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Anime of the Year 1998-III Summer - Serial Experiments Lain



Again I'm being too picky with candidates. Among decent works Serial Experiments Lain is at least one that had potential and intrigue to go on. 
1. Serial Experiments Lain シリアルエクスペリメンツレイン  [Triangle Staff] (Finished 13/13)
Tags: Psychological Avant Garde, Award Winning, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Supernatural
Lain Iwakura, an awkward and introverted fourteen-year-old, is one of the many girls from her school to receive a disturbing email from her classmate Chisa Yomoda—the very same Chisa who recently committed suicide. Lain has neither the desire nor the experience to handle even basic technology; yet, when the technophobe opens the email, it leads her straight into the Wired, a virtual world of communication networks similar to what we know as the internet. Lain's life is turned upside down as she begins to encounter cryptic mysteries one after another. Strange men called the Men in Black begin to appear wherever she goes, asking her questions and somehow knowing more about her than even she herself knows. With the boundaries between reality and cyberspace rapidly blurring, Lain is plunged into more surreal and bizarre events where identity, consciousness, and perception are concepts that take on new meanings.
Written by Chiaki J. Konaka, whose other works include Texhnolyze, Serial Experiments Lain is a psychological avant-garde mystery series that follows Lain as she makes crucial choices that will affect both the real world and the Wired. In closing one world and opening another, only Lain will realize the significance of their presence.
It impressed me in the past, but somehow very little remained in memory except ravens , wires and blood. Such work would have trouble releasing today with suicide spree, drugs and promotion of escapism in search for better connection. Now I find it rather boring and repeating the same things over and over making all the middle episodes till some 11th rather useless for the story, thin as it is already. It probably still deserves a honorary masterpiece for sum of factors - visual ones, novelty, directorship, images of Lain at pcs in later stages, windy escaping narration, modulation of virtual reality - things like that. But for that I need to enjoy it and be ready to recommend it, and it's no-no in both cases.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
2. Night Walker: Mayonaka no Tantei Nightwalker: The Midnight Detective Night Walker -真夜中の探偵- [AIC] (Finished 3/12)
Tags: Vampire Action, Horror, Mystery
Shido Tatsuhiko is not only a private eye... he is also a vampire with no real memory of his past. Joined by Yayoi Matsunaga, a female government agent, Riho Yamazaki, an orphaned teenage girl working as his girl Friday and Guni, a little green imp, Shido must face demonic creatures known as Nightbreed. Meanwhile, Cain, the vampire who made him what he is now, is seeking him...
Main problem here is short and old visual novel as source. As a result , we only get a colorful bunch of characters and some plot , but at the same time no characters backstories or no attempt to have a meaningful ending. It has detective vampire action all right, but not more than that.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
3. Shadow Skill: Eigi 影技 SHADOW SKILL [Studio Deen] (Finished 3/26)
Tags: Shounen Martial Arts, Super Power Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
In the land of Kuruda, warriors with magical powers and incredible fighting skills battle for the ultimate prize: the title of Sevaar, the strongest warrior in the land. Elle Ragu, nicknamed Shadow Skill, is the newest Sevaar to emerge, but that doesn't make her life any easier. Teaching her "little brother," Gau, how to be a warrior, fending off assassins from other kingdoms and thwarting enemy invasions is hard enough, but her biggest challenge will be paying off her drinking debts.
I evaluated both preceding OVA and movie very low, so I'm quite irritated to see this shallow concept overgrow further into a TV series. It used to be constant rivalry between two equally gifted shadow skill users with some adventure on the side, now it's different as Elle is the mentor and Gau more of student. This provides more reasonable boundaries for adventures, though the bulk is still devoted to flying fighting .  
Overall Rating: 6/10
4. Hatsumei Boy Kanipan 発明BOYカニパン [Studio Comet] (Finished 2/31)
Tags: Mecha Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
The story revolves around Kanipan aiming to be the best inventor and his adventures while trying to accomplish this.
Only two episodes are translated. And it's too childish, something like younger Inspector Gadget.  
Overall Rating: 4/10
5. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Memorial Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon Memorial 美少女戦士セーラームーン メモリアル [Toei Animation] (Finished 5/5)
Tags: Mahou Shoujo, Mythology Romance
A summary of each season of the Sailor Moon franchise, narrated by various Sailor Moon characters.
Super convenient for people like me who only want plot arcs and moves. This way no need to watch Sailor Moon Crystal. As it's only recap, can't evaluate it higher than everything else.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
6. Change!! Getter Robo: Sekai Saigo no Hi Getter Robo: Armageddon 真(チェンジ!!)ゲッターロボ 世界最後の日 [Brain's Base] (Finished 3/13)
Tags: Shounen Mecha, Psychological Action, Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi
Dr. Saotome returns from the dead after being seemingly murdered by Getter pilot Nagare Ryoma and threatens the world with his ultimate creation: the Shin Dragon. Ryoma reluctantly teams up with his former co-pilots Jin Hayato and Tomoe Mushashi to combat Dr. Saotome. The pilots must also deal with the mysterious Invaders, aliens that have the ability to possess humans and warp their flesh to form hideous creatures.
