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Anime of the Year 1997-IV Fall - Kenpuu Denki Berserk


kivandopulus

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Kenpuu Denki Berserk is inevitably the winner here, but I also favor Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi II as a firm masterpiece because it's the rare sequel that even surpasses great original. Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan - Ishinshishi e no Chinkonka can be considered as borderline masterpiece.
 
1. Kenpuu Denki Berserk Berserk 剣風伝奇ベルセルク [OLM] (Finished 25/25)
Tags: Seinen Gore, Military, Mythology Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Guts, a man who will one day be known as the Black Swordsman, is a young traveling mercenary characterized by the large greatsword he carries. He accepts jobs that offer the most money, but he never stays with one group for long—until he encounters the Band of the Hawk. Ambushed after completing a job, Guts crushes many of its members in combat. Griffith, The Band of the Falcon's leader and founder, takes an interest in Guts and duels him. While the others are no match for Guts, Griffith defeats him in one blow.
Incapacitated and taken into the Band of the Hawk's camp to recover, Guts wakes up two days later. He confronts Griffith, and the two duel yet again, only this time with a condition: Guts will join the Band of the Falcon if he loses. Due to his fresh injuries, Guts loses the fight and is inducted by Griffith.
In three years' time, Guts has become one of the Band of the Hawk's commanders. On the battlefield, his combat prowess is second only to Griffith as he takes on large groups of enemies all on his own. With Guts' immense strength and Griffith's leadership, the Band of the Hawk dominate every battle they partake in. But something menacing lurks in the shadows, threatening to change Guts' life forever.
It's still the best version of Berserk best arc Golden Age as more modern retelling cut things like band of Griffin interactions which is absolutely unacceptable. One of the best stories ever told, innovative and genius.  
Overall Rating: 10/10
 
2. Kyuuketsuhime Miyu (TV) Vampire Princess Miyu 吸血姫美夕 [AIC] (Finished 3/26)
Tags: Shoujo Mythology, Vampire Action, Drama, Horror
Evil Shinma (shape-shifting monsters and vampires) roam the Earth on a mission to unleash their darkness upon the Human race. Miyu Royal Princess from the dark is the Chosen One—the one being who must banish the Evil Shinma from the Earth. She has the power to offer Humans the gift of eternal happiness, yet is herself, trapped between two worlds; destined for perpetual solitude and internal conflict.
Miyu's only companion is Larva, once an evil Shimna; now her devoted guardian. Together they share a dark journey through the weakness of the human heart and the tragic loss of innocence. Cut off from humanity by the knowledge of what she is, Miyu lives an endless quest as both the hunter and the hunted, on the edge of darkness.
I rated 1988 OVA version as 4, so it's hard to expect much from alternative version. Basically, I don't like characters, I don't like theme and I don't like monster of the week concept.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
3. Dr. Slump ドクタースランプ [Toei Animation] (Finished 3/74)
Tags: Shounen Gag Humor Comedy, Sci-Fi, Slice of Life
In Penguin Village, humans live alongside talking animals and objects. Senbei Norimaki is one of these humans, and he's an inventor with the lofty dream of creating the world's best robot girl.
The product of his efforts is Arale, but depending on your definition of perfect, she's anything but! Not only is Arale severely nearsighted, but she also has no common sense! At least she has super-strength, though that often proves to be a setback as well.
Although she means well, Arale only causes trouble for her neighbors in the whimsical Penguin Village!
I could never get to like Arale-chan as it looked too childish and absurd in comparison to Shin-chan and Maruko-chan. But with series reboot it might get more modern and complex... and of course it did not. One needs to appreciate simple absurd gag comedy humor to like it .  
Overall Rating: 6/10
 
4. Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi II Those Who Hunt Elves II エルフを狩るモノたち II [Group TAC] (Finished 12/12)
Tags: Shounen Isekai Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
After Junpei botched the second attempt to transport back to Japan, the four embark their journey once again to collect runes imprinted on skin of Elven females by stripping them. Celsia is cursed into the form of another animal this time.
I was afraid that with novelty gone old mechanisms won't excite anymore, but Those Who Hunt Elves proved once again that they can reinvent themselves. Now each episode works out of a theme, among those one science theory, two fairy tales, one Christmas fantasy and just cool stories about gags like dreaming pillows or elven toilets. One of those rare sequels that even surpass original.  
Overall Rating: 8/10
 
