They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Baka Baka Baka na Sekai, Osaru no Sankichi: Boukuusen, Osaru no Sankichi: Totsugeki-tai, and more!
34: Baka Baka Baka na Sekai
English: Crazy World
MAL Score: 4.24
An absurd film by Kuri Youji.
I really enjoyed his other films such as Acchi Kocchi and Manga which were quite appealing.
I watched this twice and boy was it even hard just to watch this disappointment
It was quite colorful and a bit vibrant but still lacking
I couldn’t understand shit.
Was there even a character in the first place?
I warn you before you watch this trash of an animation please be ready to bear with this shit
In other words please dont watch this
I wasted a good 5 minutes of my life on this shit
The animation could have been better even for 1968, but it has some cool real-life footage and photographs thrown in, and has some really bizarre surreal scenes and imagery. It’s only 5 minutes long and a quick youtube search away, so If you enjoy dementia or avant-garde anime, give it a shot.
Not a story but random moments of bizarre attempts of humor. From pee jokes to other bizarre nature. This anime does not have a clear message. A lot of its depiction is on war. Could be making an artist statement on how a war or war in general is crazy and anything but helpful.
-art is moderately drawn at best.
-rather than drawing backgrounds they took real life pictures for most scenes.
– animations are recycled (on a loop) in some moments.
-half of the production is not colored.
– few moments of vocals. All of which are sung. Not in a song form but in statement. Which i don’t think should be in song form.
-sound effects along with vocals are a tad loud
Overall: This piece is nice to study art or admire amateur animation. Not a show worth watching.
33: Osaru no Sankichi: Boukuusen
English: Sankichi the Monkey: The Air Combat
MAL Score: 4.50
Monkeys battle polar bears in air combat. Short film from 1942.
Instrumental only no vocals
Special Note: For those that not only to get the full benefit of this film but for those that like watching shows in order watch Osaru no Sankichi: Totsugeki-tai first than this one.
Personal note: i will be doing this review slightly different from my others. I will be doing it in a one sided mainly point of view in comparison to Osaru no Sankichi: Totsugeki-tai.
The main difference between this Osaru no Sankichi and the other film is that this one is based via the air force and the other was army based.
-Unlike Osaru no Sankichi: Totsugeki-tai this version was clear on their message and had a proper introduction. There message was a good offense makes for a good defense. In other words if one tackles problems head on the issue will be resolved or at least temporary. Think of it in terms of gardening, more precisely weeds. If you let weeds go not only will they grow but they will expand their ‘forces’. Leave them alone for too long and you will find yourselves overwhelmed by their army. Now, if you took care of them earlier upon when you first noticed them the damage done not only would have been minor but you stand a greater chance at stopping them.
– the only thing that they fared poorly was on the conclusion. While it made scene to the scene setting it was unclear if it was symbolic or literal.
-black and white
-Unlike Osaru no Sankichi: Totsugeki-tai this showing was too bright. Not to the extend where the characters and couldn’t be seen but almost as if you are driving without wearing sunglasses.
-while the music used may seem familiar it still works for this showing. Yes, this same music or at least part of it was used in another older production. Only problem i forget which one.
Character – not really needed
The story was kinda basic, but really gives subtle hints about what japan thought of the US at the time.
The art was actually surprisingly good, and too be honest, I actually thought it was well made.
The highlight of this anime was the music, it didnt really fit the tone in some places, but was nice to listen to and something I liked.
Nothing much to say about characters but monkey vs polar bears.
Overall I enjoyed it, just remember its an old anime so its not your To Love Ru, but it honestly wasnt that bad so maybe spare 3 min of your time for this and see where anime took its roots from.
32: Osaru no Sankichi: Totsugeki-tai
English: Sankichi the Monkey: The Storm Troopers
Japanese: お猿の三吉 突撃隊
MAL Score: 4.65
Short movie from 1934 about a war between monkeys and bears.
Silent film aside from background music
Special note: this appears to be a two episode show. For it stops with a the end notice only to resume. Something to keep note of.
No story per-say more action. A story would have plot. This just tells what you see not really focusing on the w’s:who, what, when,why. A more elaborated introduction would be needed if the goal of this film was to provide a message. Ending of the film was appropriate.
-black and white
-characters are clear
– while only music based it is still entertaining. There was wonderful use of the right instruments at right key moments such as tension, suspense and so forth.
-There also wasn’t any noticeable static emission sound.
A good quick action film. While not kid friendly given the use of violence even though it is cartoon styled can send off the wrong message. Something alone the lines of war is good.
I suspect that this short film was extremely anti-war in its message. In an environment of the world still suffering from the consequences of the first world war, we have a short that describes the eastern front of trench warfare between the the Russian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian empire. The constant refrain I got from the film was how entrenched warfare was prolonged, surreal and ultimately meaningless – with bloodshed and loss of life being a hallmark on both sides. Knowing Mitsuyo Seo’s political inclinations makes this all more salient and kind of tragic that he was later coerced into making propaganda films for a state that eventually turned into a war engine.
31: Norakuro Shoui: Nichiyoubi no Kaijiken
English: 2nd Lieutenant Norakuro: Sunday Magic
MAL Score: 4.86
Norakuro’s adventures in the Fierce Dog Brigade continue in this short film from the 1930s.
30: Rekkoku Rikugun
English: Armies of the World
MAL Score: 5.01
During a night of drinking Maru-san (Mr. Circle) and Sumi-san (Mr. Square) hear the armies parade of the world and talk to learn more about them on a global scale. In every aspect Japan’s army was the smallest.
And yet, there’s more to this than just the quality of the art. There’s also the history behind it. Like so many of the short films produced in Japan during this time period (early thirties), you can get a chilling feel for Japan’s view of the world, as it (and other countries) lead up to greater aggression.
The crudely drawn Mr. Circle and Mr. Square travel the world to compare the war assets of different countries. First are armed forces, then tanks, then poison gas plants (!!), then air forces and finally military budgets. Time and again, Japan comes up in last place when compared to the greater forces of the Soviet Union, Britian, France, Italy, China, and even the (at that time) tiny United States. And they make a sour face each time, worried about the war posturing and where Japan stands against their belligerent neighbors.
If you are interested to take the time to tour through the archives of Japanese animation history from the early thirties up until the late thirties, you really can get a good feel for the mood of the country changing, as the stories become increasingly nationalistic (and into wartime, by law they were required to be so).
29: Sora no Momotarou
English: Momotaro’s Sky Adventure
MAL Score: 5.15
Momotaro has been requested to fight off the Wild Eagle enemy which has suddenly appeared. He takes to the skies in his airplane, accompanied by a dog, a monkey , and a pheasant, and heads for an island some 10,000 kilometers away. One of the island people promises to prepare the two refuels that the plane requires during its flight to the island. The first refuel will be found on a giant tortoise shell, and the second is a refuel station especially positioned on the back of a whale which will come to surface. Momotaro’s plane is attacked by the Wild Eagle out of the blue as it approaches the island, but after an exciting dogfight in the air, he successfully fights off the enemy.
28: Momotarou: Umi no Shinpei
English: Momotaro: Sacred Sailors
Japanese: 桃太郎 海の神兵
MAL Score: 5.20
A monkey, a dog, a pheasant, and a bear travel southward after resting in their villages at the foot of Mt. Fuji. A squadron flies to Onigashima under the command of Momotarou. Parachutes blossom in the sky. Momotarou and company will take over the island after a swift and successful mission. The village children pretend parachuting with glee as they run towards Mt. Fuji.
The animation is amazing, of course continuity is a little jumpy which considering the conditions of it being made make sense, so a lot of the scenes have little jumps and skips in the motion. Still the movement is remarkably three dimensional, and the characters have very expressive facial expressions.
When compared to the Disney wartime movies, these one lacks the coherent plots and punchy action and quick gags. It’s all rather hallucinatory, slow moving and brilliant in its own way, but definitely not one for all tastes.
This anime was made in 1945, when at that time they still didn’t know much about colored film. So, for this anime, I’m not going to give it one of those complicated reviews, since it wouldn’t be fair when I’m comparing it to anime in this decade.
It doesn’t have good animation style, yet what do you expect. The animation style was creepy, but I can see why. It has an old school plot to it, very original.
The highlight, I’d have to say, was the music. It had very nice music incorporated in the movie.
Overall, I can’t really rate it. Not many people are going to want to watch this. If you ARE planning on watching it, however, then I can give you a few useful tips.
If you like poor, black and white animation style, then this is for you. Along with simple movements. If you like old school music, and louder than needed sound effects, then here you go. I can’t really say anything more than that. I know this review might not have been that helpful, but it’s the best I can give you for this particular anime.
I have a new laptop and now I’m back to befoul MAL with more silly reviews of bad, obscure anime that nobody asked to be reviewed. Let the universe howl in despair for I have returned! Time to review Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors!
The year is 1945 and Japan is very rapidly losing the war in the Pacific. The Japanese navy has been utterly decimated and is simply unable to keep up with America’s manufacturing strength and output. Japan’s resources are running bone dry and most of the Japanese merchant fleet has been sunk by American submarines. All of Japan’s best pilots were trained in Germany and now virtually all are dead. Germany has been knocked out of the war, so no new quality pilots can be trained. The Soviet Red Army is now steamrolling Japan’s Army in China and Korea. By the summer of 1945, all Japan can do is try make the predicted American invasion as slow and painful as possible. Hopefully, the Americans will accept something slightly less than absolute surrender so Japan can lose the war with some honor intact.
With all this going on, a branch of the Imperial Japanese Navy decided to force a Japanese Communist to make a propaganda cartoon against his will in which a bunch of furries conquer America! This…is that story.
Hey kids! Did you know the Imperial Japanese Navy is awesome? It’s true! They are all very handsome and dashing and have HUGE cocks. My big brother is in the navy and he says they have the best ships EVER! Seriously, the first 30 minutes of this film are a bunch of woodland creatures endlessly praising the navy. We’re off to a great start when I’m immediately reminded of Brazil’s Ratatooing, where the CGI abominations won’t stop praising the food. I love that at no point in the movie does it say anything positive about the Japanese Army. Fuck those guys! They can make their own stinking movie!
Part 2 of the film is where the little animals decide to sing the Hirigana alphabet…for 10 minutes. This segment is the direct Japanese equivalent of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz6OGVCdov8
Now we enter the final act and it’s FINALLY time to wipe out the American Navy located at the “Devil Islands”. The Japanese forces are all drawn as furry animals besides the folktale character of Momotaro, who is leading the Japanese forces for some reason. The American troops are all portrayed as humans and have no folktale characters like Paul Bunyan fighting for them, so they have no chance! The Japanese Furry forces slowly parachute down onto American ships, which don’t fire at them for…reasons. The Americans at Devil Island surrender immediately without a fight and this causes the entire country of America to surrender right away. Some animal school children play games and the movie ends.
This was filmed in black and white despite most animated feature films being in color by 1945. I’ll give this movie a LOT of slack though because Japan couldn’t afford to waste a lot of money on this film. It’s a miracle that it turned out looking as good as it did. I can only imagine the horrible working hours and conditions that went into the making of this film. What’s interesting is that it doesn’t look anything like American cartoon films of the 40s like Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi, Song of the South, etc. Instead it resembles Max Fleischer cartoons from the 1920s. In case you don’t know your animation history, that’s the guy who inspired all the art from Cuphead.
Screaming children and one of the most annoying songs I’ve heard in a children’s movie. One thing I will say is that the English used by the Americans is shockingly some of the best English I’ve heard in an anime! That’s because they used Japanese ambassdors that actually spoke English instead of professional voice actors who are sounding out their lines phonetically. Amusingly, most seemed to have learned English with a British accent. So you have American characters voiced by Japanese who sound like Brits.
I’m not just giving this a low score because it’s Axis propaganda. I’m giving it a low score because this is one of slowest, most joyless children’s films I’ve ever sat through. When I found out the director really didnt want to make this film and was forced, it made perfect sense. That’s exactly what it feels like. The best part of this film is seeing the ending credits roll. At least Japan can rest easy that their Axis partners Italy and Germany have both made even worse cartoons. Italy made all the animated Titanic films, while Germany has Dingo Pictures. That’s one of the nicest things I can say about Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors. At least it isn’t a Dingo cartoon. Although now I really want to see an edit where the Japanese Furry Force is visited by their ally Obersturmbannführer Wabuu!
27: Sakana no Kuni
English: The Nation of Fish
MAL Score: 5.38
Short movie with Fish.
Plotwise the movie portraits a fish society as a caricature of real human societies with apparent attempt to provide some moral lessons. There are no real individual characters. The story is very simple and is focused on conflict between the fish nation and whales. The outcome of this conflict is very predictable, but the ending is if not a little more surprising then at least quite funny.
My rating is 6/10 because of the poor story, but the actual experience of watching this film is surprisingly enjoyable, and I strongly recommend trying to watch at least first few minutes of it in order to find out whether the animation is appealing enough or not.
26: Saru Masamune
English: The Monkey Sword Masamune
MAL Score: 5.44
Short movie from 1930 about a soldier traveling a great distance to deliver a letter. Along the way he receives a sword from a monkey.
Special note: In terms of duration and rating understand there are two versions to this particular show. There is a 7 minute and a 9 minute. The 9 minute has a tad bit more in ending and is more cleaner with art. The 7 minute has no pause breaks(you know when black ground with text showing on screen) and has animation sounds and voices. Which is why i went with the a rate of 6. When i saw the 7 minute version i gave it a 5. But when i saw the 9 minute i was more pleased and gave it a 7. Which lead to a middle answer of 6.
Not really focused on the letter as one might think given the synopsis. Instead it is more about the adventure from one place to another, the journey. In addition to the reward that took place on the way there. Which made the introduction slightly confusing. As for the conclusion it was okay. It did seem a touch unrealistic at the very end, right before the credits.
-poor to fair depending on what version seen.
-black and white on both versions
-In terms of the only version that had audio(7 minute) the vocals were slightly soft and a tad muffled.