No amount of modern animation can save morally old obsolete franchises.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
7. Bannou Bunka Neko-Musume DASH! All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Dash! 万能文化猫娘DASH! [Production Reed] (Finished 3/12)
Tags: Action, Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Ecchi
It's in the not too distant future. One day Nuku-Nuku dropped in and began to live with the Natsume family. Having lost her memory, Nuku-Nuku assumed the identity of a beautiful girl named Atsuko Higuchi. She was so beautiful and gentle, and besides, she was such a great cook that Ryunosuke, 14, was all smiles. However, after her arrival in town, a series of mysterious incidents started to happen in Maneki City - Experimental machines running haywire, roaring fighter aircraft flying low, mass destruction in the city. In every case, a mysterious girl was spotted at the scene of the incident.
With new gentle personality the amount of craziness happening from the start is seriously toned down. Since it's third Neko-Musume animation, too little too late. Peaceful parts start to look like Oh Megami-sama, action parts are relatively similar to what they were. As usual, series is lacking any sense of direction.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
8. Chou Kidou Densetsu DinaGiga Super Mobile Legend Dinagiga 超機動伝説ダイナギガ [Studio Deen] (Finished 2/2)
Tags: Mecha Sci-Fi 
Touno Hikari is learning to pilot robots at a training facility. While she cannot do anything right, her instructors are interested in her for some reason. As the students learn to pilot the robots, they become suspicious of the goal of the training facility. Marie Vlaanderen transfers into the facility, and her instructor says that Marie has been training for all of her life and has the best chance of awakening "it".
First episode is nice as it's just piloting school SOL, not of Gunbuster level though. Second episode is a very messy fight, and it leaves a negative overall impression.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
9. Juliet ジュリエット [Public & Basic, Ripple Film] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Comedy, Supernatural, Ecchi 
This is a story of two siblings, Anzu and Naruto Nozaki, heirs to the fabulous Nozaki fortune. Naruto appears to be an overbearing sis-con. In fact, he's madly in love with Anzu, because they're not blood-related. He confines her to the family mansion for "security," depriving her of companionship and a real life. At age 16, she starts to rebel. She smuggles in a kitten as a pet (Naruto hates cats) and then escapes in a delivery truck. Naruto catches up to her and realizes that she can't be confined like a bird in a cage. He agrees to let have a normal life, but just then, tragedy strikes
It's so bad because it's just a sequence of flashes in front of different males with only something vague  resembling plot.  
Overall Rating: 4/10
10. Efficus: Kono Omoi o Kimi ni...  efficus この想いを君に... [Magic Bus] (Finished 2/2)
Tags: -
Formerly the kingdom's foundations, now the Efficus Manjuu makes the pocket money of its three princesses and they must step in on its defense...
Not translated. Game was a private school dating sim, but this one is some strange parody with same characters. It's some poor kingdom with princesses , but there's also flying swordsmen, some mecha, some magic and computers. And girls have to oppose some flying swordsmen in order not to sign some contract... just very very very bad.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
11. Shin Kidou Senki Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz Special Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz 新機動戦記ガンダムW Endless Waltz 特別篇  [Sunrise] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Mecha, Military, Space Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
It is A.C. 196—one year after the conflict between Earth and its nearby space colonies ended with the formation of the Earth Sphere Unified Nation. As mankind enters a new era of unity and prosperity, four of the five Gundam pilots decide to follow in society's footsteps and disarm by launching their mobile suits into the sun. However, their plan is unexpectedly suspended when a rebellion erupts with the emergence of Mariemaia Khushrenada—who claims to be the child of fallen dictator Treize and desires to conquer the world in his stead.
Deciding that they are the last line of defense for the Earth Sphere, Heero Yuy, Trowa Barton, Duo Maxwell, and Quatre Raberba Winner scramble to retrieve their Gundams and fight to protect the peace the people of the colonies have pursued for so long. Despite their unwavering resolve to complete one final mission, the battle will be challenging: the pilots' former ally Wufei Chang has pledged his allegiance to Mariemaia's cause instead.
First watchable Gundam piece, to be honest. All previous ones were either visually disappointing or strikingly boring or pretentiously stupid or super confusing like that Wing recap that repeated relatively the same story from different characters viewpoints. There's a long way to go from watchable to interesting to masterpiece, still.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
12. Spriggan スプリガン  [Studio 4°C] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Shounen Military Adventure, Sci-Fi
Long before the era of prehistoric man, an advanced alien species inhabited Earth. Negligent of the power they held, these beings ultimately caused their own demise. However, the aliens left behind a warning to future civilizations on indestructible tablets: to destroy any remains of the ruinous technology created by their kind.