5. Battle Athletess Daiundoukai (TV) Battle Athletes Victory バトルアスリーテス大運動会 [AIC] (Finished 3/26)
Tags: Shounen School Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi, Sports
Akari Kanzaki has just joined an all-girls academy in hopes of entering the University Satellite, an elite sports training facility. She wants to win the title of Cosmo Beauty - a title held years ago by her mother. It's not an easy task for her as fear, doubt and peer pressure get in her way, but friends, rivals and fans slowly encourage her to overcome her obstacles and become the best of the Battle Athletes.
Just wow, OVA has not ended yet and there's a whole season of same sci-fic spokon bore. During three episodes I failed to understand what for to like this series at all - pointless action, average characters, below average humor and non-existing plot or concept.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
6. Virus: Virus Buster Serge VIRUS -VIRUS BUSTER SERGE- [Plum] (Finished 4/12)
Tags: Detective, Mecha Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Neo Hong Kong, 2097: The world has changed. Advances in genetic engineering and cybernetics have created an environment full of artificially enhanced humans and intelligent super-computers that operate using biological software. But the same technology that has allowed man and machine to merge has made both susceptible to a new kind of threat—digital viruses capable of controlling their hosts.
What we got as initials is worrying - source is exploration Sega game, director who debuted for some episodes in the Bubblegum crisis OVA, four bishounens who mostly operate in the field and some girls who mostly supervise from HQ. As a result the whole virus stuff finishes by the end of 2nd episode and further on it's just aimless Bubblegum all over again without the same quality though.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
7. Master Mosquiton '99 Master of Mosquiton '99 マスターモスキートン'99 [TV Tokyo] (Finished 3/26)
Tags: Vampire Action, Adventure, Comedy, Supernatural 
Catholic schoolgirl Inaho discovers that a vampire, Mosquiton, is feeding off of her classmates. So she stakes him, but he is revived after her blood comes in contact with the his remains. Mosquiton becomes her slave and also a history teacher. Together, along with Yuuki and Honou, the unlikely duo have many escapades and adventures. One of Inaho's main goals is to find the mythical O-Part to make some money!
Since OVA my attitude has not changed, and OVA is the better experience overall.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
 
8. Yume no Crayon Oukoku Crayon Kingdom of Dreams 夢のクレヨン王国 [Toei Animation] (Finished 3/70)
Tags: Shoujo Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
The civilians of the Crayon Kingdom have always view their Princess Silver as a twelve-year old girl with a beautiful smile. However, unknown to them, the princess has 12 bad habits. This has created much distress to the Chameleon Prime Minister and the Crayon ministers for it would be embarassing if this gets out. One day, a party was held to celebrate Princess Silver's twelvth birthday. The princess was trying to seek her Prince Charming that she forgot to take notice of her bad habits. One of the boys at the party was so angry that he changed Silver's parents, the King and Queen, into stone. In order to break the curse and save her parents, Silver decided to set on a journey to locate the boy. Together with her companions, Silver begins her adventure.
Chibi shoujo travelling with anthropomorphic veggies and animals comedy is not something I crave for. Humor is ok, and that's what matters .  
Overall Rating: 6/10
 
9. Fortune Quest L Fortune Quest フォーチュン·クエストL [E&G Films] (Finished 1/26)
Tags: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy 
Our story is set in another world, parallel to ours. We meet Pastel, an orphan girl, 18 years old, who lives with a group of adventurers in a small house. Pastel works as a writer and also a "mapper", charting towns, the countryside, rivers and mountains with sketches and illustrations.
She is highly respected by her friends as her intelligence and honesty are extraordinary. Living in the house with Pastel, we meet Clay, a young swordsman; Trapp, the son of a bandit chieftain; Kitton, literally a working dictionary and a descendant of the Family Kittons; Knoll, a big guy a with tender heart; Whitey, a baby dragon; and Rumy, an infant sorcerer of the tribe "Elf." Together this odd group become involved in many mysterious adventures from treasure hunting, to searching for a missing person, to challenging a riddle, to many more unexpected quests.
Seems to have only single subbed episode which is more of an introductory one. As long as such situation persists, let's leave it at OVA score.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
 
