you already expect some good animation and it surely doesn't disappoint. It's one of the best animations I have seen to date: Great looking characters, very fluent fighting scenes, lots of details, a nice play with light and shadow, a good and interesting use of colours and last but not least fine drawings. The first and second movie differ a bit in quality, with the second getting even better or more great-looking animations but there really isn't much to complain aside from some rare average parts.
I'm sure the drawings will remind you of the 90's style because well, the anime was made in the 90's and they didn't change the style except for a few little changes. This especially regards the characters and they way their nose is drawn. Some may ask why the hell I'm talking about noses here but when you watch the movies you will notice that they are very distinctive/striking. To be honest I don't like the way they are drawn but the animation is so top-notch that it didn't bug me. I will go as far to say that the Animation will be the one point you can't be disappointed with.
Don't be afraid, the music can easily compete with it and this brings us to the next point.


Coming to the rescue~

Music & Sound

Now there's one thing that definitely stands out in the music and that is a great use of powerful orchestral-like sounds (f.ex. Decisive Battle). A wide variety of different tone and different instruments is used, f.ex. The Beast has a completely different style but is one of my favourite Soundtracks. Another one of my favourites would be the opera-like song The Final Decision We All Must Take. Of course there are serene tones as well, with Yamashita being my favourite of them because you just feel so relaxed while listening to it~
These different sounds are perfectly used in the individual scenes but I never felt like it was too much because there are completely silent parts as well which makes both movies very balanced.
Overall the music is like a blast and makes the movies even more enjoyable.

Rating & Closing Words

Evangelion really surprised me with this remake, I never thought that I would like it that much after watching the anime but it managed to get rid of it's weakness and flaws and became a highly entertaining piece of Art – very unique and yet not over the top ambitious. The movie makes you go through a rollercoaster of feelings because it switches between very dark/depressing moments and times were you just have to smile because of the funny/emotional interactions between the characters. Of course I can only talk about the first two movies: The first one was a enjoyable and good watch but I'm sure you will be completely hooked when you finish the second one, which honestly is one of the best I have seen. It has a fascinating and complex story mixed with great and likeable characters and supported by beautiful sounds and a gorgeous animation.
From my point of view it easily gets a 9/10 scratching at the top mark. And with this said you should definitely watch it, it's too unique to not give it at least a try !

Durarara!! (デュラララ!!)

Demographic: Shounen
Genre: Action, Supernatural, Romance
Episodes: 24 (+2 extra episodes)
Discussion Thread: Here
Written/Illustrated by (Original Light Novel): Ryohgo Narita & Suzuhito Yasuda
Music: Makoto Yoshimori
Directed: Takahiro Omori
Studio: Brain's Base

Hello everyone! This may come as a shock on you all, but the one reviewing Durarara!! (commonly referred to as "DRRR") is no other than me, 3c, a global moderator of MH. Jokes aside, you all knew it would be me. I'm known for my love for the DRRR anime, and especially one of its characters, Heiwajima Shizuo. Before I go through the different aspects of the anime, I would like to tell you a little about the anime in general, and why I view it as such a special piece of art.

DRRR is set in the modern day Ikebukuro, a district in Tokyo. One of the best things about DRRR is that it manages to capture and give Ikebukuro a magical vibe and feeling. The district is full of atmospheric colors and contrasts, with a grand set of colorful and highly interesting characters as the main cast that together with the city create a vibe of relaxation, excitement and enjoyment.

Celty: "See those guys? They haven't watched our show yet."

Shizuo: "Damn, what the hell are they waiting for?
I feel like throwing a vending machine their way for being so slow!"

Story & Characters

DRRR is centered as a story about the main character, Ryūgamine Mikado's life as he arrives new to the city, his best friend Kida Masaomi and third companion Sonohara Anri. However DRRR is just as much a story about the city itself, its inhabitants and how they all somehow are connected in the grand plot. The beauty of DRRR is that it manages to pull off this complex combination in an almost perfect way without it feeling forced. Because all the characters are so unique and interesting it's never disappointing when the scene switches, except when it switches from Shizuo (totally unbiased opinion). Without spoiling too much about the plot, it's about a mysterious headless motorbike rider that searches for her lost head, and somehow all the characters in the story are involved in this search (or captivity) some way or another and are all interlined by color gangs (gangs defined by the color they wear) in the city, the gang in the center of the story being a colorless gang called Dollars, and a mad man that enjoys watching chaos spread and a world without rules. Our main character, Mikado, somehow has to try and sort out the giant mess that is transpiring within Ikebukuro even though it seems to be outside of his power to do so. Before I spoil the entire story, let me tell you a bit about the other aspects of the anime.

Agent of Chaos... Wait, isn't that the Joker from Batman?

Izaya: "Careful, I may be an awesome guy, but my personality switches quickly like an on/off switch."

Animation & Art

For those unfamiliar with the animation studio Brain's Base, they also made Baccano!, the writer of DRRR's previous story. Like in Baccano, DRRR has wonderful animation and artwork in every episode. The animation is always highly detailed, and the color combinations are often used splendidly to give what I like to call "the DRRR feel/vibe". My personal favorite art aspects of the series is probably how well the studio uses colors to enhance the storytelling. All of the main characters have an unique design when it comes to clothing and colors, and often the colors of the characters have a greater meaning than one would guess in the start. The excellent usage of colors is also why the city and street scenes provide such a rich viewing experience.

Kida: "Hey guys, why are you carrying around an otaku paper figure?"

Ichimaru Gin Walker: "Isn't that what attracts people to watch anime lately?
Cute otaku girls? This functions as a huge manga panel."

Sound & Music

Nobody watches DRRR and doesn't comment on the music afterwards. The music used in the series is simply put genius (ref. Blai: "It's LEGENDARY! I love walking in the city with DRRR in my ears!"). My favorite tracks are The Sought-after Extraordinary and Their Aspirations. They're the best examples of illustration by sound of the feeling DRRR gives off most of the time; relaxation, calmness and enjoyment. However these are just two of the excellent OST's tracks, and the anime uses the full OST to perfection to enhance our full experience when watching the anime. It's like art in your ears.

Final Thoughts & Rating

The series is a rollercoaster of events that lead up to a grand climax, that all start with Mikado's arrival to the city and the introduction of all the characters. There is however two seasons (and thus two climaxes). While season 1 is my favorite, season 2 isn't far behind in terms of quality and caption of the story's atmosphere and vibe. Summarized the anime is a superb anime with beautiful animation and artwork, great and varied characters that work exceptionally well together and are all relevant, fantastic music and great story that all together form a superb anime worth experiencing. If I had to rate it, I would give it a 9/10, and that's only because Shizuo isn't featured even more than he already is. So go watch Durarara!!, I have yet to hear of someone that came back disappointed.


Thanks for reading this far, I hope we could give you the motivation to take a look at these two Animes!
See you next month~

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#1. by BakaHaze ()
Posted on Nov 5, 2011
Rebuild + Durarara = epic month.

As an NGE fanboi I highly recommend it.

I got to watch Rebuild 2.0 in cinemas subbed. Was epiiic.
#2. by Googlez_kun (MH's Best Artist)
Posted on Nov 5, 2011
Should fiiiinally watch those....

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