The animation studio Bones and I have had a rocky relationship from the start. It began while I was just starting to consider myself an anime fan with the broadcast of Full Metal Alchemist on Toonami. I was thrilled with the story, animation, and characters enough that I began snapping the DVDs up even while it was still airing. In hindsight this became a mistake because the story of the second half just unraveled itself into incoherency and ended with a thud. Next came Eureka Seven and in a near exact repeat there was the great beginning, music, and animation that once again saw it all fall apart at the end.
Not every series from Bones suffered this problem – Soul Eater’s ending was “acceptable” for an ongoing manga adaptation, for example, and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood had the manga’s ending to crib from, so it was hard to screw that up – but, many other series like Daughter of Twenty Faces, X’amd, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and No.6 fell apart at the end. (And let’s just pretend Heroman never happened.)
I still give them the benefit of trying their series because they do have such nice animation. Of late, I’ve noticed a new thawing in our relationship. It began with the Un-Go OVA. I had actually liked the main series despite the problems with the story; however, the OVA worked as a prequel and filled in and explained the story enough that I came away really liking the series. Next came Eureka Seven AO. I found myself liking it despite the fans of the original series doing their best to tear it down. Most recently was their series Zetsuen no Tempest: The Civilization Blaster. Once again, I ended up liking it.
This actually puts me into the position of looking forward to their next work – Space Dandy – but that’s not the topic for today.
Instead, all this is preface to help explain my feelings towards seeing this gif:
Even in this rough form I was more pumped up from watching it then from the majority of finished anime I was watching at the time. A couple years ago I wouldn’t have bothered tracking down the movie it went to – Sword of the Stranger – this year, though, I was willing to give it a chance.
Good thing I did because this movie is perfect, utterly and completely perfect. It has the superior animation and action scenes I was expecting – turned up a notch since this was a theatrical movie – and the characters too. Bones also gets the ending right. Sword of the Stranger, aka Stranger: Mukou Hadan, is so good that I won’t hesitate in saying its Bones’ best animation work, movie or TV series, ever. I don’t understand why they haven’t made a sequel movie or series yet.
So for instigating my viewing of The Sword and the Stranger, I’m devoting today to the moment I first saw that rough animation gif from The Sword and the Stranger. And, seriously, if you’ve never watched this movie then do yourself a big favor and go watch it now. This is my early Christmas gift to you.
So, to pick up from yesterday:
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: the best thing Bones ever did.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: pearls from amongst the swine.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: the freedom to go with the flow.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: anime to get buzzed from.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: that final musical montage.
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: discovered gems during the Animusic Tournament.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: the Time of Eve Kickstarter.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: that publicity picture.
Tune in tomorrow to see what’s next.