-although, the animation sounds blended in nicely.
Watch both versions before you rate or give up on this movie.
25: Ice Movie
Japanese: ICE 劇場版
MAL Score: 5.54
Compilation movie of the previously released OVA.
24: Tonpei to Sarukichi
English: Tonpei and Sarukichi
MAL Score: 5.54
A lazy pig Tonpei steals food from the monkeys Sarukichi and assaults some of them. After getting beat up, the pig talks to the lion king and lies to him about what happened. The lion comes to put the monkeys back into place and an all out war starts with tanks, guns, and airplanes.
English Subtitled (no sound)
In childhood up to adulthood we all have cases of events that are problematic. Which is normally fine until they progress into bigger problems. While the anime attempts to deliver a kind remark of justice i wonder if they could have done a better job. For example there are two main forms of justice vengeance. There is the blood thirsty eye for an eye approach. On the other hand there is the passive approach of ying and yang. Which means karma with come in at some point to restore the balance. While the eye for an eye approach does make more action based visual presentation that choice wasn’t the right one. For mainly not only does it send the wrong message but it is currently marked for all ages. War of most kinds especially military our kids should not see.
I mentioned how the anime’s choice in justice sends the wrong message allow me to explain. Simply put the eye for the eye idea means not only will we all become blind but the cycle of violence will not cease to exist.
-black and white production
-i found the tactic of using animals as the main characters was nice to a point. The line was stepped over when some of the animals stopped being animals. It is cryptic i know but if you watch the show you will catch my meaning, hopefully.
Overall: A simple tale. Despite it lacking color most viewers can find a connecting emotion to the story. Whether you are on the pig’s side or the monkey’s. Chances are high one of them played out in your life. Sadly, not a lot of consideration went to marketing this anime like it did making it.
23: Hyaku-nengo no Aru Hi
English: A Day after a Hundred Years
MAL Score: 5.56
Mr. Ogino should have died during the war but his spirit was brought back to life by the power of science. He sees the world 100 years later during the year 2032 lead by one of his descendants. They decide to take a trip to Mars too and the ship malfunctions, because a spirit of the past was on the ship, it went out of control trying to reach Buddha’s paradise instead.
Anyways this film is a charming and fascinating window into people’s predictions for the future from nearly 100 years ago. It’s definitely worth 10 minutes of your time.
22: Gokiburi-tachi no Tasogare
English: Twilight of the Cockroaches
MAL Score: 5.86
Hybrid film with animated cockroaches interacting with live-action actors.
In a trashy bachelor pad lived a colony of roaches who were able to roam freely for food or for games. Because of the homeowner being gentle with the roaches, they have no fear of traps, spray, or being stepped on. However when the homeowner starts bringing over a woman over, life starts to change for the roaches who are already living an easy life.
This self-deprecating analogy is quite the contrast to what one might expect from the Japanese, who are usually more closely associated with qualities like ‘honour’, ‘strength’ and ‘tranquility’. Indeed for any group or nation to present themselves in such a grotesque manner is unusual; it would usually be the sort of metaphor used in a work of propaganda. This makes the premise quite intriguing and the potential for a particularly biting piece of satire is alluring. But in what sense is Japan similar to a colony of cockroaches?
The first point to be made here is that it is not really Japanese people per se that are like cockroaches, but their approach to economics at that time. Living with their slovenly landlord, food is abundant and the cockroaches enjoy lives of immense luxury, to the extent that lives of cockroaches can be luxurious. There is no expectation that these glory days will come to an end, and they make no preparations for any forthcoming ‘rainy days’. Alas, those rainy days do come, just as they did for Japan itself in the early nineties when the economic bubble finally burst. Was this a prediction of the future? Not really, such consequences are inevitable in economics, and we have been experiencing the same effect in the west for the past few years, after a housing and finance boom.
But there is more to it than that; indeed the economic crisis is something of a natural occurrence, while the fate of the cockroaches in this film is rather more deliberate, in that the host actively attempts to destroy them. After finding himself a girlfriend who is distressed by the infestation of cockroaches in his home, both decide to clean up and engage in “war” with the cockroaches. Quite what this is a metaphor of, is a complicated question. The host meeting the girlfriend clearly and comfortably represents a change in the economic situation, but their conspiring to destroy the cockroaches could be taken to be an active attempt to destroy Japan. The reputation that Japanese people had at that time was of very hard working people who would come to replace the United States as the dominant economic power due to their strong work ethic, and perhaps this is what the creators intended to convey. Alas, this is not made clear enough in the picture itself and would rather contradict the lazy nature of the cockroaches prior to the host meeting the girlfriend.
There is however one further element of the Japanese national character embodied by the cockroaches which leads one to believe they represent not only the economics of the country but its people: and that is the rather dramatic conclusion of the film. This scene is shocking, especially when one reflects on the prime audience of the film, but how it fits into a metaphor of the Japanese economy is unclear; but it does fit neatly into certain other aspects of the Japanese national character. This makes the films thematic conclusions somewhat confusing. However, one cannot help but praise the bold faced, frankness of it all.
Another aspect of the film which is unconventional is the way it blends live action and animation together. The cockroaches are animated, the humans are real people, and the environment is a mixture of the two. There are a fair few western productions that have taken this approach (‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ is the most famous example) but one cannot think of any examples from Japan. Critics might say this is because the technique has rather limited applications or because it is usually unconvincing. However, I think it is well suited to this production. And while the character designs of the cockroaches are quite simplistic to be combined with live action, it only becomes a problem in the occasional scene. Other than that the animation is up to an acceptable standard.
The film is currently only available in an English dub, which is unfortunately a bit ‘straight to video children’s movie’. That is to say the voice acting, while not terrible, is a bit bland. The voice actors are capable but not particularly talented and so you cannot help but laments the lack of the original Japanese dub. The background music is suitably atmospheric, dark and ominous, which emphasises the films dark themes nicely and captures the prevailing attitude of people towards cockroaches neatly.
All being said Twilight of the Cockroaches is not a film that will appeal to anyone; in fact, it will appeal to only a very limited audience, but this is not because of any lack of quality on its part. The fact is that the film is now quite old and its animation is dated, its themes have now faded into obscurity, and what is left of the content without them perhaps too childish. However if you have some basic knowledge of Modern Japanese history and a taste for niche and experimental animation, then Twilight of the Cockroaches could be just the film to pique your interest. Furthermore if you are not familiar with the Japanese approach to children’s films outside of the Studio Ghibli catalogue, then the bluntness of their traditional approach may leave you feeling quite surprised.
When all is said and done, Twilight of the Cockroaches is a clever and daring film, without any contemporary. And for that, in the often times repetitive world of Japanese Animation, makes it something to be cherished.
I’ll start with the sound. Any time a human does something, it is loud and thunderous. This is done to give the viewer the perspective of the cockroaches which is a clever idea but in execution, it’s too loud and mixed in a way that is painful on the ears. Aside from that, everything is bland and the character voices aren’t all that animated.
The animation is acceptable but most characters are simple and there isn’t much detail to anything drawn. The animation and live action scenes do blend well. Everything is rather dark and it is difficult to discern what is being shown on the screen.
The story drags. I mean it just plain drags. This film is an hour and 45 minutes and it just never seems to end. Much of the film is just fluff and could be cut. The inciting action and conflict don’t come about until about halfway through, before that is just bland drama. There is little action and when it does occur, it is not compelling in the slightest. The characters are one dimensional, falling in and out of love with each other on a whim. The film has a bit of commentary about Japanese culture in the 80s but much of this is lost with the bland dialogue and odd premise.
Overall, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking when I watched this one and I would not recommend it to anyone. The minor social commentary is lost and there are better ways to get a feel for the aspects of Japanese society this film was meant to portray.
a girl …
and hundreds of baby cockroaches .
these baby cockroaches have same mother(that girl) , but not same father . and they are immune to insecticide .
now put that scene in the end and make it your happy ending .
what do you expect from such anime ?!
it’s exactly as you expect it !
the story could have been great if you exclude that happy ending .
for art and sounds you can not expect something more from something that old .
the combination of animation and live action make the art look even worse .
the supporting characters were more developed than the main characters .
our heroine was the less developed character .
from the beginning till the end you can not understand what was her reason for doing this or that .
and for enjoyment …
if you could take the first 1 hour , there’s less than half remaining .
althought it has some enjoyable scenes and that scenes really worth watching .
the problem is that that “some enjoyable scenes” are less than 15 minutes .
21: Soliton no Akuma
MAL Score: 6.02
In the future, tensions are rising between Japan and China. The jewel of humankind is the new Ocean Techno Polis, a man-made city which floats above the sea. One day, a mysterious catastrophe destroys a Taiwanese submarine followed by the entire city of Ocean Techno Polis. One of the engineers of Ocean Techno Polis, Kurase, must race to rescue his family. Along the way, he must deal with a Japanese navy trying to keep their own secrets under wraps, and discover why Ocean Techno Polis sank to the bottom of the sea.
It definitely makes for an intriguing context, utilized by an anime…
Do you get the big picture? Fine, because now you may forget about it, reader. What do you think Soliton no Akuma is? An art-house animated movie rising up against the imperialistic ambitions of a communist dictature? It’d be to misevaluate its true aim. First of all, the source is a novel written by Umehara Katsufumi… In essence, the adaptation is closer to a Kaiju-Eiga, a highly fun but politically removed genre revolving around giant monsters duking it out. Do you love utter destruction of lovingly crafted maquettes? Rejoice, as you witness a lavishly designed oceanic Technopolis getting torn apart in a gruesome roar of crushed iron and helpless cries! This marvelous futuristic infrastructure is indeed a mere Mcguffin to capture your attention. Not that it is a bad thing… By the way, the ones among you sensitive to retro mechanical-design are going to have a field! Between the submarine outposts used to monitor petrol extraction, the pods of the subordinates of Kurase, the telesurveillance system positioned at strategic places or the concept-design behind the depressurization cabin of Kit’s place, the care for realistic depictions is commendable. Of course, these elements hinge tp be immediately disposed off plot devices but one gotta acknowledge it constitutes fine garnishing. There is also the recourse to CGIs. By today’s standards, they look rather primitive but are still serviceable nonetheless. Triangle Staff’s touch behind the virtually rendered sonar graphics is flagrant… After all, they’re the animators who brought us Serial Experiment Lain. In short, you get the idea… Art-wise, SnA is a movie which benefited from a decent budget, at the heydays of an innovative studio.
Sound department? Tanikawa Kensaku’s score is fair, if you like rhythmic orchestral music. Voice acting is alright as well. Not that they are a particularly memorable facet as the artistical focus is all on the background art. Let us move on forward and talk about the plot, instead. In this instance, it is all over the place. To the point the characters look like they are written by Production I.G., in their typical robotic trademark.
Indeed, they are mostly defined by functions. Kurase take on himself to neutralize the monster, putting forth his responsibility as a chief of project for Helios Petrol in Okinawa. His ex-wife is the acoustics engineer in addition of the love interest of the hero. His daughter is the innocent caution of the tale. Not even the two navy army men at the head of the surveying submarine (Yamada and Nishii) experience significant character development, after being forsaken by their hierarchy. They freak out, but not for long. Even as they are surrounded by a scary cryptid with unknown intentions, they take time to sip on a cup of (bad) coffee… Talking about the armies, it is also rather humorous to see how stubborn they are to settle things straight with torpedos, missiles and various artillery. After realizing how it is worthless, you think they would report the situation to Military Staff, focus on evacuating the survivors and withdraw to define a new strategy, but no! By the power of Sharur, there sure is appetite for war and honor sputtering within these chests! They do live for the scent of cordite!
Overall, the cast fits the Kaiju-Eiga standards; it is taken to the back seats as it is victim of a disaster more than it addresses it in synergy.
The true star of the show remains the monster of the show, of which I will not spoil the nature. While the core concept behind it is going to raise some eyebrows, it’s still executed competently enough to stay compelling throughout. Only the punctual sequences of infodump are eventually going to throw off the less courageous ones. However, dreary storytelling is an inherent setback of Scifi. Keep it in mind and nothing else is going to get in the way of appreciating the highlights of an otherwise unpretentious little piece of entertainment. Praise be unto Sacred Geometry~
..| Colophon |..
This section is dedicated to content indication in order to inform audience in a practical way. On the next paragraph, the buzzwords offer hints about the title’s strong suits and drawbacks.
Ketchup meter: For something which has a body count akin to Barefoot Gen, graphic violence is toned to a minimal amount. The most shocking thing you will see is drowned corpses from afar and Yamada aiming at Kurase with his gun before being tossed back and wounded. The thrill of action is mostly composed of wreckage, pulverization and smoking ruins.
xXx meter: There is no time for it, captain! And no, the monster is not a tentacled pervert either.
Fishing scene(s): If anything the fish are immediately feasting on the ones who could have caught them…
+ The Triangle Staff’s touch. Innovation and care
+ Great Art Direction
+ Under represented genre (i.e. disaster movie)
– Some pace issues related to infodumping
– Robotic characterization
– Apparent lack of dramatization as a whole (no change of perspective, no geopolitical frictions as red herring to hide the real stakes…)
20: Future War 198X-nen
English: Future War Year 198X
Japanese: Future War 198X年
MAL Score: 6.05
An American scientist constructs a laser–satellite with hope to prevent any nuclear conflicts. However, after a fatal error from both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. government, war breaks, and humanity faces a new bloodshed.
Story: This is one of the most unique anime ever made. Few, in fact, practically no other anime can claim to depict conventional modern warfare as faithfully as this anime has. No aliens, no overpowered mecha suits, no ancient interdimensional vampires etc. Just war! One side of its story is a geopolitical thriller about WW3 and the escalation of nuclear warfare. It captures the general essence of anti war cold war era movies like Strangelove, Fail Safe, Wargames etc. which in itself is an admirable feat for an anime. Equally unique IS the dub; it features solely one person as the narrator, giving the film a docudrama feel that works well with the main, geopolitical storyline. The other storyline is a romance focusing on a scientist (Japanese in the original version, white in the dubbed one) who works on the SDI inspired missile defence system and one of his coworkers. Obviously, the narrator only approach means no dialogue, totally destroying the immersion or meaning of these scenes though I doubt the original romance plot was good either! 8 for the unique anime depiction of nuclear warfare.
