Rekindling My Love Of Anime With Inuyasha

I first got into the wonderful Japanese medium of Anime when I was a sophomore or junior in high school, with great classics such as Akira, Fist of the North Star, Galaxy Express 999 and Appleseed, to name a few. For those not in the know, Anime is Japanese animation that covers all mediums of fiction and aren’t necessarily for children. Some in fact are meant to be viewed by mature audiences because of adult content and graphic violence. Anyway, this refreshing look at animation blew me away upon first viewing. This wasn’t my childhood Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Not by a long shot.

Since that first time, I’ve tried to absorb Anime whenever I could and was an adamant viewer during my college years but for some reason my efforts have dwindled over time by many factors such as, no longer paying for cable and being preoccupied with other things. I did became aware, this past summer, that Netflix has grown its collection of anime and I have put a few in  my queue, but still I haven’t quite steered in its’ direction. Other shows were occupying me at the moment (see my previous blog entries on Mad Men and The Good Wife).

Well now that I was caught up with most of my shows I decided to give Inuyasha a shot. I had originally started watching this some years ago, back when I had cable and it used to air semi-daily on the Cartoon Network, as part of it’s Adult Swim programming. Needless to say, after re-watching the old episodes I had already seen and getting into newer plot points (well new to me anyway), I was immediately caught up in this world of feudal Japan and just couldn’t get enough. I literally have only 2 speeds with this show. Either I watch it till I pass out on the couch or I avoid it at all costs to get other stuff done (you can guess which speed I’m opting for right now since I’m actually blogging instead of wasting the night away).

Anyone who has a Netflix account and is new to Anime should definitely give this series a try. It has everything you could ask for in a show. Great characters, a long and challenging hero quest, drama, romance, comedy, great fight scenes, amazing visuals etc (I feel like I’m quoting the Princes’ Bride. Am I?). What more could you ask for? I would try to summarize it for you readers but I don’t think I would really give it justice. For this I have Wikipedia to thank:

The series’ plot follows a high school girl Kagome Higurashi who lives on the grounds of her family’s hereditary Shinto shrine. When she goes into the well house to retrieve her cat, a centipede demon bursts out of the enshrined Bone Eater’s Well and pulls her through it. As she leaves the well, Kagome appears in the Sengoku period of Japan. During the demon’s previous attack, a magical jewel known as the Sacred Jewel of Four Souls was embodied from Kagome. She then becomes the demon’s target and it tries to consume the jewel and kill Kagome. In desperation, Kagome unseals the half-demon InuYasha who was placed on a tree fifty years ago by Kagome’s ancestor Kikyo, the youngmiko of the village in charge of the sacred jewel. Although InuYasha destroys the centipede, the Sacred Jewel is later shattered into numerous shards that disperse across Japan. Even the individual shards are capable of granting great power, and are eagerly sought by humans and demons alike. Kagome and InuYasha set out to collect the shards to avoid disasters caused by Sacred Jewel of Four Souls.

So there you have it in a nutshell (thanks as always Wikipedia). So what are you waiting for? Go to your Netflix account and start watching Inuyasha already!

Finished All 4 Seasons of Mad Men In Under A Month

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was reeled into the world of Mad Men once it became available on Netflix. I was so sucked in, that I breezed through all four seasons of this show in less than a month’s time. It was just that good. All of my other shows in my Netflix queue took a back seat as I would watch one episode after the other, day after day, until I finally finished them all today.

Now that I’m all caught up, I’m impatiently awaiting the fifth season of this show. Per the internet, they just started filming the new season and it won’t air until some time in 2012. I guess I’ll just have to wait for any unanswered questions and plot twists to get resolved. In the meantime I’ll just have to distract myself with other shows. It’s going to be hard. I want to go back into that world and see what is Don Draper going to do next.

Puzzled, Intrigued And Reeled Into The World of Mad Men

AMC’s Mad Men made its debut on Netflix on Wednesday, July 27, 2011. Since then I’ve watched 5 episodes and am still at a loss of words to explain how I feel about the show. Usually, there needs to be at least one likeable character or a character with redeemable qualities for me to continue watching. I haven’t found such a character in this show and yet I’m looking forward to the next episode.

I’ve heard people say that this show takes a while to develop and get interesting but I haven’t had that reaction. The writing is incredible, subtle, intelligent and really takes you back to the 60’s. Each character is packed with layers of characterization, nuances, neurosis and quirks that they seem believable and you feel like a fly on the wall peeking into the private world of real living breathing people.

The show is of course centered around one character, Donald Draper, who is played by Jon Hamm to brilliant effect. Thus far, 5 episodes in, I find nothing relatable about this character. He seems the most flawed of the cast, with a troubled past that he wants no one to know about and who can’t help but act out in self-destructive ways with indulgences of infidelity, chain-smoking and hard-drinking. You would think this would cause me to have contempt for his character but the writing is such that I can’t stop asking, “why?”. Why is he doing those things? It’s obvious that he’s troubled, filled with some self-loathing and isn’t proud of his moral ambiguous ways. And yet he continues on with his never-ending circle of self-destruction.

This is one of those shows that I have no idea where the ride is taking me and yet I have complete confidence in the writing that it will be a someplace good. Despite having more questions than answers about the characters and the plot of Mad Men I’m still enjoying it tremendously. The visual authenticity of the time period definitely helps. I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the four seasons on Netflix.