Tag Archives: science fantasy

The Hollow (2018 Animated TV Series)

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Status: Complete (1 Season/10 Episodes)

My rating: 3.5 of 5

Three teenagers find themselves waking up together in a doorless room with no memory of who they are or what their lives were like before that moment. An old typewriter on the floor and names written on pieces of paper in their pockets are their only clues–Adam, Mira, Kai. Accepting that these are their own names and that playing along with whatever “game” or “puzzle” is afoot is their only way to escape, the three begin working together, putting their skills to work in the series of ever-stranger situations they find themselves in. And they’ve got some pretty crazy skills to put to work, too! Which makes them have to wonder, who on earth are they? Because normal people can’t do the things they can do, and they’re freaking themselves out.

The Hollow is a show that I actually watched on recommendation from some family members, and while it’s not exactly what I would normally watch, I did enjoy it. But I feel like I can’t properly review it without totally spoiling it, and it’s one of those shows that you do not want to go into with spoilers. The mystery and watching it unfold is a huge part of the enjoyment of this story. And yes, mystery there is aplenty. The what-on-earth-is-going-on factor is on a level that nearly surpasses that of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and that’s saying something.  It’s such a strange mix of genres and themes that I never really felt like I knew what was going on, right up until the end where everything’s explained. It did kind of feel like some of those kids’ stories where each character has specific skills that are suited to specific tasks and everyone fits just so; I didn’t care for that so much, it’s just not my thing, but it does make more sense once you get the explanations. The characters were good, not great, but good. Normal, if you can consider teenagers with superpowers to be normal. They’re relatable, which given the situation they’re in and how you’re supposed to be getting into that, is what you really want. The art is interesting; an animation style somewhere between an American cartoon and, say, A Cat in Paris, at least in terms of the character design. I think the character designs felt a bit inconsistent between characters, like the styles switched somewhere in between them, but it worked in this context. Overall, for those who enjoy having their head messed with and watching an inexplicable mystery unfold, I would recommend The Hollow.

Created by Vito Viscomi/Directed by Josh Mepham & Greg Sullivan/Starring Adrian Petriw, Ashleigh Ball, & Connor Parnall

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Urusei Yatsura

urusei yatsuraMangaka: Rumiko Takahashi

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Boy meet alien. Now play tag with her, the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Never mind that she can fly and deliver massive electric shocks at will. Spoiler: Ataru Moroboshi (miraculously) saves the world. Now he’s got a bigger problem: the alien, Lum, has decided that she loves him and has moved into his house (to his parent’s dismay). Lum follows Ataru everywhere, shocking him when he practices his usual skirt-chasing techniques (to Ataru’s dismay). Not only that, but Lum’s presence attracts a huge cast of unusual characters, both alien and human. Add alien technology, and naturally, mayhem ensues.

Urusei Yatsura is truly a classic manga. Although it was one of Takahashi’s first major works, it already displays many of her classic elements. It has a sprawling, episodic plotline; an enormous cast of rather dysfunctional–but highly amusing–characters; and a perfectly balanced blend of comedy and romance. The art style is also typical of Takahashi’s work, although the character designs aren’t quite as defined as in her later works. I would recommend this manga to anyone interested in classic manga that have been influential on more recent works, as well as to anyone who enjoys an easygoing romantic comedy with a zany twist.

Note: The English version of this manga was published in two sections–Lum: Urusei Yatsura and The Return of Lum: Urusei Yatsura. This is because there was a chronological break in publication in the U.S. The plotline is continuous between the two, and they should be read as a single work. Also of note, the English translation is flipped (reads left to right) and omits several chapters. (I still hope that some amazing publisher will do with Urusei Yatsura what VIZ is currently doing with Takahashi’s more recent work, InuYasha: publish the complete work, unflipped, in nice omnibus editions.)

Update 6/16/19: So it looks like we’re getting that re-release of the English translation. We’ll see how it ends up, overall. I’ve read the first volume, and although the translation work isn’t superb, the volume is decent on the whole. Holding out hope for a complete and reasonably well-done release of the series.

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