Art: Artstyle is appropiately realistic and more western looking. Research was done well and period accurate military vehicles are depicted faithfully.
The animation itself is horribly subpar for an anime film, even for the early 80s. The anime tends to be too dark, meaning things become a horrible blur. The poor video quality this anime was released in doesn’t help either. 5 its pretty bad.
Edit: anime looks much better if you can find a higher quality version. The more realistic artstyle really shines. 8/10.
Sound: The original version had a standard orchestral film score. But as for the musical choices in the dubbed version? Period accurate rock music featuring Asia’s Sole Survivor, Wildest Dreams, Only Time Will Tell
and Rush’s Witch Hunt! (in shitty quality but…) NICE! Tangerine Dream is also used as background music. 10 I’ve never heard rock music of this calibre being used for an anime.
Character: The narrator only approach screws up any characterisation that the original may have had. However, the reactions of the various military personnel to the war such as the warmongering Soviet secretary of defences villainous coup of the Soviet government, the American President’s decision to not launch a retaliatory strike and the Soviet sub commanders deliberation on whether to launch nuclear missiles or not are very powerful scenes based on the sheer gravity of the situation. 6 Their actions manage to speak for themselves and give some semblance of characterisation.
Enjoyment/overall: This is actually one of the HANDFUL of anime about WW3/ conventional, modern warfare that doesnt feature any far fetched sci fi or fantasy elements. If you are in this niche audience like I am this anime will be worth a watch and rather entertaining despite the crazy limitations of having one voice actor and the horrible animation. For those war nerds out there; there are some military hardware featured in this anime that you just wont seen in any other anime; what other anime could possibly feature Panavia Tornados or Gepard Flakpanzers?
Many people today may not really understand what this movie means, but for anyone who lived during the height of the Cold War, this really rings true. The level or fear and anxiety was palpable, and omnipresent — it’s not so much a question of “if” WW3 breaks out and the world is thrown into nuclear winter, it was really a question of “when”. We all watched the clock clicking a few minutes to midnight, and the media was sprinkled with gloom and doom scenarios just like this.
The “X” in the title indicates this war takes place in the near future of the late 1980’s, and imagines if the technology of “Star Wars” laser intercept systems envisioned by Ronny Raygun became a reality. The names of people are fictional, but everything else is very real – the places, the positions, the military equipment, the procedures. They really did their homework.
There are no character voice-actors in this movie, it’s all presented with a background orchestral soundtrack (and occasional rock ballad), sound effects, and a voice-over narration of the main character, explaining everything in deadpan delivery. The first part of the movie puts all the chess pieces into play, giving a detailed breakdown on where all the characters in this drama are, what they are doing, and what is happening.
Then, small events turn into larger events. Misunderstandings lead to bigger misunderstandings. Mistakes lead to death, jealousy and hatred turn to more death, powerful men back-stab into even more death. World events spin out of control, and soon the entire world is thrown into war.
And what is scary, is that it paints a VERY PLAUSIBLE scenario. The paranoia and distrust you see between the Soviets and the Americans was very real; the political in-fighting inside the Kremlin was also very real. Even if the authors could not predict the fall of the Soviet Union and West/East Germany, replace those players in this ‘game’ with other players, and it could have played out just as easily. As the movie progressed to the halfway point, I started to get chills and a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as the worst-case scenario was playing out, and no one could stop it.
I won’t spoil it, but about three-quarters of the way through, there’s a shift in the movie, and suddenly there’s that “one chance” of a Jack Ryan-type character saving the world, and it becomes less of a docu-drama and turns into a cinematic-action-thriller. The movie sort of goes off the rails of realism at that point (otherwise I would have given it a higher rating).
Artwork and animation are perfunctory and unimpressive, with the notable exception that they made sure they got all the military hardware correct. But the point of this chilling movie is not about the artwork, it’s about the scenario it paints. And for people of a certain age (like me) who lived through the latter part of the Cold War, it really hits home.
And it can also serve as a warning for today. The world is a different place than it was half a lifetime ago, and some of the players are different. But history has a nasty habit of foretelling the future, and we aren’t too far off from a possible hell scenario like this today.
The romantic subplot stole from the movie in my opinion, it wasn’t really necessary and didn’t make it any more entertaining. I also couldn’t find a quality copy of it, the copy I watched was downright dreadful in clarity. Could barely see what was going on in some action scenes. Suppose it’s better than being “lost” material like the Xevious film. I also have some qualms with its morals though my opinions here are probably unpopular. Definitely worth a watch though, more-so than most anime films I’ve seen.
19: Grey: Digital Target
Japanese: GREY デジタル ターゲット
MAL Score: 6.14
Grey is a laconic trooper in a rough, futuristic military system which rewards success in battle with high pay and promotions, but only three precent of troopers live long enough for the final goal – citizenship and the chance for a life above the misery of most of the populace. Grey has managed to keep coming back alive, even earning the nickname Grey Death. But is the society he’s fought for worth it?
Grey: Digital Target can be best summed up by a single iconic image as well, and like Full Metal Jacket it’s the main character’s helmet. Yet unlike the dark camouflage helmet of Full Metal Jacket, Grey’s helmet serves as a bright red beacon. Just as his iconic helmet stands out from the bland landscapes it’s cast against, Grey stands out from the other inhabitants of his post-apocalyptic world. The wanderer’s sheer number of kills, ability to survive and meteoric rise in the ranks made him a legend, earning him the nickname “Death.”
Yet the helmet is more important than a simple symbol – it has a story of its own. The original owner of the helmet and Grey’s lover, Lips, died in pursuit of her dream- to become a “citizen.” In Grey’s world, lower-class “people” of “towns” yearn to join the privileged upper class “citizens” in “cities.” Luckily there is class mobility of sorts – by joining the army and raking up kills “people” earn points. As points add up, ranks increase until “people” can finally become citizens. Grey dons the helmet in Lip’s place, continuing her quest for citizenship.
On the surface, Grey: Digital Target seems like a typical 80’s sci-fi anime. It takes place in a post apocalyptic future, where life is a nightmarish struggle for survival and technology serves only to repress or kill. But beneath the cliches, Grey has immense potential.
Grey: Digital Target’s jargon is one of its most endearing features. Terms like town, citizen, bird, and mama that take on new meanings. The words always fit, never become confusing and serve to enrich the story’s world and history.
Another great aspect of the series is Grey’s harsh and unapologetic plot. One would be hard-pressed to find any positives in Grey’s nightmarish world. Few series dare to be so bleak and even fewer see it through to the finish.
Yet Grey undercuts its good points with bland art and mundane animation. The drawings lack detail and the animation lacks flow. Poor animation ruins the robots’, tanks’ and other warmachines’ interesting designs. The machinery begs to be brought to life with movements and vibrations, but remains stagnant and dull. Even the battles and explosions fail to impress. Although Grey has many opportunities to offer viewers memorable visuals, it fails to do so.
Grey’s bgm doesn’t do the movie any favors either. The simple midi is unengaged and uninspired. Grey’s world deserves a soundtrack that would allow viewers to feel the atmosphere, making for a deeper experience. Instead the soundtrack matches the movie’s bland visuals, making for bland visual and audio experiences.
It’s unfortunate that Grey: Digital Target’s poor presentation undermines its dark plot and great machine designs. Overall, the production values are more typical of a TV series than a theatrical feature. That isn’t to say Grey isn’t worth checking out – it’s still a good watch. Yet it’s hard not to think of what might have been. Unlike Lip’s charismatic helmet, Grey: Digital Target does nothing to stand out from the vast landscape of anime it’s cast against and has deservedly fallen into obscurity as a result.
Story: Dang good even though you don’t get some of it. That’s kinda par for most anime anyway.
Art: not so great, but the action is good.
Sound: Mediocre… never have figured out why this is a category… Who cares. All anyone talks about is opening and ending songs which make no difference in the story.
Character: Well done and with feeling, there is a love story and you get it.
You’ll like it or hate it. Just depends on your taste and whether you’re addicted to the new style of anime art. I thought this was great.
“Grey” is waaay too short to tell the story it wants to, which is a mix of Terminator, Starship Troopers, Mad Max and a slew of other properties I probably don’t even know about (people actually read sci-fi books back then!). There are too many characters, ideas and terrain, but there are some great moments of dialogue and exposition that quickly give a viewer a solid sense of what is going on. It is based on a comic, which also appears to be rather short, so the problem may have been inherent in the material however.
The biggest draw here is Grey himself, who’s nihilism is as understandable as his reason for wearing his red helmet memento. Other characters are sketches that are erased quickly and deliberately, but are appealing enough for the time they remain. Nova, the blue-haired anime girl (TM) seems pretty badass early on but undergoes what TV Tropes calls “Chickification” fast (she also gets a hilariously gratuitous fanservice scene at about the same time) but she sticks it all out nevertheless.
About a third of the way through is when it really falls apart, but even then the pace keeps up and moving despite the stakes start expanding exponentially. Mecha-cults, supercomputers, 500-year-old cyborgs come and go, but make me wonder if later titles like “Appleseed” pulled some influence from this humble title.
To make the experience more authentic, I viewed a low quality youtube VHS rip with subs that were a little off-time. I could imagine myself as a gnarly teenager in the early 90s who snagged this off his pot dealer. A cool little film that could only exist in the 1980s and survive for nostalgia fuel for the rest of time.
18: Area 88 Movie
Japanese: エリア88 劇場版
MAL Score: 6.46
Kazama Shin, tricked and forced into fighting for the remote country of Arslan, can only escape the hell of war by earning money for shooting down enemy planes or die trying. As the war rages on, Shin has to deal with the consequences of killing and friends dying around him as he tries to keep his mind on freeing himself from this nightmare.
17: Starship Troopers: Red Planet
English: Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars
Japanese: スターシップ トゥルーパーズ レッドプラネット
MAL Score: 6.49
After the events of Invasion, Johnny Rico has been demoted to the rank of colonel and relocated to a Martian satellite to train a new batch of troopers. Unfortunately, these troopers are some of the worst low-performing Rico has ever trained as they’re Martians and don’t take the war seriously. Mars overall has low support for the war as they see their planet unaffected by the bug conflict and even suggested pulling out from the war. Because of their laid back attitude, the denizens of Mars wasn’t ready when the bugs attacked. Unknown to everyone, Sky Marshall Amy Snapp executes her plans for power.
Red Planet is a surprisingly decent movie. It does not excel in any department but it does not fail in any neither.
I know many people hate the computer graphics but here it kinda fits the setting. Most of the time we’re shown spaceships, corridors, bugs, and soldiers in full armor; and it looks really good. It does not look that good when the focus shifts to unarmored humans, or when the soldiers remove their helmets. Normal humans move… weird (for lack of a better term) and faces look off too.
The story and characters are quite predictable, but to my surprise this installment does have some of the dark humor, sarcasm and criticism of the fascist state that the Verhoeven movie had. So it gets bonus points there.
The action, like the rest of the movie, is not top notch but is way better than average. It does not go too far into gore territory but it does not shy away from some dismemberment either. The guns are solid, the bugs agile and fierce, and the mechs (yes, it has mechs) kick ass.
Overall 7/10 and better than the previous (Starship Troopers: Invasion).
16: Strike Witches: 501 Butai Hasshin Shimasu! Movie
Japanese: ストライクウィッチーズ 劇場版 501部隊発進しますっ!
MAL Score: 6.60
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6/10 for the rest of the movie,
7/10 overall (it was good).
Like the 12 episode chibi-style spin-off series that came before it, this movie is a comical redo of the actual Strike Witches Movie. While 12-episode series was highly condensed and comical throughout, this movie has much slower pacing and thus doesn’t feel as funny. Otherwise this is exactly what you’d probably expect from the film. 🙂
(That said, if you’ve found this randomly please watch the original series and then the movie / OVAs first! There are a lot of characters in this film and you won’t have time to appreciate any of them from just this movie or even from just the 12-episode spin-off series).
Basically, in the first season of this spin-off strike witches season the group disbands in the end. And in this movie, they just get back together. The plot and story are quite a bit slower than the series, also making the movie a bit less funny. The movie is still fun to watch. 6/10
The art is the same as the series, pretty low quality but charming and great for such comedic/dramatic kind of series. It really matches the episode and the animation is smooth so I will give it an 8/10
The voice acting is fine and the op/ed are the same as the series. I would give the op an 8 and the ed a 7.5, overall pretty decent, 8/10
The characters are the same as the series and the whole series. Just bland and always hiding their pasts and character while getting a lil’ cover of always happy or constantly something personalities so as to boost the comedic effect of the series. 7/10
I did enjoy this movie less than the Strike Witches: 501 Butai Hasshin Shimasu! series because it was unnecessarily slower and without a reason made into a movie. I gave the series a 7 so a single less funny episode is worth a 7/10. Pretty fun and relatively worth watching if you want some more funny content
MAL Score: 6.67
Deep in the Ararat Mountains of Turkey, a secret organization known as ARCAM has found what is believed to be Noah’s Ark. However, the U.S. Machine Corps., a rogue organization of the Pentagon, wants to take over the Ark as a means of global supremacy. Only a special ARCAM operative known as a Spriggan stands in their way. Japanese Spriggan Yu Ominae teams up with French Spriggan Jean-Jacques Mondo to combat members of the U.S. Machine Corps. led by Col. MacDougall—a genetically-enhanced boy with deadly psionic powers. However, they must act fast and stop MacDougall before he uses the Ark for his own agenda.
Don’t let that put you off though, there’s still some fun to be had in the form of cool 90’s action!
This is the first, and currently only time I’ve seen Turkey depicted in anime. The crew did an ok job capturing its diverse nature; that of being stuck between Europe and Asia. We see metropolitan Istanbul briefly, and far eastern parts like Diyarbakir in the anime and it looks good.
