Monday, February 10, 2014

Review: This Ugly Yet Beautiful World (2004)

This Ugly Yet Beautiful World ~Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai~ (2004) is a Japanese science fiction anime. It contains 12 episodes.

Takeru and Roy are typical high school students who work part-time as delivery boys for their uncle. One night, the two investigate a mysterious light in the woods only to find a young girl emerging from the tree of light. until he saves Hikari, an alien girl with no memory of her past. Takeru and Ryou are attacked by an alien, which is defeated when Takeru transforms into a powerful beast himself. The girl, whom the boys name "Hikari" (light), is taken in by Takeru when she confesses to having no memory of who she is. Meanwhile, Ryou discovers another mysterious girl int he woods, whom he names as "Akari". After they vow to take care of the girls, their lives turned upside down when monsters and catastrophes invade their town.

I remembered watching this anime during my sophomore year in college (2004). It reminded me of another classic anime, Blue Seed. After re-discovering it on, I decided to re-watch it again for memory sake. Back then, I had to download anime via BitTorrent. It's amazing how much technology has changed. Everything is now available to watch streaming online. No need to download your favorite episodes (unless it's very rare). I am not sure what captivated me to watch this show. It was both intriguing yet sad knowing that the girls had to leave earth. It ended so quickly that it didn't provide audience enough time to process what was happening. The only memorable aspect of this show are the opening and ending songs. This is a good show to watch on a rainy day, but is easy to forget since the girls' (Hikari and ) character development was weak. It's hard to take seriously the apocalyptic plot device (aliens from space whose main purpose is to destroy earth). Overall, the symbolism behind the show reveals that while earth is imperfect, it has qualities that makes it human and thus "beautiful."

Opening Song:Metamorphose - Yoko Takahashi

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Music: "In Your Eyes / Jealous Eyes" (Project A-ko Soundtrack)

Here is an anime song from my childhood in the 1990s: This is one of my favorite songs from the 80s Japanese anime, Project A-Ko. It has a 1980s soft rock/classic rock theme. I shared both the vocal and instrumental versions below:

In Your Eyes / Jealous Eyes (instrumental remix)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Review: Pita Ten (2002-2003)

Pita Ten ~Clinging Angel~ (2002-2003) is a Japanese anime children's series centered about a young boy who is protected by an angel apprentice in the human world. Their unlikely friendship leads them onto several mysteries and adventures. It contains 26 episodes and is based on the manga by Koge-Donbo.

Kotaro is your average sixth-grade boy although he lives alone with his father. When he was younger, his mother died while protecting him from a moving vehicle. This change forces him to take over some of the chores at home, such as cooking and cleaning. Nonetheless, he is worried about the pressures of school while enjoying a simple life with his friends. But what starts out as a usual morning changes drastically. On his way to school, he opens his front door to be confronted by a pink-haired girl named Misha. The female angel apprentice is his new next-door neighborhood and wants to be his friend. Kotaro attempts to escape and avoid her, but this new next-door neighbor is quite persistent to be by his side at all costs. Although she is older (junior High School student), she has chosen Kotaro as her project. Together with Takashi and Koboshi, they get into all kinds of weird situations. Especially when they come across Shia-san, a demon apprentice, who is actually too kind to be able to be a demon.

Although Pita Ten geared towards a younger children's audience, adults would find this anime quite cute and enjoyable to watch. The storyline is sweet, funny, and innocent. It's not trying to compete with serious adult romances. The series sends the message that these kids should enjoy life to the fullest, including ordinary things around you. When Kotaro realized what he missed about Misha, he liked her companionship and honesty. Even if she is a klutz at times, her concern is genuine--she wants to make him happy. I thought the execution of the series was flawless because it is light-hearted enough that the audience doesn't feel overburdened by the characters. When it becomes serious, you become sympathetic and teary for the characters' decisions. Overall, Pita Ten is one of those shows that will continue to entertain (both for its beauty and silliness) you for years to come.

Opening Song: "Wake Up Angel ~Negaimashite ha Mugen Nari~" by Funta

Ending Song: "Chiisana Mahou" by Miyuki Sawashiro