Saturday, August 24, 2013

Anime Studios: Satelight

Bodacious Space Pirates by njigen hairtai


Started back in 1995 and known for doing the world's 1st mostly digitized animation series, Satelight has come a long way from the past to become a powerhouse of animation for not only anime, but video game productions as well. With a large roster of anime that has been produced over the years, I would like briefly take a look a few of the ones I like the most as well as a few that are cherished and noteworthy in the world of the Japanese visual subculture.


My first contact with Noein was back in 2007 when began airing on the SYFY (Sci-fi Channel) Ani-Monday programming block. Needlessly say, it is undoubtedly one of the better series that I have seen way back thenIf I remember nothing else about Noein, it would be its extensive use of time travel, quantum physics, alternative universes, and other science fiction tropes/elements make for an irresistible story. I am almost tempted to re-watch it. If you haven't, I highly suggest do as part of my recommendation list - even if you are not the biggest sci-fi junkie around.

Macross Frontier (2008)

Without a doubt, the Macross franchise is one of the most popular ones in Japan as well as gathered a sizable love overseas. Macross Frontier captures most, if not all that love and adoration as a 25th anniversary production for the series and sequel to Macross 7 and the original, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross. It is a boon and hit with most in the Macross fandom and might even be enough for inquiring eyes to get interested in starting the franchise.

Crois e in a Foreign Labyrinth (2011)

Slice-of-life devotees that are fond of cute girls and unique settings will be very pleased with this 19th century Paris themed title. It introduces a young Japanese girl named Yune that comes to Paris to stay with Claude Claudel and his grandfather Oscar, as the two cultures begin to gain familiarity with each other. Mirthful exchanges and cute moments will ensue. Much like any other slice-of-life series it is: fun to watch, endearing and also shows a different side of Satelight's animation when it is not working on strictly Sci-fi projects.

Senki ZesshSymphogear (2012)

While it is not entirely one of Satelight projects, it is one of the more unique collaborations the studio has waltz into featuring female warriors that fight against enemies known as "Noise" with both weapons and songs. I think it was okay, but must have been better than that to receive a 2nd season. Not a must watch title by my standards, but if you like action series with a strange gimmick and music - Symphogear does the trick. The animation is also quite spectacular, since it such a mix of vibrant and deep colors during combat parties with lighter tones during others. I also like the strobe light-like animation that used for the opening and ending themes.

Bodacious Space Pirates (2012)

Even though it is not on my recommendation list, this happens to be my second favorite series behind Noein that Satelight has done. While it very slow toward the beginning only really starts to pick up traction near the end, I absolutely loved every moment of Bodacious Space Pirates and how it played out during its airing. It definitely is not what I would call an award-winning series (albeit, it did win the for best media), but for that like a completely different take on the Sci-fi genre should give it a go. As for the animation, it would have to be the main attraction for the series that features exactly what you would expect for a Space Opera of its caliber. That is not saying much, but it is pretty darn good.

AKB0048 (2013)

I am nowhere close to being an "Idol otaku" or even a fan of the musical troupe it is loosely constructed on, but AKB0048 impressed me in so many ways. With respect to the story and animation, the world-building and scenario really benefited from it a lot - as it tries to juxtapose the dark tyranny of the war on music with the vivid, bright, and optimistic goals of the cast that also shows in the animation. Tries to perpetuate itself as something near bleak, but nowhere close to it. In addition, it just so happens to be a small little shout out to Macross and something that the creator, SH JI KAWAMORI - makes sure to stand out without the need for an aid.

In the future, I can only dream of how Satelight will change, but so far, they are doing very well for themselves. There hasn't been any word currently of what series they aim to work on down the line besides Fall 2013 s -, yet whatever else is next - it surely be worth watching for.
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