Well actually, the animation in Spriggan is more than good; its impressive considering it was made in 1998. As expected of Studio 4C. Facial reactions and action scenes are detailed and you find yourself scanning the whole screen to take it all in.
For a moment I thought this anime would be totally realistic but that notion goes out the window with a chase scene in Istanbul which made me grin like an idiot. I swear the main character’s modelled after Jackie Chan. He moves around like a hyperactive monkey, doing back-flips and swinging on cables, its fluid and very dynamic watching him beat people up mercilessly.
Unfortunately that is all the character has going for him. Why did he have to be a 17 year old school kid anyway? Why not just a regular guy in his 20’s or 30’s? The anime doesn’t delve into his dual lifestyle, that of being a school kid one day and ARCAM operative the next, and his extremely brief flashback-assisted back-story is almost like an afterthought. All it does is explain his origin, not shed light on anything in his personality, because he doesn’t have one to begin with! He’s a walking cliché.
So in the end I just see the character as a cynical attempt at appeasing teens. "Hey check this out! Wouldn’t it be cool if a kid just like you was a kick-ass mercenary!?" Not really. Unless he’s getting the shit kicked out of him by a girl called Chidori Kaname, I’m not interested. At least Full Metal Panic gave us a compelling back-story to make the entire story have weight. The action scenes in Spriggan may be unrealistic, but they could have retained some sense of coherency with the narrative, it feels very lazy and my Suspend-Disbelief-O-Meter just wasn’t compatible this time.
I can enjoy an over the top action-fest as much as the next Read or Die fan, but here it’s not fun and it’s not dramatic, and when it finally builds to an ever-increasingly illogical Akira-esque climax with a psychic super powered deformed kid and apocalyptic style crap blowing up, I’m losing even more respect for it to be even contemplating Katsuhiro Otomo’s masterpiece, let alone riffing off of it.
Spriggan feels both old-school with its late 90’s violence; the kind where people and objects are eviscerated with unabashed glee that would make the guys who worked on Ninja Scroll hyperventilate in joy, but the anime also feels ahead of its time because of that attention to detail and unconventional setting. You get the sense that if only the story were much much better, as in: if Studio 4C took a different approach at adapting the manga or just took an entirely different one to adapt in the first place, it would have been nestled comfortably in a list of Top Anime Movies Of The 90’s; next to stuff like Production I.G’s Ghost in the Shell which came out a few years earlier.
The story isn’t even worth mentioning; it’s just a bunch of plot points ticked off one by one. Guy has to go from A to B; objects have to get from Y to Z. Spriggan has to go from ‘plan-to-watch’ to ‘completed’ with a score that means it barely entertained me for the running time and I’ll probably never watch it again. An interesting if disappointing look at Studio 4C’s earlier efforts. They’ve come a long way indeed.
Sounds like the plot for a spy action adventure movie? Correct.
* Hero. Cool, young, Japanese Spriggan Yu Ominae (who actually looks Japanese) with amazing physical martial arts skills and ability to take damage? CHECK
* Sidekick. Cool, sexy French Spriggan Jean-Jacques Mondo who has insane skill with guns? CHECK
* Three to four evil villians, all with special kick ass powers? CHECK
* Plot that takes you all over the world for variety? CHECK
* Spectacular action scenes with blowing up vehicles, hand to hand fights, hand to gun fights, gun to gun fights, artillery fights, flying vehicles, land vehicles, vehicles in desert, vehicles in jungle, vehicles in snow? CHECK
* Extremely well choreographed action scenes with kick ass sound and animation? CHECK!
* Plot that starts getting religiously and philosophical towards the last one third to try to make the movie seem more "deep" than just a regular action packed flick? CHECK!
* Somehow the fate of the world rests in the hands of our hero spy, because the bad guys would really mess stuff up? CHECK!
This is a great action flick if you like these sorts of movies. Because it is animated there is a lot more licence to make the action even better, in live action I bet insurance wouldn’t have covered this! The characters are sort of one dimensional but there’s so much eye candy and other stuff to see one can’t help but be entertained. An action movie of this calibre is like taking all the best scenes of Black Lagoon and compressing it into 90 minutes of adrenaline. Great fun and you’d enjoy this if you like a combination of James Bond, Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones.
Spriggan’s core plot revolves around the mysterious prophecy of a lost civilization and fast forward to the present day, an organization called ARCAM are assigned to stop the prophecy from happening. Our protagonist, Yu Ominae, is Japan’s number 1 elite super soldier who is basically indestructible like a German cockroach. Judging from the traits of said bland “badass” protagonist who can do anything, there is no depth regarding his personalty other than a plot device to move the narrative forward. He can be also described as a character projection for the audience as a cheap attempt to be immersive. The side characters are no better as well; they serve as exposition walkie talkies to explain the plot for the dumbfounded audience who don’t pay attention to the screen. The so called villains are merely nuisances to obstruct the protagonist to pad the run-time. Regarding the plot, there isn’t much happening until the climax of the film. Albeit, the action sequences, though are exciting to look at, there are plot conveniences (Yu being overpowered) and plot holes/logical inconsistencies (who was driving the jeep while Yu was in the turret?) that are distracting enough to ruin the immersion. The dialogue exchanges is half ass and not engaging. Most spurt out the most uninspired lines what can be heard from other action films, TV and so forth. Yu’s one-liners can come off as cringe in today’s standards but the film was from 1998 so it could let itself slide if the dialogue wasn’t low quality.
These are the contrivances that dropped the quality of the film rock bottom. Albeit, the writing wasn’t top tier, what it excels was its use of animation. When the production shows effort, it really shows. The best use of the animation or sakuga are found in fight sequences; the sense of fluidity, exciting and fast fight choreography that is jaw dropping to look at. The art is also impressive; immaculate details in the background and locations that resemble so much like real life counterparts such as Japan and Turkey, two major settings that took place in the film. The weapons are also drawn with immaculate detail as well. The best example of fluidity in motion is the chase sequence in Turkey; ambitious in its shot composition and choreography. It is actually the best thing about the film, that the chase sequence was so exciting, filled with heart pumping adrenaline. The only praise of the movie that is worth mentioning; if not, skip the movie and just watch the chase sequence alone.
Spriggan was a prime example of sacrificing the quality of the writing and characters for the sake of making the movie looking pretty as possible. In other words, it was style over substance. Spriggan failed as a feature length film, several instances where things don’t happen does happen such as explaining the whole plot pads the run-time. If the opposite were to occur, this film would’ve done something differently in terms of quality, it would stand itself as competent film among the greats such as Ghost in the Shell. In retrospect, the film was a dumb fun action thriller done in anime. Spiggan doesn’t offer any merit other than its impressive sakuga to hold up to any other superior media. It’s an anime film with pretty colors (this can be compared to the Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works in terms of style over substance). Skip this movie for the chase sequence.
14: Starship Troopers: Invasion
Japanese: スターシップ トゥルーパーズ インベイジョン
MAL Score: 6.69
A distant Federation outpost Fort Casey comes under attack by bugs. The team on the fast attack ship Alesia is assigned to help the Starship John A. Warden stationed in Fort Casey evacuate along with the survivors and bring military intelligence safely back to Earth. Carl Jenkins, now head of the Ministry of Paranormal Warfare, takes the starship on a clandestine mission before its rendezvous with the Alesia and goes missing in the nebula. Now, the battle-hardened troopers are charged with a rescue mission that may lead to a much more sinister consequence than they ever could have imagined…
For anyone who isn’t familiar with the name “Starship Troopers” should really do a wikipedia search. The first Starship Troopers movie was a really well made blockbuster sci fiction movie. It catapulted the franchise, as well as actor Casper Van Dien into fame, as the famous “Johnny Rico”.
After 2 horrible low budget sequels (Starship Troopers 2 & 3), I am sure almost everyone had extremely low, or zero expectations, when they heard another Starship Troopers movie was being made.
Original Star Actor, now turned Producer, Casper Van Dien did say in an earlier interview that he wanted “Starship Troopers” to return to its first movie’s roots. I’ll say it jolly well did…..
Carmen’s ship got taken over by Carl Jenkins, Carl goes missing in space with it. Carmen finds it back and boards it with a new group of mobile infantry to investigate, simple sci fi opening.
The story is small in scale compared to the original first movie. And I can tell it got some inspiration from a certain game called “Dead Space”. But what REALLY makes this work was because producer Casper Van Dien, and the scriptwriters, brought back many of the nuances that made the original first movie a classic. The script and execution are great examples of sci-fi action/survivor horror done right.
For an 3D animated movie the quality and detail of the artwork is really high. The guns, new mobile infantry armor, backdrops and characters are well designed with high attention to detail. Japanese Animation’s high standards really shines through here.
Great sound and music really contributes to this action/survivor horror sci fi movie. Silence is used greatly as a tension builder. Then adrenaline pumping hollywood music is used when the troopers and bugs start fighting and dying by the second.
All the new characters are great add-ons to this movie. Each of them have unique personalities. Some time was spent on the character development of the cast members, but not so much that the movie feels dragged out. This all helps the audience to root for the survival of every member of the crew when all the horrific fighting and dying starts.
Enjoyment & Overall (9/10)
I absolutely enjoyed this animated movie. It really retained all the elements that made the first starship troopers movie so great. Great characters, glorious hollywood shooting action, quick character deaths that shock the viewers, and the tension of never knowing whats going to happen next.
They also made sure to include scenes of self sacrificing troopers, trying to buy their allies precious seconds to run away or complete the mission. These scenes of honorable self sacrifice are iconic of the first “Starship Troopers” movie.
This animated movie is a great fusion of east and west. Hollywood blockbuster’s great storytelling, along with Japanese Animation’s great dedication to graphics and art.
In summary if you have watched, and liked, the first “Starship Troopers” movie, you HAVE to watch this animated movie. Forget about the abysmal starship troopers 2 and 3 movies. This animated movie is the TRUE sequel to “Starship Troopers”
Let’s be frank, this movie is fan service for anyone who likes the franchise. As such, it does a decent job at giving fans a fun, visually appealing action ride. Alone, this movie belongs well at the bottom of the B-movie list.
THE STORY follows a group of troopers who get caught up in a mystery involving a missing starship, a secret experiment, and of course, bugs. The plot is very basic and serves to lay down a framework for the action to make sense. While I did not watch this film for the story, I will say that because the basic outline is so solid, I was actually disappointed by its failure to develop. There is a very interesting premise that I believe could have been explored deeper, but woefully it was not. Instead, the movie opts for cheap, no-brainer cliche storytelling and even worse dialogue to drag itself forward. I believe that if they had spent the money on the writing instead of the truly pointless nude scenes, this would have had a decent story. At least the pacing keeps you interested. Fans of the original 1997 movie will get the most from this film as there are several nods to the source film.
THE ART is purely computer generated. While it’s certainly not on the caliber of Pixar or Dreamworks it is certainly better than what I usually come out of Japan. In particular, the starship, space craft, and set designs are truly epic, and the effects are very well done. The characters all look too similar to each other (except for the females) and their animations are rather stiff. Still, the art is overall very good.
THE SOUND is a lot better than I expected. The version I saw was in English (I believe that is the original language of the film), and the voice acting was pretty good. The only shame is that the actual dialogue is pretty dumb, cliche, and hammy. The sound effects are good, and the music is definitely nostalgic as the theme from the 1997 film is definitely audible.
THE CHARACTERS are shallow and bland. There are really too many to be introduced and thoroughly explored in the span of the film, but it does not excuse the fact that whatever semblance of personality they have was merely written in to have some truly awful dialogue. It is a shame really because at face value, some of the characters seem interesting enough to get to know deeper, but there is no character development. Also, their fates will make the audience feel the authors are cheating.
I ENJOYED the film. It is a brainless action movie with guns, spaceships, and aliens. The film distills all the fan service you would want from a sci-fi flick into a fairly slick production. The film is certainly watchable, but don’t expect much more than a cheap, but satisfying, action thrill. That said, I really think this would have worked better as a miniseries. I suppose I just feel bad that this could have been something more, something better, and a decent addition to the franchise.
This a prime example of a mindless action anime, you don’t even have to pay attention; because the focus of this movie is the “Action” and the “Shocks”. If you’re familiar with how american horror movies, you’ll notice how this movie is filled with old-ass cliches; death flags, relying on lame shocks that only scare kids; and let me clarify this: It’s a kids movie minus the nudity/sex.
Story: lol, the story doesn’t even worth to talk about. Basically a failed experiments on huge-ass insects we don’t know where them come from. Soldiers have to rescue the people on the ship and then fight the insects then they start killing each others until the end. it’s a cliche.
Characters: generic, a horny man who’s blinded by love, a blondy who like to seduce men and she’s just there for fanservice, the comic relief who who’s still a virgin and keep complaining about when he gets laid, the good guy who’s coward, the scientist asshole, and what else…yeah and your serious badass “Hero” type you see in every horror action american film, your typical Chris Redfield or something. The only decent character I could recall so far is Tia Durer aka Trig, why she’s a decent character? because she expressed her emotions and goals, and why she’s doing what’s she’s doing; the movie could be better if she was the main character.
Art: Not bad, but I didn’t like that disgusting green blood.
Sound: Unmemorable, except maybe for the credits song.
Overrall: Don’t expect a good story/characters in this movie; there’s still some enjoyable action moments and sexy boobies/booties that make it wroth watching though.
13: Golgo 13
English: Golgo 13: The Professional
MAL Score: 6.79
After assassinating the son of business tycoon Leonard Dawson, Golgo 13 finds himself prey to the CIA and the U.S. Army, whom Dawson has personally hired to kill the assassin. As days pass by, Dawson slowly loses his sanity as he continues to plot every attempt to kill Golgo 13 even without caring about who hired the assassin to kill his son.
