June 17, 2007

Painting with Numbers

This is a repost from my old blog....primarily as a public service to protect people from making this same terrible terrible mistake....

While over at Pulp Junkie and Gorilla Daze, they astutely watched really cool (or at least creative) things this weekend, I am stuck with the awful knowledge that I just spent money on Grenadier.

Some time ago, I saw episode one which looked promising, I was told that this show was very much like Trigun, which I was very fond of, so when the econopack came available I picked it up.

Unfortunately, it is completely UNlike Trigun in every meaningful way...except in that the main character has a pistol. Although the first episode is promising, it is, regrettably, followed by episode 2 which, sadly, is followed by episode 3...this unwelcome trend continues 9 more times.

The story is disjointed, the pacing is bad and the animation (with the exception of gratuitous bosomy bouncing) is below even most '90s television norms.

The show is a cliche' buffet that seems to have been put together by brainstorming and taking elements from various shows that were popular at the time...
"blonde heroine with same...check"
"ronin sidekick...check"
"cute kid sidekick...check"
"a way to realistically work rubber bunny suits with push-up-bras into a epidode concerned with alpine survival....no...but what the heck"

The main charachters are likeable but essentially cut-outs.

Rushana Tendou, the smiling gunfighter: her goal is to spread peace and love and turn people away from the ways of war...she travels from village to village smiling and living like a monk trying to defuse conflicts...but as her only real skill other than a winsome smile and an hourglass figure is an almost magical competence with her revolver...action abounds. She not just well proportioned, she is top-heavy almost to the point of diminishing returns. The shows only glimmer of imagination is turning this bit of fan service into the shows signature stock-footage moment...

..this delightfully silly speedloading technique...
This should've been the greates show evah!

Yajiro Kojima: Mark 1 Mod 1 ronin (wandering masterless Samurai). He hates gunfighters, considering them cowards, but he is impressed with Rushana's genuine chivalry and sincerity, and so joins her.

Mikani Kurenai: Mark 1 Mod 2 kid the sidekick her parents were your typical fudal era rubber balloon artisans (!!!) and were killed by a band of thugs. She has the skills of a master balloon craftsman and can fashion any sort of latex inflatable thing on short notice....but as there is no latex or plastic readily available one suspects that she's actually a mutant or something and is excreting the rubber...(I prefer to think of it as a latex summoning spell, that bothers me less)

This should have been a decent show especially with the screwball wackieness implied by the reload antics and kids bizarre skillset, but it plods along looking for a plot until suddenly our heroes find a price on their heads....put on them by Rushana's sensei...which then devolves into a stock meet-specialist-bounty-hunter/warrior-of-the-day cliche' for several eps....Then...suddenly...the villain is revealed......to be reason...

...no really. The big bad is some clown in 18th century European garb who explains that the heroines hippie feelgood "get in touch with your feelings"philosophy is no match for the "enlightenment of evil". So we have sentimental emotional fluff opposed to the nashty trixie concepts of the enlightenment.

...just wrong on so many levels.

How bad?
At one point a roving band of rapist thieves are defeated, but in the spirit of feel-goodery they are all given jobs in the brothel they were trying to seize/loot/pillage...so....ummm...everybody wins(?!!)

Even given different cultural mores in Japan, I can't get past that...it is just vile.
Additionally, the peeping Tom humor and fan service gets old quick and there's even a loathsome scene with an old man feeling up his granddaughter (which is supposed to be funny).

Finally, if you are in it for the guns, our heroines muzzle brake is on the bottom....meaning it would accentuate felt recoil....just stupid...this is a really minor point compared to the utter lack of focus....but damn.

The show makes an interesting contrast with Van-Dread, another show that cobbled together a series of cliches' and fan service to make a show. In that case despite the silliness of the premise, it was a very satisfying, action packed, superbly paced and even thoughtful show with really impressive character development.
Right Way...Wrong Way

This show is just painting by numbers....badly....no vision, no spark, no clue.

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