In modern times, the ARCAM Corporation and their paramilitary unit—the Spriggans—seek to seal the relics away and prevent renegade actors from exploiting their powers. Following ARCAM's recent discovery in the Ararat Mountains of what is believed to be the mythic Noah's Ark, Spriggan Yuu Ominae has been dispatched to investigate.
However, the site is ambushed by the US Machine Corps—a radical faction of the Department of Defense led by Colonel MacDougall. On the Pentagon's orders, MacDougall seeks to secure ARCAM's lead scientist and seize the artifact. Teamed up with fellow Spriggan Jean Jacquemondo, Yuu must stop MacDougall and the Machine Corps' elite soldiers from advancing on the Ark before it is too late.
It's just fighting action - decent, but there's a limit where it can get to. It's sort of darkish and with little tactics, but it's a matter of taste.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
13. Slayers Gorgeous スレイヤーズごぅじゃす  [J.C.Staff] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Supernatural
Sorceresses Lina Inverse and Naga the Serpent are enjoying a meal in a villiage when the residents suddenly retreat indoors and two armies - one of men and one of a young girl and a tribe of dragons. Although the ruler of the town originally tries to convince Lina that this is because of a dark legacy, in truth the dragon army is led by his daughter and their battles are over her allowance. Lina agrees to help the ruler while Naga joins his daughter, Marlene.
Can't treat duo adventures with Naga seriously. Another charade plot with production values getting polished more and more each time.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
14. Kidou Senkan Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness Martian Successor Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness 機動戦艦ナデシコ The prince of darkness [Xebec] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Mecha, Psychological, Space Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Two years have passed since the end of the "Martian Successor Nadesico." Akito and Yurika have disappeared. The Jovians and the Earthlings have joined forces and Ruri is now captain of Nadesico B. As the popularity of Boson Jumping grows, a vast transportation network has been developed. Dubbed the Hisago Plan, this network of Chulip portals holds the answers to the mysteries behind Bose particles and their power. If those secrets should fall into the wrong hands, it could mean big trouble. And big trouble there is. A Martian splinter group has launched an offensive, leaving the United Forces befuddled and desperate. So much so, in fact, that the former crew of the Nadesico is called back to active duty for a special unsanctioned mission-to save us all. Does this menagerie of misfits have what it takes? Who will win the race for the Boson technology? And what the heck happened to Akito and Yurika?
Some Ruri spin-off with more serious tone and somewhat altered setting. Feels even worse than the series.  
Overall Rating: 5/10
15. Kidou Senshi Gundam: Dai 08 MS Shoutai - Miller's Report 機動戦士ガンダム 第08MS小隊 ミラーズ・リポート  [Sunrise] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Mecha, Military Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
Shortly after being rescued off the Himalayas, Federation Ensign Shiro Amada is accused of espionage due to his encounter with Zeon's top-secret mobile armor. Intelligence officer Alice Miller is assigned to investigate on Shiro's whereabouts during his disappearance. Her documented findings will determine whether or not Shiro is a traitor, and what his fate will be as commander of the 08th MS Team.
It's more of a recap for those like me who was absolutely not satisfied with visual quality and simplified interactions of original 08th MS Team. Again, watchable now, but fails to impress.  
Overall Rating: 6/10
16. Otoko wa Tsurai yo: Torajirou Wasurenagusa 男はつらいよ 寅次郎忘れな草 [Eiken] (Finished 1/1)
Tags: Comedy, Romance 
Anime adaptation of the "Otoko wa Tsurai yo (It's tough being a man)" film series by Youji Yamada.
Kuruma Torajirou (or Tora-san), a traveling salesman whose sole possessions include only the contents of a small suitcase, the clothes on his back and some pocket money, wanders from town to town peddling his wares.
Not translated. Basically, adult man gets bored at all possible occasions and starts fooling around or loses control over his body, so to speak. Being a concentrated version from several movies it's worth the time, but not in this state without translation.  
Overall Rating: 6/10

Edited by kivandopulus


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Nightwalker- An old favorite of mine that was never completed.  As vampire anime go, it is one of the better ones, but that is about all I can say about it today.

Lain- This one is outside my preferred genres, but it is high quality.


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Lain is definitely ahead of time when it talk about on the culture of the internet, in which it's what we experienced in these recent years. Apparently the director want to make it very bad for American viewer so that they can discuss about culture difference between them and Japanese, although turned out he's failed because turned out that American people also appreciate Lain from the same way as Japanese did. That said, I only know about this from TV Trope and that it wasn't broadcasted in Indonesia, so I don't know much about it. If anything else, at least it inspired Code Lyoko (French animation series) with both Lain and Lyoko deal with the internet stuffs.

That's all for what I can comment on Summer 1998 anime here, and yes I can only comment on Lain.

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