Golgo 13: The Professional was released in 1983, a full 7 years after the manga by Saito Takao ended serialisation. During it’s run the manga saw phenomenal success in both Japan and the rest of the world, with over 200 million sales in various formats. The series was adapted into two live action movies in 1973 and 1977, both of which were reasonably well received, but were not the successes that had been hoped for.
Fast forward to 1983, and the release of the first anime incarnation of the legendary assassin Duke Tougou. At that time anime was still in it’s infancy in the Western market, with much of what was being released were either Ghibli affairs, or shows that were deemed suitable for Western audiences. Then, Golgo 13: The Professional arrived on the stage, and nothing was ever the same again.
It’s often commented about how Akira opened the Western markets for anime, however what is often overlooked are the shows that came before it that gradually forced their way into how we in the West viewed “cartoons”. Golgo 13 was not only responsible for giving that door a good kick, it also had the added bonus of being made specifically for an adult audience, something which was almost unheard of at the time.
The story follows the exploits of Duke Tougou, the legendary assassin known only as Golgo 13. He has been comissioned to kill one Robert Dawson, the son of oil baron and owner of Dawson Enterprises, Leonard Dawson. Although Golgo 13 is successful in his task, Leonard Dawson has sworn bloody revenge for the murder of his son and heir. Throw in the army, FBI, CIA, other assasins, mass murderers and a distinct lack of morals, and you have a recipe for something….. unique.
The pacing and style in which the plot unfolds is actually very good, and is very reminiscent of the better class of action movie. Indeed, the writers took their cues from several action movies from both the East and the West, which is ironic as this movie has in turn inspired others, from Luc Besson’s “Leon”, to Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” (even the videogame “Hitman” pays homage to the whole Golgo 13 series in several instances). The whole story starts with an innocuously languid feel, which belies the breakneck speed at which it progresses later on.
One thing I did like about the plot for this movie was that it wasn’t simply about Duke Tougou, but was seen from the perspective of Leonard Dawson as well. His blinding rage at Golgo 13 is the main driver for the story as a whole, and is also what adds some drama and tension to what would otherwise have been a fairly one dimensional action movie. Another thing that separates this from the herd is the huge twist at the end of the movie as it adds a new dimension to the events that occur, and also explains a lot about Leonard Dawson as a character.
Given the age of the movie it would be fair to expect animation to be subpar compared to most titles on offer today. That said, Golgo 13 was one of the first anime to make regular use of CGI, something which did not become prominent in the medium until the mid 90s. This is only used in certain sequences, however it is used to good effect on the whole. Some of the buildings and backdrops are clearly CGI, but rather spartan with the detail. Those that are not are nicely drawn and detailed, making them a decent canvas upon which the action can take place.
The design for Duke Tougou follows very close with that of the manga and, using the manga as inspiration, the other characters were also created using Saito’s foundations. The nice thing about this is that each of the characters have a certain “believable-unbelievability” about them, in other words, they’re visually larger than life characters in the style of any good action story.
Animation-wise, the movie isn’t too bad on the whole. It is, however, reflective of the time, which means that there is often an over-emphasis on speed and movement (the use of speed lines for example), which can detract from a given scene. These techniques were used often during the 70s, 80s, and early 90s though, so their usage can be forgiven if one remembers that fact.
Unfortunately I’ve only seen the English dub for this movie (one of the few anime I haven’t watched in both languages – yet), but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a bad thing. The dub is actually pretty well acted, if a little wooden on the whole. Gregory Snegoff, who plays the role of Duke Tougou, has also played several other anime based roles, however this role was a challenge for him and the rest of the cast as they were effectively being asked to speak and act like no other anime characters before.
Ultimately the dub is pioneering stuff though as it effectively paved the way for more adult oriented anime like Akira, Crying Freeman, Wicked City, Genocyber, AD Police, etc, etc, to be released on the Western market.
The music an eclectic blend of pop, rock and jazz, with some strange quasi-classical pieces thrown into the mix. This seemingly odd mixture of style and content has meant that some people have found the movie to be less than satisfying, primarily because the music and the atmosphere sometimes don’t mix. Although this may be the case in certain circumstances, it’s my belief that, at least musically, the movie is well served by the majority of the tracks it uses.
As far as characters go, one would expect Duke Tougou to be the one who gets the most development. Ironically, and fittingly, it isn’t actually him who is the driver for the movie. That role belongs to Leonard Dawson who, in my opinion, is one of the better anime antagonists to appear fro the 80s. Dawson’s blind rage over the death of his son pushes him to act in ways that are both morally and legally wrong, however his thirst for revenge overrides everything else. What is interesting to see in the movie is how Golgo 13 remains unchanged and unchangeable – forever the quiet assasin, whilst all the hatred, evil and invective happen because of Leonard Dawson, which poses an intruiging moral argument as to who is actually the monster in this case.
That said, the other characters aren’t really developed all that well, and some of the supporting characters are extremely stereotypical. Laura Dawson (the widow of Robert), is a case in point, as she seems to be a character with almost no backbone whatsoever, no matter gets thrown at her. The other characters are equally as poor unfortunately, with almost no depth to them.
This is a movie with numerous flaws, however it works as a straight up action flick simply because of the conflict between Duke and Leonard. The acting may be wooden at times, but this can easily be forgiven as the action does make up for it.
So, will you enjoy this? If, like me, this was one of the first anime you owned back in the 80s, then the movie will have a certain nostalgic feel, especially when we recall how cool the CGI helicopter looked back then. Likewise, if you’re a fan of the manga, or the recent TV series, then this is a movie you shouldn’t miss as it does do justice to the franchise.
Action junkies and people looking for something with a bit more bite may also want to give this a try as, even with the flaws, it’s still makes for pretty entertaining viewing.
But if you want romance, friendship, comedy, or twinkly stars and rainbows, then steer clear.
When you think of the most successful and best selling manga series of all time, you probably think of stuff like: One Piece, Bleach, Naruto, Dragonball, etc. However, there is a manga that has been running non-stop since the 1960s! That manga is Golgo 13, and it is basically unknown outside of Japan. Golgo is one of those series along with Lupin 3rd that is not just HUGE in Japan, but at the level of cultural icon, yet they are utterly irrelevant everywhere else outside of Japan. In Japan, Golgo has sold well over 200 million copies, which is more than Rurouni Kenshin, Yu Yu Hakusho, Attack on Titan, and Inuyasha…combined! Is the anime movie of this highly successful manga any good? Not really.
Golgo is a badass assassin who kills without mercy and sleeps with all the ladies. He is a smooth, sociopathic killing machine. However, Golgo never evolved outside a crude ripoff of James Bond in 50 freaking years. He is never given a background even in the manga, so it goes without saying that you learn NOTHING about the guy in the movie. It would be OK if only certain details were kept ambiguous like where he was born, how he became an assassin, why he became an assassin, but we don’t even know his basic likes and dislikes, let alone his character motivation. Golgo may be GAR, but he is possibly the most flat, one dimensional character in anime history. For many viewers, this kind of makes Golgo a tad boring. We know he’s going to win. We know he’s going to kill his target without getting a scratch on him and he isn’t going to feel bad for killing him. Eventually even something as awesome as sniping people in the head gets stale and redundant.
The plot is that Golgo kills the son of a very wealthy man, who had a mysterious hit order placed on him. The wealthy father than sends legions of guys after Golgo only for Golgo to easily kill them all. The plot in this movie is honestly pretty simplistic, apart from having one of the absolute STUPIDEST twist endings in anime history. I won’t spoil it, but even M. Night would say that was head bashingly retarded!
To be honest, Golgo 13 doesn’t even have the cheesy 1980s charm to it that Violence Jack has. It is honestly quite boring. Seriously. A movie about a hitman popping people in the fucking head is boring! If you want to see a Golgo movie, I would check out the live action version with Sonny Chiba! Why? Because Sonny Chiba makes everything better! He rips people’s balls off, has a black belt in Ninjutsu, and has eyebrows even bushier than Leonid Brezhnev’s! Golgo 13 the anime movie is a mediocre waste of time, but it is never a waste of time to see what kind of over the top performance good ol Shinichi Chiba will turn in!
Over time, the graphics have come to appear a bit dated, so i would only give it 8/10 for graphics (unlike Ghost In The Shell, there doesn’t seem to be a remake coming), but this is mostly in the CG sequences and, considering limits of the time, overall, it is still well presented.
However, the reason why I came to like this movie is because of the protagonist, Golgo 13. Without spoiling the plot, he is one of the most consistent “heroes” in a series ever (after this movie, there was a sequel, a manga series, a series of games, and even an anime TV series).
To use one word to describe him: stoic.
Golgo 13 does not hesitate, respond emotionally, or ever seem out of control, even when things clearly go wrong and he is in danger. This may make him sound dry (like, say, K. Reeves / Neo in The Matrix Trilogy), but he isn’t. He is quite an engaging character.
The story of this movie is somewhat simple, but the details make it interesting. In fact, that is one of the things that makes it worth re-watching… a lot happens in a short space of time, which doesn’t feel rushed, but afterwards, makes plot development in other movies feel pale and unprofessional.
The presentation style, from opening credits to ending, sets the tone for this dramatic action, which takes itself seriously without being boring. Furthermore, it deals with mature themes such as betrayal and murder (in fact, the lead character is an assassin).
Okay, if you haven’t ever watched this yet, then go out an do so now… although, actually, I prefer the sequel to this (Golgo 13: Queen Bee) for pure entertainment value, even though this is overall a better movie.
12: Vexille: 2077 Nihon Sakoku
Japanese: ベクシル 2077日本鎖国
MAL Score: 6.93
In an alternate 21st century, the robotics industry undergoes a period of rapid advancement worldwide. By the year 2050, Japan has firmly established itself as the leader in robotic technology and manufacture with Daiwa Heavy Industries. As the technology evolves to include robotic enhancements to the human body, the blurring of the line between man and machine triggers a sudden shift in world opinion. In response, the U.N. passes a unilateral ban of further research and development on robotics in 2067. Japan fiercely objects to this ban, but is unable to prevent its passage. In protest, Japan withdrew from international politics and chose to pursue a policy of high-tech national isolation. While only trade continues, Japan disappears from the world scene.
Ten years later, a series of bizarre incidents lead the American technology police agency SWORD to believe that Japan has concealed extensive development of banned technologies through the use of the RACE network. SWORD dispatches a unit of special agents to infiltrate Japan and gather intelligence on the country. Vexille, a veteran agent among the group, uncovers the horrifying truth behind the ten years of isolation.
The story evolves around roughneck yet beautiful girl named Vexille who works for an elite military force codenamed: S.W.O.R.D. In a nutshell, Japan has elected to become an isolated country and decides not to play ball with the rest of the world. A semi interesting story ensues…
Fortunately, as soon as the movie starts you are well treated for some nice visual eye candy. As you would expect from a CGI heavy movie, everything is rendered with utmost detail. But almost immediately you will notice that the characters are altered slightly than what you would normally expect. They appear to be more styled in a cel-shaded way. A little minor gripe with cel-shading is that sometimes theres a little TOO much ‘shading’ on the characters. The style may look a little weird (semi-simplified characters over an extremely detailed background) but you will most likely grow used to it after a few minutes. There are a few flaws in the animation but thats proof of how beautiful this movie is. You’ll be actively searching for things in the artwork to nit pick.
A great thing about a cyberpunk universe is understanding the universe itself. The back story and technology throughout the movie will most definitely do its job in to pulling you into the Vexille universe as all the technology is pretty believable (for the most part) and cool to look at. Unfortunately what pulls the story down a few points is that the actual plot is very unspectacular. When the viewer discovers the plot, seasoned anime viewers will notice how cliche’ the whole move is from the climax to the ending. Which disappointed me so much since they could have easily gone a unique route but decided to take the safe (and unimpressive) route.
With a weakening plot, unfortunately the characters have to suffer as well. As they are near replicas of other cyberpunk characters. It also means that the characters faces don’t show emotions very well for some reason (i.e. happy, sad, etc). To add more salt to the wound, the characters don’t speak as much which is good and bad. Good as in usually when they’re not talking some kick ass action sequence is going on, and bad as in the character chemistry is virtually nonexistent. If you have been following any of my reviews, chemistry is what makes a good anime great.
Don’t get me wrong, this movie was for the most part, pretty good and I am most likely going to buy the dvd when it comes out, but the storyline and characters started to wane (or letup) further into the movie. If they only kept its intensity and uniqueness all the way to the end, this would definitely be a 9, but this movie deserves no more than a 6.
The story is intriguing and has moments of awe, but is overall generic and subpar. The premise of having the main protagonist from America and treating Japan like current-day hermit North Korea is very cool but not expanded upon creatively.
Vexille settles for obligatory action setpieces and clichéd villains to fill the running time. All stuff straight out of the Rebels-Fight-Empire 101 textbook. A textbook that is in need of a new edition, I think we can all agree.
The story is fairly good and had some potencial. All flows around the isolation of Japan during 10 years because the disagreements in a Treatment for the preservation of mankind during the Robotized era. In short the denial of creating androids.
It is a simple plotline with good potencial for plot twists but unfortunatly it starts entering in a downward spiral to failure due to some bad decisions of the directors.
Art and Sound are simply Amazing. Superb animation not only for the mechas but for all the scenarios the story passes by. Sound is also superb, with great tracks by Paul Oakenfold and great tracks choosen by the Sound Director (wich is Paul Oakenfold).
The Characters could be way better. They are just plain and simple with no really great mistery behind them. They are what you see.
Enjoyment: Vexille Is a feast to your emotions. Great Animation with Great music quickly lead you to forget about the mediocre plot line and plain characters. You can simply shut your brain after the first 20-30 minutes of the anime and still you will enjoy it.
Overall Vexille had the potencial to be a better movie but the story and the characters cripled that possibility. Still Vexille – 2077 Nihon Sakoku is a good movie that can be enjoyed not only by the CG and Cyberpunk fans but also by the normal watchers.
11: Penguin’s Memory: Shiawase Monogatari
Japanese: ペンギンズ メモリー幸福物語
MAL Score: 7.05
Mike is a penguin soldier who returns home after being injured during combat. Estranged from his family and friends, he leaves his hometown and starts to roam adrift through the country.
