Links to the homes of the free.

*Free Cartoons Dept: In case you’re interested, IGN is hosting the first episode of the new Production I.G. television anime Le Chevalier D'Eon for free, in dubbed form, as a means of promoting the show’s imminent arrival on R1 dvd from ADV. It’s another lightning license/release; the show just started airing in Japan in Summer 2006, directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi of a whole lot of Rurouni Kenshin. Posting the whole first episode for free is getting to be a more common means of promoting new anime licenses in the US, and I can’t complain.

Certainly it helps me form a more confident opinion about something that maybe looks neat in the abstract, like Le Chevalier D'Eon, which turns out to be (from this first episode, mind you) a fairly dull, mechanical thing in terms of storytelling, with hugs gobs of exposition choking up scenes, and mild dabs of political/alchemical intrigue added atop. Not to mention the 18th century France version of “I’m taking you off this case McBain!” The plot concerns a young knight in the court of Louis XV whose sister is found dead, apparently the victim of a string of bizarre murders that have been popping up. Our Hero goes to Paris and joins the secret police, and naturally there appears to be corruption in high places and dark conspiracies and evil lurking. Etc.

It looks decent in its stuffy, Classics Illustrated realist way, but I caught one too many CGI point-of-view shots straight out of a 1st-person shooter, and lord have I grown to hate flashbacks that are bookended by literal flashes of white and whooshing sounds. Only the last five minutes show much promise, and that’s mostly a gut reaction to the out of nowhere emergence of a classic anime plot hook, one I did not expect to see in this sort of show. And even that’s kind of wrecked by some awful English voice acting - the scary little girl didn’t inspire fear, oh no…

*Free Cartoons You Probably Cannot Understand Dept: Japan also enjoys uploading first episodes, mind you. Currently up at Sg-TV: the debut of the new GR-Giant Robo television project, a 40th Anniversary commemoration of the original work by Gigantor creator Mitsuteru Yokoyama that got turned into the classic live-action television program Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot, as it was known in English. It does not appear to be a sequel to an earlier anime Giant Robo, a much-loved 1992-98 OVA Yokoyama homage. Obviously, it’s in raw Japanese, but fortunately I understand each and every word perfectly, and can also explain any and all puns that might appear. I just choose not to reveal my blazing talents as of yet.