I pieced together all of the Battle Angel Alita issues after an io9 thread discussed them favorably. There's also an anime adaptation and a proposed live action version that's been abandoned by James Cameron. To piece together the full run, I had to hop between Amazon and B&N. Used books can sometimes appear for ridiculous prices and although I didn't have to shell out too much, issue 7 was kinda crazily overpriced. I'm reading 6 right now, so we'll see whether 7 is actually that much better.
Mysterious past. Unexplained skills. Oppressive society. The story's a little silly at times, but it's overall a nice diversion.
The Dirty Pair anime DVD releases are a confusion of re-releases and re-labels. I bought some DVDs and have been trying to figure out what releases I still need to get (without accidentally getting duplicates). Here is what's available (on Amazon) and what they contain of the original shows/movies.
10-episode OVA series
I just had to reorder the OST for Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society (lost the copy that came with my DVD) and so was hanging around YouTube searching for interesting Yoko Kanno videos. yuta84001 over on YouTube has compiled three videos pairing Yoko Kanno songs with those of many other artists that, to a sometimes greater sometimes lesser degree, she appears to have plagiarized. The worst offenders are clearly stolen melody, harmony, and arrangement. Others less so but with various flourishes--a sampled vocal or guitar lick--that are unmistakably thieved. Here're the vids:
A video response was made in her defense that is so laughable I won't dignify it with a link. Similarly, the YT comments attempting to defend her appear primarily from musically uneducated fanboys. A more appropriate explanation might be to treat her work as what it is: musical illustration. The best visual illustrators are masters of all genres and virtuoso technicians. Illustrators' works may take from classic designs and repurpose them. In the history of music, such thieving is much more common. YouTube contains a veritable cottage industry of claims of plagiarism between various bands. Most are pretty innocuous similarities based on stylistic short hand markings of strum patterns, chord progressions, and arrangement. Kanno is a skilled and prolific workhorse of anime soundtracks. Her swiping is pretty blatant at times, but as a percent of overall output I'm not sure it should be much of an issue.
Late in the movie our two protagonists, partners Batou and Togusa from an elite security force, case the inventively decorated mansion of a criminal hacker who's the main suspect for a recent stream of homicidal androids. As they walk down a hallway bordered on one side by tall, stained-glass windows, human silhouettes within the windows cast shadows against the opposite wall. The shadowed hands reach for doorknobs or various objects on shelves. This short scene is iconic for much of the movie's intent: intentionality can easily be simulated, and observers can be tricked into perceiving nonexistent consciousness.
Along with somewhat slow philosophical discussions, Innocence contains vibrant scenes of violence, moments of dramatic tension, and elaborately rendered tableaux that stand as unique expressions in cinematic art. Within the framework of police procedural, we're immersed in examples of how human society has detached from nature by replicating a false environment. The movie examines the extent to which we will be able to extend such an environment in the future. Similarly, rituals and ceremonies are depicted as reimaginings of that ideal we are attempting to attain.
The mix of action and contemplation, more believable and more subtle than from The Matrix, is well-balanced, and as with the first GitS the cinematography is outstanding.
A little while back I started getting on an anime kick thanks to Robert introducing me to Ghost in the Shell when we went to see Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence in the theater. Then, I watched the first film on Netflix streaming and thoroughly enjoyed it. Netflix also has the first season of the TV series Stand Alone Complex. I soon purchased the first movie, the first season, and the second season. Photos of the wacky tchotchki that came with each DVD will be posted as soon as I get the final volume. Right now 3 tachikomas are guarding my desk at work. Word is that the DVD of the second movie is crap, so I'm holding off on that.
The next step is, of course, to find other anime that I like. I'm warming up to Cowboy Bebop on TiVo. Clips I've seen from the movie look awesome. I also watched Mezzo DSA on Netflix streaming. Cute/sexy teen chick fighting bad guys with goofy dialog in between. The overall mood of the series is a more hip Scooby Doo but with about the same level of maturity. I was shocked to find out that the source movie, Mezzo Forte, is said to be quite more mature. Extreme violence and hardcore sex. Fight scenes look good in the trailer. So, naturally, I purchased it and the director's other ultra-violent anime flick Kite. Should be interesting. These were probably some of the source material Tarantino was referencing in Kill Bill. The rest of the anime on Netflix streaming looks weak, or rather, it looks like what you think anime would look like. Absurd/cute/mecha.