This is a hidden gem. The fact that only 340 people have got this on their list is quite disappointing. I am currently taking part in the recommendation clubs August/September challenge. I have to watch a show from each year from 1985-2004 in the next two months. I found this browsing the archived seasonal charts and thought, “Hmm, this might just be stupid enough to be enjoyable!”.
Let me say, I was wrong. This is not stupid at all! This was such an eyeopener for me! This film looks silly. Bearing in mind my thoughts going into it, the first shot was a bunch of penguins lined up in bush firing M16’s at other penguins and I laughed so hard I had to pause to take a breather. However, once this action tones down a bit, we are introduces to our main characters. Three best friend penguins, one of which was just wounded. They have a good talk and at this point it all sinks in. This film is serious.
This film focuses less on the combat and much more on character development and what war does to an individual. An individual who has lost things very close to them. An individual who wants to live a quiet life as a librarian, where he can be surrounded by the poetry that motivates him to keep pushing forward through tough times.
This was released in 1985, and I would say that the artwork is average even for its time, though with the exception of the first and third scene, there isn’t a lot of heavy animation anyway. It is a very dialogue and character driven story. The music and sound was also pretty average, though I couldn’t point to anything I disliked.
A 7/10 is a good score, something I give to anime that I don’t want to forget about. It isn’t given to a “meh” piece of throwaway entertainment. Its something that I enjoyed immensely.
I feel like I have seen this story at least 3 times before. It is nothing original. One could easily predict almost every single plot developement well before it happens. There are no twists, no new angles on the old clichés. Additionally since it is targeted at a slightly younger audience the violence, love, and tension are sort of dialed down and minimized, making for a rather flat roller coaster ride. This movie is just plain vanilla. This might be partially due to the movies age but then you can’t say it has aged well. Additionally, at least tome, the ending was sort of chintzy as it apppeared pretty melodramatic tho this might be due to a difference in the legal system and societal attitude towards convicts and propriety in the japanese 80’s and modern day America.
I personally don’t have much experience with art and animation criticism, and I have taken into account this movies age, so there isnt much to pan it on. It looks nice enough to even pretty good at times. I do have a few complaints tho and that is with the character design. The penguins rarely wear clothes and are for the most part drawn indistinguishably from eachother aside from a few minor details such as an accessory or slight change in head shape. This never becomes an actual issue as far as differentiating characters but the relative lack of diversity, especially among the main characters, makes it sort of boring i liked the unique design of some of the side characters and I wish there was more of that throughout. Another slight issue with the art direction is that the penguins small eyes, beaks, and plump faces did not lend themselves to being very expressive. This often left the voice acting and music to carry the emotionality of the scene once again resulting in a plain/boring product. So overall the art was good but not flawless imo. I can say that it was fun to look at the male penguins and in your head switch between a big eyed perspective and a big forehead perspective.
The music was probably the all around best and most unique part of the show. The insert songs were spectacular. They were catchy and well suited suited to the scenes/ overall plot. The background music was fitting though not super memorable or inspiring but it blended well with the mood of the scenes. The voice acting was probably the weakest part of the sound production it was just so plain and sounded like voice acting rather than sounding like it was the penguins themselves speaking, this might just be a product of the timesbut I can’t help but feel a little disenchanted. So overall average asides from the insert song which might be the one thing that redeems this show from a sentence of deserving to fade in the sands of time.
For most characters the most interesting thing about them is that they are penguins and this is an issue. It once again is probably due to age but most of the characters are boring to one dimensional. They were completely predictable and none were particularly compelling. The doctor was maybe the most interesting character and he had very little screen time. Another anachronism is just how weak/dependent the female characters are. I’m no feminist and I can definitely see merits in the argument but it still slightly put me off how one of the themes is that the female lead should give up her dreams to be a happy housewife instead. Especially since this theme countered the idea of the male lead making a full recovery from his PTSD and living a rich life rather than quitely pittering out. I guess these themes/character developments add a touch of realism to the story but it once again makes it sort of boring. My dinal issue/nonissue with the characters is why are they penguins. It ads nothing meaningful to the piece. In fact i think several arguments could be made that it detracts from the piece as far as relatability as well as the ability to read their emotions and emphasize. In reference to another work I recently finished, it was like a reverse oyasumi punpun. Representing the characters as penguins served to dull them and their emotional output, while punpun’s varying highly juxtaposed physical representation is one of the most lauded literary techniques in manga for how well it let you look inside punpun. So in short I don’t understand the choice of making them penguins. At the same time the fact that they are penguins and the novelty value this commands is pretty much the only reason anyone, including myself watches this movie in the first place so I guess in one way or another it was an overall good choice.
the movie wasn’t bad. Heck I won’t even forget the fact that I watched it just because the fact that its penguins. But I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it. It is pretty dull. In fact I watched it over the course of 8 or so hours because I kept on getting bored and having better things to do. I almost enjoy watching completely shitty movies because it then at least gives me the satisfaction of being disgusted at them. This movie is just plain and bland. In the end, I can only recommend you watch it for the novelty value/memes or in order to discover the insert songs. Other than that the movie is destined to fade away as the years go by or maintain its small novelty value because it simply doesn’t bring anything of substance to the table to keep it relevant. Thank you if you read this far. I also appreciate any feedback you have, whether your opinion differed on the movie or you have ideas on how I can improve my reviewal method. Thank you
10: The Sky Crawlers
English: The Sky Crawlers
Japanese: スカイ クロラ
MAL Score: 7.29
In an alternate timeline, the world has seemingly achieved peace. Bereft of international conflicts, wars are now waged between private corporations in place of peaceful nations. Yuuichi Kannami, a recent transfer in Area 262, simply does his job as a contracted fighter pilot. However, the more time he spends at his new base, the more mysteries come to light.
The Sky Crawlers exhibits this reality through the eyes of Kannami as he endeavors to understand the “Kildren,” humans genetically altered to be teenagers forever with faster reflexes, and his predecessor, the ace pilot known as “Teacher.” However, what troubles Kannami the most is how all this connects to the base commander, Suito Kusanagi. Area 262 has the answers, but the truth comes with a price the young pilot may not be ready to pay.
The story unravels with no real urgency, but something always seems to be off. Events occur in a disconnected and puzzling fashion. The pacing would suggest that the film is only showing something boring and ordinary, but that’s obviously not the case. Gradually, it becomes clear that the characters appear to be caught in an infinite loop of actions and lives. They’ve been there before. They’ve done that before. They are who they’ve always been, never changing, and without regard for anything in the past or future. They have died before. They have lived before. Themes of repetition, disconnection, meaning, childhood, and adulthood appear, chastising a refusal to change or evolve and those who have become complacent. They are themes that can be related to other issues, such as the human condition and post-industrial disillusionment, and the film makes a suiting metaphor for a number of parallels.
It’s difficult to say where the story ends up thematically without revealing too much, but suffice to say that it’s a tidy package with a well-done, albeit cynical, conclusion. A call to action, perhaps. Mamoru Oshii is known for his heavy films, but this is the first that’s really struck a chord with me. Be sure to stay through to the end of the credits for the final punch.
CHARACTERS – It’s appropriate, I suppose, that I find it difficult to see the characters in The Sky Crawlers as actual people. They are odd entities, vehicles for a story, and portrayals of something that isn’t quite real enough or human enough to be called a person. Kannami is curious about his predecessor, but not too curious. He might ask questions, but seems perfectly content to let the issue drop if an answer is denied. Still, his apparent apathy and complacency is easy to latch on to and you remain curious even if he doesn’t seem to care. You want him to care, you wish he would, and you react to the subtly disturbing mood of the film: the quiet unchangingness of everything.
Kusanagi first appears to be similarly indifferent, but there is a coldness and desperation to her that permeates the stoic exterior. She’s creepy. She becomes the first sign that something is not quite right about the environment, the situation, and distantly, the war they’re all fighting. She’s the one that seems to know what’s going on. Of course that must be why she and Kannami seem drawn to one another, but that strange deception exposes itself in expository dialogue so blatant that it’s almost alarming. And throughout it all, forced apathy reigns supreme. They are interesting foils, mostly because they are not so different at all.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION – To be honest, despite the various recommendations I’ve received for this movie, one of the original reasons I was ever interested was because I’d been shown much of the concept art in a class and really wanted to see the film attached to it. The backgrounds, environments, and animation in The Sky Crawlers are all beautiful. Interiors are lush with detail and very intricate, though often, the abundance of little things makes the larger scene appear awkward. For example, the doors may have detailed ridges and corners, but they’re also gigantic and oddly proportioned compared to the people. Similarly, the fighter jets and vehicles are slick and look incredibly convincing and the dogfights are beautifully animated… but then you notice that their designs are very peculiar — all of the propellers are on the back, which makes no logical sense at all. They might look nice, but if they were actually constructed, they would never fly.
Addendum — So I’ve been informed (thanks, jotunheim) that there were apparently a handful of WWII-era planes designed to be propelled by rear-end propellers such as the Saab 21 and Kyushu J7W Shinden. The physics of these things still baffles me, but I’m not an engineer, so this is an interesting discovery. In any case, I suppose my revised view is that it’s a compelling design choice for the Sky Crawlers — despite that the planes actually existed, they weren’t common and that perhaps adds to the slew of things that are just a little off about the movie — something to make you a little uncomfortable and wonder a little more. Something not quite right, but possible.
As usual, the price of fancy environments is simple characters. The limited cast of characters in the movie all have exceedingly simple designs, though all are extremely effective, especially Kusanagi, who strikes you as odd and slightly off-kilter from her design alone. The plainness of Kannami is also significant in that it makes him nearly anonymous. There are no features that might distinguish him from any other man; he is interchangeable, replaceable, and in many ways, relate-able. Particularly for this kind of story, the anonymity and capacity for audience sympathy in the character design alone goes a long way.
MUSIC – I’m generally a fan of Kenji Kawai’s work, so it’s no real surprise that I enjoyed The Sky Crawler’s poignant, and often subtle, soundtrack. Many of its tracks are drawn out and thoughtful, accompanying similar scenes for maximum effect. They’re eerie and occasionally force a feeling of anticipation. Action scenes are highlighted by fast-paced and shrieking violins, punctuating every twirl of a jet plane and burst of firing. It’s all wonderfully appropriate. Additionally, The Sky Crawlers had some very well placed silence, which is likely something you don’t notice that often. Some scenes are long and slow and completely silent save the stray sound effect — they are disconcerting in a way, but both force you to focus both on the immediacy of what’s going on and allow you time to think about and collect everything else that’s happened. It’s very effective silence.
The ending theme, “Konya mo Hoshi ni Dakarete…” by Ayaka, has a lot of similarities with the music in the rest of the movie and is therefore also quite fitting. Ayaka’s voice is rather nostalgic and the soft piano is both peaceful and sad; in the latter part of the song, the energy picks up considerably before resigning again, which fits oddly well with the pacing of the movie itself.
VOICE ACTING – I’ve only seen this subbed, but both Kannami and Kusanagi are wonderfully portrayed and have a great balance of conflicting and confused emotions, which is especially surprising since neither of their voice actors seem to have any other credits.
OVERALL – The Sky Crawlers is fascinating exploration of a lot of ideas I probably couldn’t do justice trying to describe or explain. The most important thing is to be receptive to those ideas and to not try and force the film into any pre-imagined mold. Despite the dogfights, most of the action here takes place internally; once again, this is a thinking movie with classical themes that are sure to bridge interests and culture gaps. If you like to think, if you like philosophy, psychology, and human nature (certainly, this is a human v. human story), you’ll probably enjoy The Sky Crawlers.
The film opens with the arrival of Kannami Yuuichi, a ‘Kildren’ (‘Kild’?), at a small forward base of his company in Europe, where he is seen settling in amongst his new surroundings. Though a few battle scenes are depicted, most of the film follows a slow, almost languid pace, showing the interactions between Kannami and the small cast of characters of the film, most importantly the base commander, Kusanagi Suito. Over the ensuing days, through the use of slowly moving dialogues and long stretches of silence, rather a few questions are raised on the ‘Kildren’, their existence and meaning, only a few of which are answered, and, more importantly, attention is given to Kusanagi and the results of her having lived for longer than she perhaps should have. On an interesting note, one major question is left both answered and unanswered: those viewers preferring to see the question unanswered can safely turn the film off when the end titles start rolling, while those who prefer to see an answer can watch the little scene afterwards.
Ostensibly, The Sky Crawlers seems to wax philosophical on the nature of war, mentioning how it is a clean, brutal way of determining winners and losers in whatever game, political or otherwise, is played. Yet, for being constructed around a message on war, there is very little focus on the actual military situation in the story or the battles themselves. Yes, there are a few scenes containing aerial dogfights and a campaign briefing, but they are very short and tend to serve more as scene markers (more on this later).
There is, however, another message, hidden in plain sight. The message is not deep. It is not novel. In fact, everyone watching the film will have the feeling of having seen exactly the same story once before. The Sky Crawlers is simply about interaction between humans – and about interaction between those who can’t be called exactly human. The film voices once more the questions of what happiness is, what the effects of change (external and internal) are on it, how it is achieved and, most importantly, how it can be recognised at all. In order to do so, it shows the differences between those who are able to understand both human interaction and human emotion, acting upon it in a natural fashion, and those who have either never had or have lost this ability to understand, to whom it is not natural. Thus, no matter how suggestive a situation, nothing will happen if it is not clearly expressed or shown and no action will be taken unless it has been discussed or asked, while even on acting the hesitation and unease remains.
The effect of this is that those who have an ability to read between lines will undoubtedly be particularly unimpressed by what happens and the slow pace in which the story progresses, but also that those who do need the whole sentence are exposed to scenes that, because they are clearly expressed and/or aided by visual markers, become very powerful in their clarity, at times perhaps even touching uneasily on the recognisable.