10. Chou Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru Super Demon Hero Wataru 超魔神英雄伝ワタル [Sunrise] (Finished 3/51)
Tags: Mecha Action, Adventure, Comedy 
After the battle with Doakuder at Soukaizan (the "other" world where the rainbow has disappeared because of the devils), a demon world Devil came to Genseikai (human world) and stole Wataru's conscience. Because of that, Wataru's heart of justice and his memories of being Kyuuseishu (world savior) vanished. After Shibaraku and Himiko brought him back to Shinbukai (the "other" world, where Soukaizan is located), Wataru regained his memories, however his conscience was still missing. To get it back, Kyuuseishu Wataru must return to fight the devils, rescuing all of Soukaizan from catastrophe!
Chou Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru is the 3rd work of the Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru TV series by SUNRISE, and is considered as a "remake" series of the previous Wataru series. It started airing from October 2, 1997, and ended on September 24, 1998, every Thursday from 6:00 to 6:30pm, with a total of 51 episodes.
Silly chibi Sunrise mecha is back. Whatever.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
11. Next Senki Ehrgeiz Next War Chronicle Ehrgeiz ネクスト戦記エーアガイツ [Studio Deen] (Finished 4/12)
Tags: Mecha, Space Action, Sci-Fi 
Earth started space colonization by creating the Next Colonies. Next later rebelled, and created the Next Government. The rebellion became a war, and the multi-purpose Metal Vehicles, MVs for short, were changed for battle purposes. Meanwhile, Terra, an Earth Rebellion force, started creating more trouble for Earth. Now, a mysterious MV-like being, S.A.C ("S" for short), is loose, and Next wants it so that they can win the war. Terra's psychic leader, Hal, has been sensing "S", and wants to know more about the power it has. The future of these three groups will be up to a bunch of outlaws who live on the abandoned Next 7 colony, though no one knows that yet...
There was some potential, but as soon as average characters, then mecha and psychics kicked in, it got irreparable.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
12. Ganbare Goemon Legend of the Mystical Ninja がんばれゴエモン [Trans Arts] (Finished 3/23)
Tags: Shounen Comedy
The evil overlord Makuamuge is planning to take over both the game and real worlds, and it is up to the ninja Goemon, his friends, girlfriend, and giant robot to defeat Makuamuge's henchmen and save both worlds.
One of the better examples of good video game adaptations, but it remains a children-tilt comedy.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
 
13. Shinkai Densetsu Meremanoid 深海伝説MEREMANOID [Triangle Staff] (Finished 3/24)
Tags: Adventure, Fantasy 
The story takes place in the underwater world of Mer. The army of the kingdom of Bars, until recently peaceful, begins a terrible war against its neighbors: the principality of Moslem and the ancient and glorious kingdom of Agadia. No one can explain how the small kingdom of Bars has reached such a power. In a short time, it manages to challenge much larger and more powerful realms. Meanwhile, two young 'spiritual knights' (Jo and Oz) make a living by killing marine monsters. The population, however, is not very tolerant towards the duo. People fear their powers, seeing them as a potential threat. The pair will unwillingly find themselves fighting the army of Bars, and the forces of darkness that have taken its head...
Animation is of very low quality, characters and plot disappoint.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
14. Sakura Momoko Gekijou: Coji-Coji Coji-Coji さくらももこ劇場 コジコジ [Nippon Animation] (Finished 3/100)
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Tags: Comedy, Fantasy 
The only thing that concerns Coji Coji is enjoying life and the wonders of nature. Coji Coji’s friends, on the other hand, are a varied bunch of colorful characters whose many idiosyncrasies have a tendency to create turmoil among one another. Coji Coji’s carefree ways and tendency to shirk responsibility are sometimes a source of frustration, but his childlike wisdom has a way of resolving all of their differences.
Not translated. Characters feel a lot like transformed Sakura class, humor is nice though specific to the theme of such weird youkai characters. There's also just one story for the whole episode, so pace is worse that in Maruko-chan. With second Maruko-chan still running , hard to say who this series is for.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
 
