So, 2011, huh. Seems like I barely got used to 2010 before it moved up a notch again. Could this mean I'm... getting old? Perhaps I need to reclaim my youth! Quick, to the timemachine!
*crappy sound effect*
Oh wow, 2001! Shiny! Exclamation marks! I'm thin and confused and obsessed with dark, edgy stuff, like pretty florists who kill people with wires and darts!
Yeah, all this was an introduction to my new favourite way to spend the New Year's Eve: watching anime I used to like when I was a teenager, with the help of a drinking game. Oh boy. The amount of shame could've floored me, if not for the soothing effect of like-minded company (thanks, guys; you rock hard) and really rather good organic vodka. I used to like some fairly good manga and anime when I was a teenager, like Rurouni Kenshin or Angel Sanctuary, but oh lord, there's one anime that's just killed by hindsight: Weiss Kreuz. What the hell were we thinking back then? That anime was horrible! The premise is ridiculous, yet taken Very Seriously throughout, the animation mostly nonexistent
and the plots make no sense.
The alcohol didn't help. Weiss Kreuz is still stupid and lazily done. The animators in particular should be ashamed of themselves; half the time, the characters have faces like potato sacks and although this is an anime about four assassins, hardly any fight scenes are animated at all. I think the only thing this anime had going for it was pretty, angsty men posing in the rain, and they couldn't even manage that. Pathetic.
For those of you who have no idea what WK is about, I can try to explain - but this is one of those instances when people usually say, "you had to be there". It sounds incredibly stupid, but here we go: there's this group of assassins called Weiss (geddit, they're the good assassins) who work in a flower shop by day and kill people by night. Yes, a flower shop, where they all live (in the anime, that is). They're all pretty young men, named Aya (the brooding nothing-matters-but-the-mission leader of the group who is obsessed with his comatose little sister), Ken (the boring nice one who used to be a big football star), Youji (the slutty chainsmoker who actually looks over 16 years old) and Omi (the cheerful wunderkind who not only goes to school, works in the flower shop and assassinates by night, but also has mad hacking skills and makes all their mission plans and assumably never sleeps). They only own one outfit each per season, not counting their special assassination outfits of course, have their own cat breed code names and image flowers and significant bloodtypes and Deep Personal Issues and Dark Pasts, and Have To Spend Hours Standing Morosely In The Rain Asking Why. They are voiced by extremely talented and popular voice actors who sing catchy songs. Weiss were put together by Kritiker, a super-seekrit organisation of do-gooders who give them their missions and whose leader is the police commissioner, codenamed Persia.
The opposition consists mostly of power-hungry psychopath politicians (Reiji Takatori being the most prominent), a vague death cult and two other assassin teams: Schreient, the disturbing group of women put together by Takatori's son who is a paedophiliac evil scientist (enough said), and Schwarz (geddit geddit they're the evil assassins!) who are fucking awesome and wipe the floor with Weiss. Seriously. Upon re-watching the series, it seems to me that Schwarz should've been the main characters; they're much cooler and more interesting characters - granted, they're also quite insane. And they never. Ever. Lose. Kickass!
So, yeah. If you're not into pretty men being vaguely homoerotic together while killing people and angsting in the rain (NEVER FORGET TO ANGST IN THE RAIN) Weiss Kreuz has literally nothing to offer you. The voice acting is great, but everything else sucks; the anime is essentially a freebie for the voice actor fans who buy the Weiss CDs. The fandom wrote much, much better plots, and paid much more attention to the fight scenes and assassination strategies than the makers of this anime. I'd actually encourage people to skip the anime and go straight for the fanfic if this premise sounds good to you.
After 25 episodes of this shit, we were hungover and thoroughly ashamed of ourselves for ever finding it cool. Granted, some female characters were unexpectedly nice - but they're girls in Weiss Kreuz, so that means they die by the end of the episode. And Schreient, especially the paedo-bait Tot - dear lord, "disturbing" doesn't begin to cover it. We still had the two OAV episodes, Verbrechen and Strafe, to watch, and weren't looking forward to it. (For those of you wondering why we didn't bother with Glühen, the "reimagining" of the series, I have one word for you: bleh. Also, we didn't have it.)
Imagine our surprise, then, when we found ourselves liking
the OAVs to some degree.
I'm still on holiday, and have time to kill, so here begins my review of Verbrechen and Strafe, the only part of Weiss Kreuz worth the trouble. Well, there's the manga, but it's basically a short prequel to the anime and you can find it scanlated somewhere, I'm sure. The art is quite pretty and dark; if only the anime was more like it. The OAVs come the closest to the manga in spirit, I think, because they have what the anime series never had: actual consistent animation, character development and FOUNTAINS OF BLOOD! Even the plot is quite good, even if it's somewhat ruined in the end by the giant WTF plot twist... but I'm getting ahead of myself.( Collapse )
The review of Strafe