It is in this view that the film is strongest and the role of Oshii Mamoru as a visual director appears most clearly. It is no coincidence that one of the greater truths voiced in the film is shown through almost glazed eyes, voiced by a Kusanagi who is pale and dishevelled and clearly has had to much to drink, speaking with that lack of inhibition and that truthfulness of the drunk. It is no coincidence that the intrinsic emotional violence of the passionate encounter is accompanied by the visual promise of physical violence. And while it is a coincidence that the female protagonist is named Kusanagi, her striking resemblance to one of Innocence’s gynoids is too strong to be a coincidence, and so it is not surprising to see her with an almost child-like body, a mature poise and an old mind, both as human and as inhuman as that other Kusanagi is.
The film strongly uses both time and space to place its protagonists and enhance their being in the world and their being special. Again, both are clearly presented visually. Most of the film is set in the countryside of what is clearly the British Isles, most likely Britain but perhaps Ireland. It is wholly unclear in what time the film should be set. On the one hand, the advent of world peace and the existence of the Kildren may point to some future date, yet on the other the aeroplanes that we see are all propeller-driven while a prominent car looks suspiciously like one of the big American 1950s vehicles, suggesting an alternate near past. Finally, the map hanging in the commander’s office shows present-day Europe.
Whatever the exact time period in which the film is placed, visual markers abound in marking the progress of time, showing both how things change and how things are eternally unchanging: the film shows the characters amidst standing stones, some marked with glyphs, legacies of an ancient past; before the typical dry-stone hedges of the British countryside and collections of chinaware, common in a past that is closer to us; and in a roadside diner where the people of the present day congregate. The same sky rolls over all these temporal markers in an essentially flat land, as day follows unchangeably on day and the markers of the past form part of the spatial realm of the present. In the same vein the viewer is shown paintings of past people hanging in a restaurant, looking over the shoulder of the present characters, while a monologue is uttered on how some things never change.
Spatially, most scenes are cramped in only a few places, connected to each other by societal and economic ties, and the characters move between their barracks, the diner, a brothel and the countryside. Only once in the entire film is a larger settlement shown and for most of the film there is a striking lack of people. It is interesting to note that the mercenaries (and what might almost be termed their camp followers), Japanese all, are shown to speak two languages, Japanese amongst themselves and English to the locals. In this manner is shown how the protagonists differ from their surrounding society that comes on top of their being Kildren, ensuring a type of clinging together.
Because of all this, the concept of change looms large. Living in what is essentially a foreign country, in an area where past and present seem to flow together, the close-knit group of Kildren roam from one placid day to another, while due to their longevity they ought to see the same drama played out time and again, whatever the small changes over time, as well as the same groping for what is essentially simply not well understood.
Change, both temporal and spatial, is quite often accompanied by more action-oriented scenes. Travel and, especially, the few combat scenes in the film have a tendency to serve more as markers separating one time period or area from the following, fast-forwarding as it were the story for a moment.
The characters, as well, are defined by change, or the lack thereof. Long-living, the Kildren’s physique simply stops developing at some point, the question remaining whether the mind follows suit. The difference in attitude on aging and changing is what defines both protagonists, Kannami and Kusanagi, and drives much of their interaction. The former emphasises continuously that he is child, still, and entitled to be one, given that he might die at any moment in battle. Thus, he seems to shirk much of an adult’s sense of responsibility, not by actively refusing but by not getting involved. Kusanagi, on the other hand, older and with a better sense of time’s progress, and, most importantly, being confronted with actions of the past, seems to stand in between child- and adulthood, unwilling to take responsibility but unable to refuse it, in the end having both more to lose and less to look forward to. The result is that the two interact in an atmosphere of palpable carefulness, melancholy and distance, avoiding getting hurt while suggesting offering closer companionship.
All remaining characters seem to function more as walking commentators, divulging snippets of the past without mentioning their own roles therein. Most remain rather flat when compared to the expressed mess the more noticeable characters are in and, even with a hint of an unpropitious romance offered later on, remain really asides. It is telling that one character that is never shown but only referred to seems to be more developed than most of the characters with speaking roles. That said, while development is rather non-existent and characterisation doesn’t go beyond each having a clear role, these roles are executed very well and each fulfil a function in the story.
With regard to the art and animation used, the film can be called a hybrid of typical Oshii style and the style favoured by Production I.G in its latest releases. Throughout the film the audience is treated to wide, open vistas of mostly empty countryside. Especially under the intensely blue, cloud-specked skies that dominate many such shots, both buildings and people are kept very small. When the screen shows all in a more human scale, however, the relative emptiness is being replaced by a profusion of detail. Not only is every crack in every wooden beam of some little room visible, but most spaces that are worked and lived in are veritably cluttered with all kinds of apparel, embellishments and personal belongings, capturing the eye in most of the many silent, languid scenes that the film is filled with. Some such trappings, especially the seemingly omnipresent chinaware plates and vases might hint at symbolism, at some meaning, but nothing is explained or even mentioned.
Equally noticeable between the scenes on a grander and on a more human scale is the difference in colourisation. Whereas, barring some rainy skies, though even here rays of sunshine flitter through, the open vistas are coloured in with the brighter spectrum of the colour palette, both soft and sharp, especially the indoor scenes are shadowy, gloomy, sometimes even drab, with all brighter dashes as well being generally more dark of tone in their crimsons and navy blues, the rare light bulb orange and pallid white only giving this stronger emphasis.
In sharp contrast to their detailed surroundings, the characters themselves seem to follow the standard used by Production I.G in their newer releases (Ghost Hound, Toshokan Sensou, et al.), being drawn with a paucity of lines, leaving especially the face as devoid of details as possible. While this has been used to great effect in other shows, where the style provides for the wide range of very visually recognisable expressions asked of the characters, The Sky Crawlers is almost minimalist in this regard, thus leaving the characters rather empty of detail. Mostly likely deliberately, this applies more strongly to the Kildren than to the ‘normal’ humans presented.
As far as design of especially the backgrounds go it seems that the makers opted for realism, even if they went out of their way to prevent having any area entered that can be recognised as actually existing. The realism of setting, even if embellished at times up to a point where it starts deviating from reality, is apparent in almost all details, especially of contraptions of human make. The main exception is formed by the aeroplanes, which for the most part are unlike any that have been in general, active use, added, almost, as if only in this manner can they befit the equally unreal Kildren.
Clearly being intended as a theatrical release, The Sky Crawlers seems to want to disturb your neighbours. Volume levels vary disparately, with sound effects, especially those of the aeroplane engines, being louder by far than music, which in turn has a tendency to overwhelm the voices. The net result is an assault on one’s hearing, especially as one sometimes has to strain to hear what is said.
It doesn’t help that the orchestral pieces that form most of the music is rather lacklustre, accompanied at times by the sort of female chanting that composer Kenji Kawai famously used in the Ghost in the Shell films, which is quite out of place in this film. On the other hand, quite a few scenes are unaccompanied by music. In fact, the film toys with meaningful silences overly much, thereby removing their meaning, though at least then the dialogue is more pleasant to listen to.
The voices are mainly subdued, as per the story at many times properly devoid of extremes in expression.
The Sky Crawlers shook me far more strongly than it ought to have done, all things considered. As has been mentioned above, the interplay between what is said and what is shown on screen is at times strong enough to make for very memorable scenes, especially because the film manages, at times, to visualise some of the concepts it mentions. For all that it might have a predictable story, has a pace that is at times too slow for its own good, has emotions enter the fray in explosive amounts when at all and does not voice anything that can be considered innovative, the questions raised on change and happiness, on how change affects humanity and is needed for continuation remain important ones. As so often with this type of film, it is not the happiest of stories, but there is a certain serenity in its calm sadness.
The Sky Crawlers is a movie about genetically altered humans beings called Kildren (kill+children) who can never grow and are bound to endless aerial battles in an alternate historic period. This is a standard synopsis, the real one is that this is a story about meaning of the existence, wars, love, suicide, destiny, and emptiness.
It’s not a movie for general public taste; actually, most of people will probably want to give up on the movie before the first hour, since even though it’s a movie with war as a central subject and has some battles, the development is somewhat slow. The silence of their empty lives almost dominates the entire movie and the great moments are like slices of their lives; nothing really outstanding by an action point of view, but really deep in a psychological one.
Having said that, the visual effects are really something else. The air battles are truly well done, and the 3D effects catch the eyes. It’s a partnership between Warner Brothers and I.G., so this is not so surprising. Besides, it’s from the same director of the Ghost in the Shell movies. The OST is just beautiful. There are a lot of variations of the main theme, from piano to harp, and most of the songs are depressing. There are the ones fitted for battle, and the ones fitted for sadness.
As an adaptation of a novel, the development of the plot sometimes seems to have some flaws. As a matter of fact, the series’ author said that this was the most difficult of his works to adapt. But these “flaws” are almost part of the charm of the movie; you’ll receive some answers, but you will still wonder about a lot of unsettled things.
They don’t know who they’re fighting against nor why – a reflection about war itself. The main characters are just children, but they have to act like adults, and this paradox is explored all the time. They go to places like a brothel, but at the same time they like engaging in childish activity, such as playing with toys. All of them try to fill their emptiness with something: Yuichi Kannami, the main character, doesn’t even remember his past, so all he does is trying to comprehend why he’s there, their purpose. Kusanagi, a female commander, has a morbid point of view, always caring a gun to commit suicide or murder.
They kill in the air, but on earth they’re just like normal human beings – the sky is like a cage to these birds. If you have some patience to watch something that’s nothing like simple-minded, this movie is definitely going be a favorite.
9: Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos
English: Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos
Japanese: 劇場版 鋼の錬金術師 嘆きの丘(ミロス)の聖なる星
MAL Score: 7.29
Chasing a runaway alchemist with strange powers, brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric stumble into the squalid valley of the Milos. The Milosians are an oppressed group that seek to reclaim their holy land from Creta: a militaristic country that forcefully annexed their nation. In the eye of the political storm is a girl named Julia Crichton, who emphatically wishes for the Milos to regain their strength and return to being a nation of peace.
Befriending the girl, Edward and Alphonse find themselves in the midst of a rising resistance that involves the use of the very object they have been seeking all along—the Philosopher’s Stone. However, their past experiences with the stone cause them reservation, and the brothers are unwilling to help.
But as they discover the secrets behind Creta’s intentions and questionable history, the brothers are drawn into the battle between the rebellious Milos, who desire their liberty, and the Cretan military, who seek absolute power.
With a successful manga, two anime adaptations, two movies, six light novels, two series of drama CD’s, around a dozen video games across several formats, and a mountain of merchandise ranging from art books to key chains, Arakawa Hiromu’s tale of two brothers is undoubtedly one of the most profitable titles of recent years. That said, the jewel in Bones’ crown does lack the marketing clout of long-running franchises like One Piece, Bleach and Naruto, and in order to maximise profits the studio has decided to follow a tried and tested method to “advertise” the main series.
Which is a much nicer way of saying that Full Metal Alchemist is the prize cow, and Bones have decided to milk it (again).
The movie opens with a girl dreaming of her past, in particular the moment when a group of soldiers take her and her family away from what looks like a refugee camp. She wakes up to find her brother studying their parent’s alchemy research book, but before she can go to bed the siblings hear a strange noise inside the house. Her brother goes to investigate but she secretly follows, only to witness a nightmarish scene that causes her to pass out.
Several years later Central city, the capital of Amestris, is rocked by a prison break on the day of the harvest festival, and a confrontation with an escaping convict leads the Elric brothers on to another adventure.
Okay, it all sounds pretty straightforward, and therein lies one of the main problems with this addition to the Full Metal Alchemist franchise. The overly linear plot and the fact that this is nothing more than another tale about a specific ancient power mean that the storyline is highly predictable – even though the feature is set in a new country with its own history. In addition to this there’s a fairly noticeable lack of cohesion with the sequence of events, which may be due to the speed at which the narrative progresses. In order to fit the entire storyline into 110 minutes certain corners needed to be cut, but this has been done with very little care so things can often get a little … disjointed.
Aside from the over-churned plot, The Sacred Star of Milkos – sorry, Milos – also suffers from a similar “anime-by-numbers” methodology that was prevalent in Guilty Crown, and this becomes obvious when one considers the relevance of characters like Roy Mustang, Riza Hawkeye, and even Winry Rockbell. It’s likely that their presence is nothing more than a nod to the fans as their addition adds nothing to the narrative, and this only serves to highlight the fact that this movie has been made for one reason only – and that isn’t to tell a story.
Visually this is a bit of a departure from the clean lines and smooth animation that one might expect of the franchise, and the techniques used during action set-pieces have an experimental feel. That said, the detailed artwork lacks the finesse of Brotherhood, and while the character designs are pretty much what one might expect, the movie has a rushed atmosphere that no amount of familiarity can counter. This is reflected by the quality of the animation the attempts to make the action scenes more visceral often has bodies contorting in odd ways. The experimental nature of the visuals also makes the CG stand out, and the obvious disparity can make certain scenes look more than a little odd.
The movie does have an opening theme, but viewers will have to wait ten minutes before they can listen to Miwa’s dulcet tones as she sings “Chasing Hearts”, a pleasant rock-pop song with an adventurous atmosphere which unfortunately has been relegated to background music for the on-screen action. The Sacred Star of Milos closes with a rather simple sequence depicting a train journey across various landscapes while L’Arc-en-Ciel’s serenade viewers with their fourth contribution to the franchise – an upbeat rock ballad called “Good Luck My Way”. The rest of the movie has a variety of musical accompaniments composed by Iwashiro Taro ranging from dramatic martial themes to medieval-style ditties and mysterious piano pieces, and for the most part these tracks fit their respective scenes quite well.
Sadly, the movie suffers from the poor scripting that has plagued many shounen titles over the years, and although the actors are as competent as ever, not even their vaunted skills can do much with the typical formula of cheese, shout, run, hit people, shout louder, more cheese, run faster, scream, hit more people, etc, etc. The rather pedestrian dialogue means that The Sacred Star of Milos lacks the emotional charge of its predecessor – a fact that is borne out by the predominantly static characters.
