Colonel Gould Shaw, a wealthy man from a family of abolitionists, led the 54th Massachusetts regiment, the first black regiment in the American Civil War.
I was pleased to see that he was even cuter than the young Matthew Broderick who played him in the awesome film Glory, especially after my Bronze no Tenshi/Alexander Pushkin disappointment.
I finished reading the Kaze to Ki no Uta Japanese scans a few weeks ago. I'm nowhere near fluent and Takemiya is very fond of flowery language, so I understood a pretty pitiable fraction of all the text, but all those agonizingly romantic emotions are universal. And although the the fate of Gilbert - the archetypal tragic beauty - can be predicted by anyone after one glance at those mournful sparkly eyes, I very nearly cried a little. If something makes very nearly cry a little, you can assume it's pretty powerful. Still, I didn't want to watch the anime until the English scanlation was done. I'm a fervent believer in the "original first" school of thought, and I thought it wouldn't be right to watch the adaptation before I completely understood the manga. But after watching the beautiful French movie Les amitiés particulières (which was the inspiration for both Kazetoki and Moto Hagio's Thomas no Shinzou), I was lusting for something in the same vein.
Fifty-nine minutes later, I'm not sure if I'm satisfied.
Kazetoki is technically and artistically beautiful. The animation is fluid and graceful, especially compared to most anime made during its time period. The palate is as subdued and elegant as a good period drama should be. It makes good use of its aesthetic,
with lots of manga-esque stylized representations of whatever's going on. Kicking up glass (and sparkles) The Christmas candlelight Mass
Yeah, it portrays the idyllic Catholic boys' boarding school atmosphere perfectly. And for the first half hour it felt like it was portraying the drama of the manga just as well. Soon, though, it seemed like it was scrambling to wrap things up - a problem pretty common to OAVs of the time period, with their time and budget constraints. We never really learn why Gilbert is so messed up. We get none of the climactic emotions that led up to his inevitable suicide. Instead, we get a hentai-esque sex-as-plot ending, and it just makes everything seem much more shallow. Still, Kazetoki is far better than any other BL anime I've seen, and for that it'll remain one of my favorites.
And so, for no other reason than to waste my own time:
MY FAVORITE ANIME OPENINGS AND CLOSINGS
10. Stop! Hibari-kun!
I am fond of Stop! Hibari-kun! to an extent of which I should probably be ashamed, considering that it is a light-hearted, comedic attempt to discourage transsexuality. But look, it's a random dancing octopus and a yakuza don that turned into a god that turned into a pogo stick ... *smitten*
Patalliro is just one long, ridiculously camp, hilariously gay 70s romp, and its opening is no exception in tone. I mean, you try singing those lyrics. Pa pu pe po pi pa py...
OH HAI HITLER.
Now, doesn't that seem like the opening of a warm, wholesome, family-friendly series, full of sight gags and good-hearted slapstick. Yeah, it totally does. I even let my little sister watch the first two episodes of Narutaru with me. And then I watched a few more the next day on my own. Aw, look at that little star guy. He's so cute. I totally want one of my ow- OH GOD DID HE JUST IMPALE - WAIT DID HE - WHAT - OH GOD BLOOD EVERYWHERE
7. Death Note
I really, really hate this kind of music. Really, really, really. And I'm completely in love with this opening. Damn you, Kira...
I didn't like xxxHolic because I found it excruciatingly boring, and when you factor in my usual tastes and hobbies that translates to pretty darn boring. I do love the art style and the music. The opener pulls those together perfectly.
5. Akage no Anne
I swear my heart swells a centimeter every time this opening rolls - and I mean that in the best way possible. I especially love the bits with Anne in flight. You can really feel Miyazaki's masterly touches throughout the work.
It's beyond unusual to see an anime opening that's in English - and by English I don't mean those strange, extraterrestrial syllabic sounds that J-pop groups like to string together to pretend they're being foreign. Mushishi's opener is by a Scottish musician by the name of Ally Kerr. The song goes on to be pretty weird and involving wrestling giant bears, but this bit is really calming and fits the tone of the series just right.
3. Victorian Romance Emma
Here's a purely-instrumental opening for a change. The soundtrack of Emma is one of the loveliest I've heard anime or elsewhere, and the carefully-accurate depiction of Victorian London as a backdrop is wonderful.
The second opening exchanges its urban background for beautifully-lit scenes of the English countryside and adds some pleasant folkish instruments to the music. I like this one even better. I wish it was hours longer.
2. Cowboy Bebop
How could I not include Tank? Not including Cowboy Bebop in a collection of best anime music would be blasphemy. It's legendary.
1. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (all of them)
Sometimes I wonder why I like SZS so much. There's no plot to speak of. Parody or not, the nonstop fanservice gets to be pretty annoying. The cultural references are so obscure it's hard to imagine anyone really gets all of them. And then I hear the opening music with its crazy animation and I totally remember.
I just had to include every single version I could find. All they do is get more and more awesome. God, I love this show.
There really aren't as many ending themes I like. They seem to tend to be thrown-together, run-of-the-mill slow pop songs, even with good shows. Of course, there are exceptions. Here are a few that passed my inspection.
Look at that. Doesn't it look tasteful? It looks ridiculously tasteful. Watch that and you'd have no idea you weren't watching some kind of arthouse period drama or whatever. Plus, you wouldn't even realize it was gay. Well, you might think it was yuri.
3. Aria: Rainbow
Aria's ending actually has more of a rhythm than its opening, Undine. I think it's a better song in general, really. The lovely watercolor backgrounds are also nice.
2. Axis Powers Hetalia
Isn't that just adorable? Even better is the international meme of people dubbing it over with their own languages. We're reaching world peace and a global community, one homoerotic anime at a time.
1. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Have I mentioned how madly in love I am with this series' music?
What? What? YES. The makers of SZS did a shout-out to the American comic book Hellboy. How often do you see that kind of thing? Should be more often, anyway.
This is the most awesome piece of popular-genre music I've come heard in anime. As a plus, I really like how the animation pays homage to the much-ignored male characters of SZS.
Likewhoa. I don't know what this animation style is a shout-out to, but I want to make out with it.