Okay, you're asking yourself "why anime?" Alright, alright, you're probably asking "What the hell is anime?" Anime is anything animated, but in this case, it refers to Japanese cartoons. You remember, don't you, coming home from school, plopping down on the sofa and watching Speed Racer, or Battle of the Planets - don't you? Yes! It's all coming back to you! That's anime!
So, *now* you're asking, "why anime reviews - here in your favorite pagan mag?" Well, isn't it obvious? The same things that make anime interesting - the occult, psychic phenomena, mythology, fantasy, magic and naked women are the same things we all are captivated by. (Speaking for myself, of course.) Anime has gender-bending, giant robots, magical swords, vampyres and nearly anything else a normal pagan could desire.
And so, I thought it was time to provide a long-needed service - to bring these two great things together, anime and the pagan community. Let's face it, about half of you know exactly what I'm talking about already and the other half don't know what you're missing. So heat up your VCRs and get ready to hit the video store - here come the reviews!

All reviews use a 4 star method–
I'm reviewing dubbed and/or subtitled versions.
* means the anime is okay, but you could find better
** good plot, or good characters or good animation, but not all three
*** good show, lots of pagan goodies, all around fun
**** it couldn't get better, even the voice actors rock and all the characters are pagan

Kiki's Flying Delivery Service - Bing! Bing! Bing! We have a winner! I'm starting off with this one because it wins in every category there is. I've always considered myself a jaded, cynical soul, but this little tale of a young witch and her first time away from home, trying to find herself a place in the big world is...well, nice. The animation is stunning, done by one of the masters of the genre, and the celebrity voice actors do a great job in the American dubbed version. It’s not the most action-packed movie ever, but if you've got pagan kids, you'd be hard pressed to find a story in which witches are presented in a more positive light. *** 1/2 - Dubbed or subtitled.

Patlabor - I'll be honest here -there is nothing pagan in this series. Nonetheless, it is one of the best series I've ever seen. Every character is relentlessly human, you're sucked in to the story by 10 minutes into the first episode. The hero is plucky, earnest and so damn cute you just have to root for her, as she tries out for the elite Police Special Vehicles division. Watch for the dry humor of Captain Goto, which contrasts nicely with the squad's propensity for slapstick comedy. The animation isn't sophisticated, but it doesn't need to be. Violence is minimal, comedy is maximal. If you like Giant Robots and excellent characters, watch this series.***1/2

Sailor Moon - Those of you who know me knew this would have to be here, didn't you? Why am I reviewing the number one rated show on Cartoon Network? Because it has a little something for everyone.This cartoon follows the adventures of a small band of young girls (Sailors Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus and Jupiter) as they fight for love and justice against various evil forces. What's the pagan catch? There are several. One of the main characters, Sailor Mars, is a miko - a Shinto priestess in training. She is pyschic and uses her abilities to exorcise demons - and this is when she's in street clothes! All of the characters have the astrological qualities of their planets, as well, which is interesting as you watch their relationships grow over the 200 episodes of the series. The animation is not great, although it does have brief flashes of inspiration. For this series, the big win is the actual characters themselves. The dubbed version is good enough to get you hooked, but the Japanese voices fit the characters much better. And the remaining 3 series that have not been dubbed are much, much better than the 2 that are. They include the Outer Planets (two of whom are lovers,) the animation is better and the character development gets downright intense. You have a young pagan in your household? They could find worse to watch. So could you. One quick warning - this series is habit-forming.
Dubbed version - **1/2 Subtitled version - ***

Revolutionary Girl Utena- We have another winner!! Could this show be better? Major gender-bending, a completely surreal setting, a dash of conspiracy theory and tons of fantasy/occult weirdness, with a soupcon of samurai showdown - this show has it all. Admittedly the Teutonic music and the shadow girls' Greek chorus ocassionally distract, but all in all, it works out to one of the most enjoyably strange things I've ever watched. The dubbed version is as good as the subtitled, even if some of the cultural anomalies are not handled quite correctly. The animation is quirky, but it grows on you. The plot is too complex to summarize, so I won't even try. Just go and rent this one. ***

Bubblegum Crisis/A.D. Police -
If you find these at your video store, unless you really like mecha (the genre of anime that revolves around machinery,) cyborgs, robots and the like, you might want to pass this series up. If you're a machine hound or a big future dystopia scifi fan you might want to give this series a try. It took me a while to get into it, but by episode 4 of BGC, I actually cared and was disappointed to see it go. I found the question of human vs. robot a bit tiring in ADP, but the animation in both was quite excellent and the music (repeated through music videos on the ADP tape) is pretty good, if pop-ish. No real pagan draw, but good near future stuff, cool machinery, tentacles and naked women. **1/2

Oh My Goddess! - Our final entry this time is another winner. The hero, one Keiichi, is a nice, average guy. He mistakenly calls up 1-800-Goddess and finds himself with a real-life Goddess as a companion. Belldandy, the megami-sama in question, is as sweet and pretty as can be, but her sisters Urd and Skuld, who follow her, are another story altogether. Watch for the scene where Belldandy brings the shrine they live in back to life. That scene alone was worth the entire series. This series is a bit over the top in stereotypes, frustrated sexual tension and has a tendency to be formulaic, but its definitely worth a rental. ***

Next time: Vision of Escaflowne
Tenchi Universe
...and more!



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