15. Photon Photon: The Idiot Adventures フォトン [AIC] (Finished 6/6)
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Tags: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi, Ecchi
Photon Earth is a young and gentle boy with superhuman strength and "Baka" (meaning "idiot" in Japanese) scribbled on his forehead (apparently by his troublemaking friend Aun Freya). One day, he finds himself engaged to the beautiful fugitive pilot Keyne Acqua after writing "baka" on her forehead. And that's the least of his worries as he must protect both Aun and Keyne from the evil Papacharino, who seeks to steal the secrets of "Aho" (another word for idiot) energy from Keyne's grandfather's ship.
It's coherent, but I'm still not that desperate to praise anything that is not a mess. It's a story of two kids bonding witch some additional characters and fanservice and eventually trouble. To get to decent I should at least somewhat like the characters, but, alas.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
16. Macross Dynamite 7 マクロスダイナマイト7  [Production Reed] (Finished 4/4)
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Tags: Shounen Mecha, Space Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Less than a year after the events that transpired in the Macross 7 TV series, Basara leaves Fire Bomber and travels to the planet Zola. There, he meets a girl named Elma, who is a big fan of Fire Bomber. It is also on this planet where he must once again use his Spiritia powers; this time, to stop an army of poachers and Elma's father Graham from killing a group of space whales travelling within the planetary system.
Lots of music, some bad karaoke and something like a story at times, but totally wasted on someone who never liked Macross 7.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
17. Saber Marionette J Again またまたセイバーマリオネットJ  [Hal Film Maker] (Finished 6/6)
Tags: Harem, Mecha Action, Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi
Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry, female-like androids called marionettes, have returned to Otaru`s side. The somewhat reformed marionettes of Faust (Tiger, Luchs, and Panther) are sent to stay with Otaru and friends to learn more about being human. Enter a seventh marionette named Marine, who has a mysterious power -- and they all possess the special maiden circuit that allows a marionette to feel emotions!
Same immature and unexciting development does not leave it a chance.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
18. Baby☆Love ベイビィ☆LOVE  [Studio Comet] (Finished 1/1)
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Tags: Comedy, Romance 
Seara loved Shuhei ever since she was a little girl. Although, Shuhei was three years older and much bigger than her. He told her to come back when she was older and more grown-up. A few years later, Seara grew to look like a high school student and managed to riggle her way into Shuhei's home. She will now attempt to win his heart, although there might be some obstacles in her path.
Rather banal and short romance with two pairs.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
19. Sakura Taisen: Ouka Kenran Sakura Wars サクラ大戦 桜華絢爛 [Radix] (Finished 4/4)
Tags: Mecha, Performing Arts Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
The year is around the 1920's and the darkness of the demons have arrived. Now, only the people with large amounts of spirit energy can save the Earth. The Flower Division is now going to be sent out destroy the demons for they're our only hope for survival with their new steam-powered machines and unique fighting techniques.
If you want to learn a story or worldview or politics behind it all, look elsewhere since it's more like a prequel or introduction with just all-girl team gathering and operating with mistakes and then male protagonist starting to lead without mistakes. It bears next to zero information.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
 
