We've started three series in the last few months. Here are some quick notes on each, with spoilers for the first two or four episodes. Spoil me and I will sic a hocus on you—which includes anything referring to episodes that I haven't seen, period, end of statement.
Crest of the Stars, episodes 1-2.
I don't know if it was user failure, but I couldn't seem to get dubbing to work in the first section of each episode. This doubtless contributed to our general reaction of bafflement. As best I recall now (this was a while ago), there's an invasion, and a kid's father runs away, and there's some family stuff, and the kid is on his way to go to school or live in the alien culture, and there's some kind of conspiracy, maybe? Anyway, we seemed to have a really hard time following this.
I will probably give the next few episodes a try, just to see if the family stuff ends up having any relevance—and relatively soon, as yhlee would probably like her DVDs back sometime this decade (or would you prefer me to mail then after you've moved so you don't have to pack them?).
Last Exile, episodes 1-4.
Because the ship designs didn't stick with me at first, I initially had a hard time determining what we were supposed to infer and what was going to be revealed, but I think I've got it now, mostly. Anyway, warring countries, system of "chivalry" governing battle breaking down for reasons as-yet unknown, random big-ass battleship (I think random, anyway), mysterious Girl in Peril, plucky young heroes. Airships are cool, but I'm not really clicking with any of the characters. Chad's willing to continue, though, so we might as well.
(I liked that someone commplained about chivalry just after I told the TV how stupid it was to line up and shoot at each other, but really, is slaughter without rules any better?)
Princess Tutu, episodes 1-2.
Really, that's what I've got to say about this: very peculiar.
Okay, more than that. I've not watched any shojo anime before, and I figured I'd try this one because of the massive amounts of squee on my reading list about it.
I was well-inclined toward it from the opening voiceover to the first episode:
Once upon a time, there was a man who died. The man's work was the writing and telling of stories. But he could not defy death.
The last story he was working on was about a brave and handsome prince who vanquishes a crafty raven. But now, it seems their battle will go on for eternity.
"I'm sick and tired of this," cried the raven.
"I'm sick and tired of this," cried the prince as well.
The raven escaped from the pages of the story, and the prince pursued the fell creature.
In the end, the prince took out his own heart and sealed the raven away by using a forbidden power.
Just then, a murmur came from somewhere. "This is great!" said the old man who was supposed to have died.
Isn't that cool?
And then a duck watches the sad prince dance on water and wishes to see him smile, and someone who, at this point, I infer is the old man [*], turns her into a girl at the same dance school as the prince.
[*] Edit: see the icon; I couldn't resist.
But then we get into the slapsticky stuff, which here I find more squirm- than smile-inducing, and I'm not sure that the whole Magical Girl thing works for me (she turns into yet another form/persona/character, the Princess Tutu of the title, and dances [*] to save people from falls or to heal emotional wounds, that we've seen so far). No, I can't put my finger on what bugs me about it, it's just making me a bit twitchy.
[*] Can someone recommend a spoiler-safe resource for identifying the music being danced to? I'm sure it has resonance but I'm an uncultured cretin.
Also, WTF is up, not so much with the Cat as a dance teacher, but with his threat that if the girls don't behave, he'll force them to marry him? And none of the characters seeming to find this as creepy as they should?
(On the other hand, Anteaterina was creepy but in appropriate measure to her role.)
Anyway, I do want to know about the raven and the storyteller (less the prince or the duck, at this point, though I do like that the prince is the one needing rescue), and it's so highly thought of that I do intend to watch some more. Chad doesn't, not that I thought he would, so I'd planned to watch as much as possible while he's away this week (we have three discs from Netflix), but now I'm not so sure—if I watch too much at once, I might lose the ability to communicate anything other than "that was very peculiar."
*wanders away muttering, "very peculiar."*