It’s going to be very anime-heavy in the upcoming days, as the new 2007 Spring season has begun, and there are several series worthy of attention from the Yuri fan. And, thanks to the continued generosity of my readers, I have an even larger pile of anime to watch now. There’s also a greatly belated end-of-season review I really must do sometime soon. So, manga, live-action and Drama CD fans, I’ll try to get at least one thing in a week for you. But anime is where we’re at for the foreseeable future.
So, here we are just barely into the spring anime season. Which of the several series of interest do we with start with? Well, as the large bulk of attention is being paid to Nanoha StrikerS, let’s buck the trend and start with El Cazador instead.
El Cazador is the third of the “chicks with guns” trilogy by Machimo Koichi and Bee Train – the trilogy that began with Noir and continued with Madlax. (And, I’m of the belief that the latter will be hard to beat, given Bee Train’s preference for ambiguously yuri relationships.)
This series has all the “6 degrees of yuri” signposts: the aforementioned director and production company, Fiction Junction Yuuka and savage genius for EP and OP artists, Ai Shimizu (Mikoto in Mai HiMe/Otome, Hatsumi and Fuji-hime in Yamibou among others) and Itou Shizuka (Rei in Maria-sama ga Miteru, among others) voicing the lead roles. Also joining the cast are Hisakawa Aya (who was Chloe in Noir and Rimelda in Madlax making this a hat trick for her) and Toyoguchi Megumi (Sei in Maria-sama ga Miteru). So, cast, crew and music all scream “Yuri.” The big question now has to be – what about the plot?
We don’t yet know, of course. ^_^ Bee Train stories usually take a good 8 episodes to get going. I’m always willing to give any series about that to gain, keep or lose my attention. And we’re only two episodes in at this point. But I expect it to be in the same realm of ambiguously Yuri relationships as the first two entries in the trilogy – that is to say, I’ll bet there’ll be enough Yuri somewhere in here to make us happy. (I sincerely hope we don’t revert to the Avenger model, which was not at *all* the kind of thing I’m looking for.
Let me be lazy for a second and abstract some of my initial response to El Cazador from the Yuricon Mailing List :
El Cazador has so many of the elements we have come to expect from Bee Train that it almost seems a parody of itself. ^_^ The credits have all the same elements as the Noir and Madlax sequences did. It felt a bit like watching a James Bond flick when Cubby Broccoli was doing all the opening sequences. There was a…uniformity…even though they are all different. Same here.
The setting is different from both Madlax and Noir – this time the American southwest or perhaps a Mexico-ish place. The characters look different but again, they are similar – tough, competent, but slightly flaky gunwoman; cute, flaky younger woman with no memory of the past. Repeated murder in the past footage (without plinky musical theme, though…). Weird object with no meaning as of yet, and grand conspiracy in the background. This time, instead of Soldats or Enfant, we have Project Leviathan.
Last, but hardly least, the end credits give us annoying guy in a mask. Oh, and NOW we know where Friday Monday’s little brother got to. He’s the bad guy in this one. ^_^
I was a tad disappointed by the animation for the first episode. The people all look thin and featureless. But it does set off the highly detailed backgrounds of sand and office doors nicely…
Art – 5
Story – I’m deferring this until the story gets going
Characters – 7 (By episode two I kind of like both Nadi and Ellis…)
Yuri – 0 as of yet, unless you count the fact that Hisakawa Aya’s character is clearly an Evil Psychotic Librarian type.
Service – 3 (Crotch shots, maid costumes, I’m sure there’ll be bathing scenes.)
Overall – 7
Nadi’s the goofy, tough gal with a heart of gold type, Ellis is flaky with a distinctly sexual thing going on with her mysterious power. So, there is definite potential and a good track record backing it up. But only time will tell whether Bee Train comes through for us on El Cazador, or not.