RDrake’s anime roamings

Flag flies high…
August 28, 2006, 10:49 am
Filed under: Anime, FLAG

I suppose I’ve put this of long enough. FLAG episode two is already out, but only now am I actually writing up on the first episode.

Well, I suppose FLAG is one of those rarer, less adrenaline-orientated animes. In fact, it hardly follows conventional screenplay at all, opting instead to portray the story via a elegant mix of still shots, short movie clips, and the like, basically everything is seen through the eyes of a camera, or at least almost all of it. This is by Sunrise Co, so I suppose it’s not too big a surprise, given that a big corporation has more space for risky projects like this one. Well, to say a few words in defense, it’s risky, but the mainly still shot features does not make this a bad, boring, anime. Rather, it makes things alot more interesting, kinda like bringing in new ideas to the scene, which is sort of stagnating after the rush of goodies in the past few years. (Granted, but sadly this one anime alone is not going to change things.)

The storyline goes basically like this. There’s been this little civil war in a small central Asian country,Uddiyana (somewhere along the silk road area) and the UN has been trying to put a stop to it. Finally, it a significant moment, the capital is retaken from armed factions. At that time, a budding young photographer, Saeko Shirasu, our main character, takes a photo of a certain flag that ended up famous around the world as a symbol of peace. The flag was simply the one hoisted by civilians and UN forces after retaking the capital, but now it’s a symbol. Given it’s significance, it’s set up to be used at the peace signing ceremony. Then it gets stolen. Immediatly, a small UN task force is set up to retrieve the stolen flag. The nice part? They’re equipped with functionable combat mecha.

And that’s just about where episode one ends of. Of course, there’s alot more to it than that in the 20+ minutes. There’s some footage and conversations taken by the narrator himself, another photographer covering the war.

On to the graphics. Well, I’d say that this is a little new as well. Seldom so you ever see several very contrasting styles in one anime. Firstly, there’s the normal handdrawn artwork, that’s standard. Next are the still shots. Most are still handdrawn, but the OP scene holds what look to be scanned images and recordings of actual wars from our past. Finally there’s the CGI. This is used mainly to cover the mecha, which is only shown through computer generated imagery. In fact, there is one specific scene where Saeko touches the mecha, named HAVWC, and you can see the contrast of handdrawn and realistic CGI. One thing about the CGI, it’s very realistic. Definitely a different style from what you normally see.

Then also the music. The OP is nothing much, just a tune that seems to be related to war. The background music, however, is quite interesting, because it has a central Asian theme. The producers must have decided to have music that was location specific. And the ED was a very nice song. I need to check up the title and artiste, but I’ll get back with that in the next review.

One thing about the mecha. Most anime use very futuristic mecha. Think the Gundam series. HAVWC is different, given that the anime is based around the present and it should be something that’s possible to exist at this very moment. So no highly maneuverable jumping humanoids. HAVWC standard form is as a car, yes, it actually looks like some kind of toy car, except for the size. Then it can transform to humanoid mode, and stands up to (I estimate) six meters tall. Fully armed, it only carries a 50-cal gattling gun, though that should be enough in guerilla warfare.

Well, I should end before I start talking about episode two, which I watched half-way and ought to get back to finishing…


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