20. Yakumotatsu Eight Clouds Rising 八雲立つ [Pierrot] (Finished 2/2)
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Tags: Shoujo Historical Adventure, Horror, Supernatural
Fuzuchi Kuraki is a quiet young high school student blessed with immense psychic powers and an ancient sword. He is searching for other magical artifacts with the help of Nanachi Takeo, a college student with latent powers of his own. They delve deep into the dark magic of Izumo, only to discover the secrets buried within the birthplace of all Japanese mythology.
Too many shounen ai allusions for me here and actually none of shoujo, lol. Anyway, it's just a bit of introduction into Kuraki and his circumstances story, and team is ready for new adventures... which aren't serialized.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
21. Detatoko Princess Suddenly Princess でたとこプリンセス [J.C.Staff] (Finished 3/3)
Tags: Comedy, Fantasy 
Lapis is the princess of Sorcerland. She's beautiful, powerful and has a sparkling personality; it`s too bad that she's not that bright. She'll go to any length to protect the most innocent of creatures even if it means destroying the kingdom to do so. And lets not forget her obsession with pudding!
Detatoko Princess is a laugh-out-loud lampoon of all the fantasy stereotypes you've come to love with a generous heaping scoop of slapstick!
It's a very random fantasy slapstick comedy with more chaos than Slayers though still not as absurd as Magical Circle Guru Guru. And since all three episodes are individual stories, there's pretty much nothing in the "story" department.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
22. Elf-ban Kakyuusei: Anata dake wo Mitsumete... エルフ版 下級生 あなただけを見つめて… [PP Project] (Finished 4/4)
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Tags: Harem, School Drama, Romance
High school students Mizuho Yuuki and Miko Kamiyama are best friends. Miko likes fellow classmate Tohru Nagase. Mizuho is determined not to get in the way of their budding relationship. But underclassmate Ai Minamizato also likes Tohru. Tohru must decide which girl he likes the most.
First Kakyuusei game had a unique combination of traits and showed up in fitting time, but all attempts to repeat or imitate it inevitably failed as it was a secondary product with different combination of traits in a different moment of time. It mostly starts to feel too banal, it's exactly the case for this OVA.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
23. Kigyou Senshi Yamazaki: Long Distance Call 企業戦士YAMAZAKI ~LONG DISTANCE CALL~ [Ripple Film] (Finished 1/1)
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Tags: Seinen Drama, Sci-Fi
A 42-year-old salaryman is made to serve his company beyond the grave when his brain is installed in a super-powered android body in order to carry out corporate espionage.
Comedy is fine and there's even some action, but it's just 37 minutes long and the whole premise looks really weird nowadays as super exploited person dies from overwork and continues to be exploited in the afterlife eternally and forces others to work more and more intensely. With the whole corporate espionage kicking in, new product starts to be valued more than a lot of people lives. It's the message I would not want to convey to anyone.  
Overall Rating: 4/10
 
24. Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan - Ishinshishi e no Chinkonka Samurai X: The Motion Picture るろうに剣心 -明治剣客浪漫譚- 維新志士への鎮魂歌 [Gallop] (Finished 1/1)
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Tags: Shounen Historical, Samurai Drama
The war against the Tokugawa Shogunate ended years ago. But there are some who are not happy with the outcome. Shigure Takimi watched his friends and family get slashed down in the name of freedom and prosperity. Now he and a band of desperate rebels have sworn to settle one final score. Only one man stands in their way: Kenshin Himura. But when Shigure discovers Kenshin's true identity as the Hitokiri Battousai, his fight becomes a personal vendetta.
A serious movie about Kenshin past with good samurai action is what I expected from it and that's exactly what I got, so no complaints here. Not for everyone, but it definitely can be enjoyed.  
Overall Rating: 7/10

Edited by kivandopulus

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Vampire Princess Miyu-  I liked this series when I was younger, but to be honest, it hasn't aged well.  It was part of a sub-genre of horror anime that involved mysterious young girls in ambiguous moral situations.  This included Miyu, Jigoku Shoujo, and a number of others.   

Berserk-  Do I really need to say anything about the original? 

Those who Hunt Elves II- Identical meh opinion to the first season.

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I don't know Miyu much, so I can't comment much of it. For Battle Athlete, I only know that it also has the reboot version in 2021.

1997 Berserk anime here is obviously the best one, with 2016 version has a lot of trouble behind production and thus can't deliver enough quality, and it didn't help that Berserk is quite hard to adapt in the first place seeing that it's still ongoing and that it has very nice drawings that the late mangaka work very hard on it. For the info the manga is still unfinished yet, so you may wait for a very long time if you want to see the conclusion of it.

That's all for my comment in regard of Fall 1997 anime.

Edited by littleshogun
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