El Cosmico here...you folks watch MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE? It's grown on me a little bit, sometimes it's pretty damn funny. Anyway, it's every so often that one or a few of you kiddies will shoot me an email asking "who is that anime-looking dude in MITM's intro?"
Well, that's as good a question as most, I guess, so here's your answer, and a review to go with it. The character's name is Shiogami Shinri, and he's basically an evil bastard in an anime series by the name of NAZCA. NAZCA has been released stateside by Pioneer Animation, on four DVDs and a multitude of VHS tapes for the fidelity agnostic.
I reviewed the first few episodes here, and those who have read that review will note that I felt the series got off to a good start. Well, it did...not a spectacular or amazing start, but a decent, anime-sort-of start.
So, I need to make an important description here. Think about the television you watch. A lot of it sucks, a lot of it is pretty good, fairly well done, but not truly exceptional. Then, you have the great stuff. The stuff you'd kill to have on DVD. The stuff you'd, say, protest for if the original Japanese audio wasn't to be included on said DVD.
Well, having watched all four discs of NAZCA, I'd place it safely within that middle category. I'll be honest, as interesting as I thought the first few episodes were, I don't think this series really lived up to its potential, and got bogged down in a lot of repetitive material.
The premise was interesting, based VERY VERY loosely on historical figures. The premise is that Kyoji Miura and his kendo master Tate, along with all of their circle of friends and associations, are reincarnated Inca warriors, who are pitted against each other, as they were in their previous lives. Some, on the side of the last heir to the Inca throne, Huascar, and some on his rebellious brother's side, Atawalpa. Kyoji undergoes anime ennui, frustrated with his position, and the plot unfolds, well, too slowly. There are interesting moments, but in the end, NAZCA as a complete work can only be seen as average fare. I wouldn't recommend it to my friends, and I think the only people likely to enjoy it are hardcore anime fans.
There's something else worth mentioning here, which is that Pioneer Animation produced this disc in partnership with New Generation Pictures, which also partnered on Amazing Nurse Nanako, which I reviewed here. The reason this is significant? Well, New Generation Pictures has done a great job with both the NAZCA DVDs and Nanako DVDs. The problem is, the content that Pioneer is giving them to work with needs to improve. So, if anyone at Pioneer Animation is reading this, please take note, check out these discs, and realize, you're wasting a valuable resource by giving them average fare, when you could be using New Generation to put out some truly great anime on DVD.
Well, that's the end of that for now. Happy day.