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Archive for August 28th, 2009

blueseed-beyond

(The following is a review I posted at Netflix for Blue Seed: Beyond, the sequel to the wonderful anime Blue Seed.)

The original Blue Seed is my favorite anime; it has everything I like about the form, Blue Seed Beyond, however, doesn’t live up to its predecessor. These three episodes feel more like a coda or an epilogue –or even an afterthought– than a true continuation of the story of Momiji and the TAC.

The first two episodes tell the story of a reappearance of the arigami, only this time as a mad plot by a US scientist. (Blue Seed has always had a hint of Japanese nationalism to it.) While all the main characters appear, and we learn what has happened to most of them in the intervening two years, the story is quite rushed, especially in comparison to the pace of the original series.

The third episode is unrelated to the first two: the women of the TAC travel to a Japanese hot spring to enjoy the baths, and a terrorist plans to blow them up. The highlight for me comes when Kome, my favorite character, tracks the bad guy to his lair. Things go wrong and her reaction is typically “Kome.” The animation is good, though sometimes strange. At times, Kome looks like an identical twin to Momiji. The rest of the characters look mostly like themselves from the original series, however. The voice acting is adequate, though the English-language actor for Kusinagi just doesn’t compare to his predecessor.

It must be noted that this series give in far more to “fan service” than the original series: Momiji has grown from a flat chest to a very full “C” (thus killing one of her humorous anxieties from the first series), while all the women of the TAC regularly run around semi-nude. I’ve no objection to nudity or sexuality in anime, but this much feels out of place and, indeed, gratuitous in Blue Seed. Parents who let their kids watch the original series might want to preview these episodes.

Overall, for those who are new to Blue Seed, rent the original series first; it’s surprisingly good. For fans who have already seen the original, rent Blue Seed 2, but don’t expect too much.

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