Anime Spotlights: Project Blue Earth SOS, Jyu-Oh-Sei, FLCL

Over this past week, I managed to watch three more anime series in their entirety: Project Blue Earth SOS, Jyu-Oh-Sei, and FLCL.

Project Blue Earth SOS: This series is made up of six 45-minute episodes. As I watched it, I thought there was an interesting dichotomy between the 1920s aesthetic of the series’ world and the futuristic technology that is used by the characters. It seems to take place in some kind of alternate universe, since actual historical events are referenced (such as World War II), yet the time frame of the series (around the year 2000) doesn’t match how our world was at that point in time. But I thought the series had an interesting story to tell, and I appreciated seeing the character development for Penny and Billy progressed throughout the series.

Jyu-Oh-Sei: This 11 episode series is based on a manga by Natsumi Itsuki. At first, it almost feels like it’s going to have a Lord of the Flies vibe, but near the end, there’s much more of a noticeable sci-fi angle going on. About halfway through the series, there’s a rather jarring time skip that happens. Story-wise, I understand why the time skip happens, but how the anime handles it makes it feel rather jumpy. Perhaps it was done that way in the manga; however, since I’ve never read the manga, I can’t say this with any certainty. While I came to care about the characters, there was something about how the series ended that left me a little unsatisfied. It’s not a bad series, but I didn’t feel that I quite got the payoff that I was hoping for.

FLCL: I’ve now seen all six episodes of this now classic anime. It’s very wacky and humorous, and at first, there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to it. While the viewer eventually learns what the story is really about, it takes so long for this to become evident that, to me at least, it weakens the story. The series also contains several anime references as part of its humor; while I picked up on most of it, I think there’s still one or two that sailed over my head. The quality of the animation is never terribly consistent, and to me, at least, it seemed to go downhill with each episode. FLCL definitely has an appeal to viewers who enjoy wacky humor, and it’s probably not bad for what it’s trying to accomplish. However, I know that FLCL isn’t the type of anime that would normally appeal to me, so this does make me a little biased. In the end, this series just wasn’t for me. But at least I can say that I’ve finally seen it.

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