Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2005-03-14 Entry: "Greatest American... Anime?"

Finishing off the first Greatest American Hero disc, we get "The Hit Car" where Bill and Ralph have to drive a witness from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Ralph's clearly having problems with the suit - his flying is still horribly out of control - but at least he's bullet-proof and can run really fast.

Then in "Here's Looking At You, Kid" some targetting thing from an aircraft gets stolen and Bill and Ralph have to get it back. After much flying (and crashing) around the desert, they find the plane, but the macguffin is gone. At this point they find that Ralph can turn invisible, although he doesn't have a great deal of control over it - he has a tendency to disappear even when he doesn't want to, and he can't reappear at will either.

Having managed to put off one of the Miyazaki films until now, "Porco Rosso" is the next viewing - the classic tale of a World War I flying ace transformed to look like a pig. Well, okay, I don't know how classic it is!

This was probably the best of the three Miyazaki films released in this wave, although The Cat Returns was a little more upbeat... and did they re-use the princess from Nausicaa for Fio in this?

Then I stuck with the anime through "I Me My, Strawberry Eggs" volume 2 and "Chobits" volume 5. At least Chobits finally decided to pull some of the story out, as it was getting a bit weak with the same repetitive humour. But volume 5 was fantastic... I might have to go out and track down volume 6 now...

Then back to Greatest American Hero with "Saturday Night On Sunset Boulevard" which has the dynamic duo (plus school class) looking for a Russian chauffeur and a female of some other nationality who are in love, but on the run from their own people.

That was followed by "Reseda Rose" which sees the kidnap of one of Ralph's class's mother. They're still getting most of their jokes from Ralph's inability to fly. But there's some nice interplay between all the tensions in his life here - his ex-wife and child, his current girlfriend, his class, and of course, Bill and the suit.

And then "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" finishes up the disc. And Ralph wants to give up the suit as his flying keep endangering others. But his hero (the Lone Ranger) persuades him that he needs to keep trying to do good. Meanwhile, Bill's hero appears to have turned bad and wants to steal a whole boatload of diamonds.

I followed this up with "Bringing Up Baby" which started really well, but which I lost interest in somehow about halfway through. I don't know if this was the film's fault or mine, so I'll have to watch it again some time to check...

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