Sunday, February 26, 2012

Supernatural: The Anime Series

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Supernatural:  The Anime Series - 2 out of 5

I am NOT an fan of anime and every time I tell someone who is they tell me I'm watching the wrong kind of anime (because anime fans refuse to admit that people who don't like anime exist).  But every time I take their recommendations I still find that I'm apparently not watching the right anime.  From my perspective, there are two types of anime:  There is what I call the Action Anime which contains a lot of fast talking intermixed with a lot of "huhs?" with some action sequences thrown in that are, in reality, still images with a lot of action lines around it and screaming and then there is the Sex Anime which contains a lot of giggling girls in school jumpers and rapes by monsters that have a lot of tentacles.  I've watched them both and I can honestly say, I don't like either yet still anime fans will claim I haven't watched the right anime.  But I'm always up for giving something a chance and when that something happens to be anime version of a television show I really like, I'm all in.

Uh oh...I know that look.  The tentacle rape is on its way.

Sadly, I lost this bet, big time.

I love the show Supernatural--hell, it's the only good show the CW has--and when it was announced that the Japanese animation company Madhouse was doing an anime spinoff of the show, I laughed because the idea was ridiculous to me.  Then I watched the trailer and I still laughed because the idea was still ridiculous.  However, because I love the adventures of Sam and Dean Winchester hunting demons and stopping the end times, I gave the series a shot and I have to say...I still don't like anime.

This isn't a still image...this is how the action in the
show actually looks.
Supernatural:  The Anime Series (also called Supernatural:  The Animation) is a re-imagining of the first two seasons of the live-action series with some original stories thrown in to boot.  The wit and charm of the two brothers takes a backseat to darker tones and stories and more violence and blood.  Sure this could work but this is what I call an Action Anime so all the violence is just still images with action lines and screaming and/or roaring in anger.  This animated series follows the brothers as they try to find their father and take down the infamous Yellow-Eyed Demon; Azazel.

I will give the show this:  Their re-tooled look of Azazel was pretty cool.
This is suppose to be Bobby.  Boy did they ruin
that awesome character.
The show has a nice look to it despite the fact it is, on the surface, a paint-by-numbers anime design.  The familiar characters of Sam, Dean, John Winchester and Bobby look nothing like their real-life counterparts as they and nearly every other character has the cliche anime look of wide-eyes, triangle noses and small mouths.  Thankfully they don't go the route of Pokemon and have the cartoon anime look and, instead, go with the gritty, nearly-real anime route.  Despite the overly familiar, and uninspired, look of the characters, the animation company made the environments look really good and used color extremely well to set mood and tone.  Hell, even the actually animation of the characters is good...for the most part.  Some character animation is fluid and well done but other times characters move awkwardly and make the series feel like it was rushed to market.  This feeling is only compacted by the fact that while Jared Padalecki provided his voice for his character Sam, Jensen Ackles was mysterious absent (possibly due to scheduling conflicts) to provide his voice for Dean in every episode but the last two.

I guess they kinda look like Sam and Dean...if you squint.

This brings me to the worst aspect of the show--worse than the still images that anime fans call action--the voice acting.  The voice acting is ear-bleedinly bad.  With Jensen Ackles gone for most of the series, Andrew Farrar takes on the role of Dean and what passes sounds more like a frat boy's attempt at doing an impersonation of someone impersonating a man impersonating Dean.  Sure Farrar starts to get better as the series goes but by the time he's actually decent, Ackles shows up and takes the role back.  But it's not just Farrar ruining the audio with lackluster and lack of feeling voice acting as a majority of the supporting actors sound like they were working for gas gift cards that barely covered the cost of driving to the studio but Padelecki himself is barely able to sound convincing playing the character he's played for 6 plus season.  And, of course since it's anime, 85% of the dialogue is panting, grunting and a lot of "Huhs?" and "What thes?"

The show takes the psychic character of Missouri Mosely and turns her into a voodoo
priestess-like character.  Way to dig deep into the barrel of cliches, Supernatural:  The Anime Series.

Being I'm not an anime fan (and clearly never will be) I don't know if this show constitutes the "right" anime but all I know is I didn't enjoy it.  I kept telling myself while watching it that this series was meant to be its own Supernatural universe and not meant to be a addition to the live action series but after riding with Sam and Dean through all their adventures it's nearly impossible for me to NOT take the real deal over a poorly executed anime substitute.  Even the actors of Ackles and Padalecki don't seem convinced of the show's quality when they introduce each episode.  Even ending every episode with the trademark song used at the end of every season in the wrap-up called "The Road So Far...," the epic tune by Kansas "Carry On My Wayward Son" isn't enough to make this series hold a candle to its live-action counterpart.

Seriously, look at them.  They don't look sold on this show at all...and worse yet, you can
actually hear the lack of enthusiasm in their voices as they intro every episode.

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