The problem is that this movie is little more than a sideshow rather than a main event, which ironically places this feature below the much maligned Conqueror of Shamballa in terms of development – especially where the Elric Brothers are concerned. The only character who shows any sign of growth is the main heroine – Julia Crichton – but this alone cannot support the weight of a story that relies on previous familiarity with specific characters. While this method of storytelling isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does place limitations on the storyline regarding the actions of particular individuals, and when one adds the fact that several characters are nothing more than window dressing, viewers may find themselves disappointed with the overall lack of depth.
That said, although this addition to the Full Metal Alchemist franchise has more moo than milk, fans will probably find themselves warming to it as it offers them a chance to see the Elric Brothers in action once more. The feature may not be of the same standard as Brotherhood, the original anime adaptation, or even the first movie, but it does offer some moments of pure enjoyment. Although the storyline is relatively simplistic compared to what has gone before, anyone familiar with the franchise will probably find this an easy film to watch – even with the blatant and somewhat redundant reminders of certain past events.
It’s just a little sad that a great title is being treated as nothing more than a cash cow, but with The Sacred Star of Milos, hopefully Bones will decide it’s time to put the franchise out to pasture.
Anyone who has seen the trailer or was looking forward to this film should know that this was filler, me included. However, it’s still Fullmetal Alchemist (FMA) so while I wasn’t looking forward to this as much as other things, I still would’ve seen it as soon as it was released. I wasn’t aware of the runtime (2 hours) until before I saw the film. I generally don’t care for films this long but I had some faith simply because it was FMA and the franchise hasn’t let me down… until now.
Story: Generally in films based on something, they want to broaden their audience by giving a little background on the characters and why they do what they do. If this film was someone’s first Fullmetal Alchemist experience, knowing what it’s about might help guide them into the story. Unfortunately, for those who do know about FMA, there might’ve been a tad too much for my liking. Beyond that the actual story is pretty generic and not very interesting. There wasn’t anything to hook me in and it’s a story that’s been done to death. So I understand giving background for the newer audience but they really should’ve considered the people that FMA has already roped in. What lead up to the climax is boring… I was waiting quite a while for the plot to kick in and it was maybe halfway in that relevant things started to happen, though I still didn’t care enough.
Let’s talk about the actual story now. Or, you can just look at the themes that FMA has previously explored and watch/read that again. This is one of the major problems with the film. As a FMA fan, this is nothing new. Even in general, this is nothing we haven’t seen before. There are some people being oppressed by the military and they’re forced to live in fear under terrible conditions. Not too different from the Ishbalans. The greedy bad guys want the Philosopher’s Stone for monies and to make the world into what they feel is a better place. It’s up to our heroes to stop them. “Classic filler plot” basically sums up the story to be honest. The plot itself is pretty straightforward barring a few twists that I’m sure many won’t see coming. The biggest “facepalm moment” for me was the end of the final fight. One of the most random “because the plot required it”/deus ex machina moments I’ve seen in a while. More on that later though. Watching how they fight and how it ended really bothered me. There were also plenty of “Oh, that’s convenient” moments throughout the film and unfortunately, they’re pretty in your face. I was near insulted at how “subtle” they were about them too. I’d like to share them with you but you know, spoilers. Even if you’re new to FMA but not new to movie cliches, you shouldn’t find this to be a great piece of work. If you didn’t care about this story though, I still hope it gets you to check out previous works because those are genuinely good and still hold up.
Art: A little aside for a moment. Compared to Brotherhood, I liked the art for the original series better since they looked more straightforward for lack of a better term. There wasn’t anything too strange or different about the way they looked. The faces of the characters looked “sharper” and I was okay with that. I know that both FMA and Brotherhood were made by the same studio and that for Brotherhood, they wanted to mimic the Manga’s art style. I can respect that and have no problem with it as they were making faithfulness a priority in both art style and story (Seriously, lots of respect from me here). I suppose I was just used to the first FMA because it came first and I liked it so much. On the other hand, for both series the animation was fantastic. Things looked good as they happened and the characters were animated very well with little or no loss in art quality.
For this film however, I think the art suffered a lot at times. Sometimes the faces of characters simply looked awful. Most of the time, it was fine but you can tell when the quality goes down. There’s just this inconsistency that keeps coming up. I would expect more from a movie budget. On the other hand, the animation was just okay. Considering the quick chimeras they fight at some points of the film, the fast movements looked well done and exciting. The train fight was very well done and really one of the few highlights of the movie. What I definitely wasn’t a fan of, were the Gurren Lagann shots during fights.
If that wasn’t a proper screenshot of what I’m talking about but you’ve seen Gurren Lagann, then you know what I’m talking about. Plenty of shows have utilized this animation style. The movement might look okay but the art suffers tremendously and I don’t understand why it has to be this way. I suppose the guys doing it like it but I really didn’t care for it at all as it was quite distracting. It felt out of place when used and I didn’t want to be reminded of Gurren Lagann when I’m watching FMA.
Sound: I can’t comment much on the music. While I was watching it, nothing in the soundtrack stood out to me. I also didn’t have an urge to track down the opening or ending song. Just going to give them the benefit of the doubt here since I can’t judge this area fairly. The voice acting is fine (Watched the Japanese version) since it’s the same cast as FMA Brotherhood and I don’t think anyone could find them awful after so many performances. The two filler mains have pretty famous voice actors behind them and I was surprised to later find out who they were. For me, they don’t bring in a performance that wowed me but they were fine for the roles they played. Not annoying or horrendous to listen to so I’m good here.
Character: Why were any of the FMA cast even in this film? If you took them out of it and rewrite just a tiny bit the plot could honestly still resolve the same way. I’m all for giving attention to filler characters so they aren’t just throw-away one-shots we don’t care about but there’s no reason to sideline the franchise’s actual stars to do so. Ed and Al play the voice of reason in opposing the use of the Philosopher’s Stone but really, anybody could’ve taken this role. Unfortunately, at the end Ed also has to give heroic speech #2148 while fighting the main villain. I’m reminded of all the times that Naruto and Ichigo have to spend time going through a heroic monologue in the middle of a major fight. FMA is better than this.
Winry – I have nothing against Winry but she didn’t need to be here at all other than because the writers/plot required it. If you’re going to use Winry, make her do something other than fix Ed’s arm during a fight. That’s all she does here. If the writers didn’t make Ed’s arm break, she had no business being in this film. We don’t need Ed’s arm to break to indicate that the villain is strong. In FMA and Brotherhood, her character had things to do other than being a mechanic and that’s what made her different from the usual useless female that’s just in the show. Here, she’s written into the film purely as a fanservice.
Roy – I’m pissed. If there’s going to be any bias from me, it’s here. To start, he shows up early on in the film so they establish that he’s there. Great, now I have something to look forward to. Guess what? He doesn’t do anything. He shows up at the final fight, I see him put on his gloves and I’m like “This is it!”. He doesn’t even participate… All that happens is that after Ed fights the villain a little, they cut to Mustang with some burned chimera on the floor who at this point aren’t even a threat. They didn’t even show Roy taking them out. It all happened offscreen. What. The. Hell. Despite my dislike of why Winry was in the film, her fixing Ed’s conveniently broken arm was far more than anything Mustang did in the whole film. When Mustang showed up in Conqueror of Shamballa, that was a big highlight for many. He did plenty to help and that was great. He had a place in the film because he did what soldiers with guns couldn’t do, blow stuff up. And really, in a filler film where they have freedom with the characters, that’s not too much to ask for. If you’re going to put them in, make them do something.
Everyone else – Armstrong makes a cameo just to whisper something in Mustang’s ear, useless. Hawkeye has one bad “comedic” gun scene, useless. That’s pretty much it for the characters we know and love. Anyone new to FMA would have no idea the importance of these four characters in the original story. As much as I like these characters, if they were going to be treated like this, I would rather they not be in the film at all. It would honestly be for the good of the film since whoever decided to make these choices with the characters obviously didn’t care, so why were they in it? I went into the screening not too excited but knowing that these guys were in it raised some expectations which weren’t met in the slightest. I’m pretty sure I’m not in the minority on this.
I didn’t care about the filler characters overall but I guess I should I talk about the obligatory female guest st- I mean main character. I’m sure many who see this find her to be a good character and all but I’m not a fan. Sure, she had some moments that one might classify as badass but I question a lot of her decisions. Her main goal is to save her people from the military using the Philosopher’s Stone despite Ed and Al’s objections that getting involved with the Stone is a no-no. Real-life examples right in front of her with how they messed up their bodies. This becomes a matter of temptation, a major theme in the FMA universe sprinkled all across the series. Later, she gets the Philosopher’s Stone (not really a spoiler, you know the stone’s going to come up) after watching the villain keep it in his hand to amplify his alchemic abilities. What does she decide to do? Does she decide to not use it, toss it to Ed and learn a lesson about fighting temptation? Does she do that? No, she eats it… which when done previously by other characters in the main series causes them to vomit and stuff. Good thing the plot conveniently doesn’t let that happen here. There is no way she would know that eating it is any better than keeping it in hand like the villain did. Anyway, she participates in a crossfire of alchemic beams with the villain which is reminiscent of the final scene when Gohan was fighting Ce- Wait a minute, that’s not how they usually fight in FMA at all. In FMA, fights are generally decided by skill and wits, not clashing alchemic beams… Then she wins thanks to [insert generic kizuna/nakama/main character power] reason. Not because of any well thought out reason, just another cliche. The end of the film results in her using the Stone to save her people and etc. with an overall minimal cost compared to the payoff. So, what lesson did we learn? Don’t listen to warnings and do whatever? Using this character they have spit on a pretty crucial theme in FMA and that bothers me because I feel FMA is smarter than this.
They’re pretty in your face with who the bad guys are. One of the military guys looked like FMA’s Yoki, stroking his thin upper lip hair. I wonder if he was a villain? Then, if we didn’t already know the FMA military was corrupt, they shove it in your face. Including the Yoki guy, the military is once again keeping people down. This plot has been done to death. Where’s the effort? The motivations for the valley people to do what they do is understandable as they’re living under the military’s control but again, I’ve seen this a million times so I could care less. Some of the villagers die during parts of the movie, maybe one or two with names. They have a cremation and such but I felt like the plot was revolved around them to make the audience feel sad and sorry for these near nameless characters. Offscreen deaths of characters who aren’t established properly or named for the most part aren’t going to make me care any more than when a Jedi Council member died in Star Wars Revenge of the Sith.
Enjoyment: Not much. I was expecting something while sitting through the exposition and boring scenes and I got nothing. One of my friends fell asleep. I am severely disappointed and I hope that this will be the last one they make unless the original author writes it or the people who pitch it actually care about what they’re working with. Conqueror of Shamballa was not much better but it was far better than this. Lesser of two evils since I can sit through that one again. I’ll probably never watch this film again unless I was going to make a commentary/parody of it. Whoever was in charge of this film forgot why people like FMA: the well-done and unique story, smart and memorable characters, and their interactions. I usually hate character fanservice and pandering to the audience but this film REALLY needed some. If there was some effort put into writing a good story like we’re used to in FMA, I wouldn’t be asking otherwise. In this case however, having Mustang and Armstrong blow stuff up would’ve been more than welcome despite being shameless. I’m not asking for these two to take down the main villain but even a little more than what we got would’ve been nice. FMA has such a colorful cast of characters and they’re side characters in their own film.
I could easily come up with ideas for a FMA film if it had to be filler. Why couldn’t we get a look at Xing? As far as I know, we’ve never seen the place and those characters made a big impact in the main story. Make one of the clans corrupt if you need an enemy. No different from the usual making of filler villains. The Xing characters have their share of fans so this could be a draw for people to see the film. Since they already established things for an epilogue at the end of Brotherhood, let’s see it through. It would be interesting to see how our heroes now spend their days. Or make the story take place before Hughes died. I would’ve loved to see more Hughes. Are these the best ideas? No. Will there still be some cliches? Probably, but the point is these premises are interesting and have qualities to draw people in. The trailer didn’t really have any “awesome” to point out. I’m sure everyone has their share of ideas that would beat this no contest. Filler doesn’t have to be bad, especially if you have good characters to carry it. Since this film had to be filler, they had a lot of freedom and they just didn’t care, much like Naruto and Bleach fillers/movies. I’m hoping FMA doesn’t become one of the many franchises that will continue to be exploited for no reason other than because we can and monies. If they stopped making FMA after Brotherhood, I’d be okay with that as a fan because it had a good run. Brotherhood should be remembered as a well done story and a very faithful adaptation where the effort was clearly seen, something that doesn’t come up often these days in Anime adaptations. This is a blatant blemish on an otherwise good record like Cars 2 for Pixar.
Was there anything I liked about the film? At best I thought the train fight at the beginning was exciting and well done. That’s about it. I would like to think that the film had potential if it was handled better and there are so many easy ways to improve it. It just unfortunately falls flat and rolls into a lump of cliches which the film could do without if a little thought was put into it. A couple of the twists I can see many people not expecting which might be fun for them but unfortunately, I could predict a lot of them. If you have a masked guy that only shows up for a movie with a self-contained cast, you’re going to guess who he is. Unless, well… this.
There was also this one scene that I almost couldn’t handle and nearly turned away. No, this wasn’t because of how bad the film was but more that the “gore” (for lack of a better word) level was too much. It was far more than you’d expect from FMA and since like many other things I’ve omitted, it’s a spoiler so I won’t go into detail. However, if after this review you still decide to watch this, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Watch with care… Couldn’t they have found a different way to do this scene…? FMA isn’t exactly for a young audience but this was too much. Seriously guys…
Overall: I cannot believe that this is close to surpassing Conqueror of Shamballa while there still isn’t a home release. I am hoping that when this film gets a wide release, everyone will see how bad it is. Mustang bias aside, you can’t include these great characters in a film, not do anything with them and expect fans to be silent. I don’t use the word often, but these guys must be trolls. Check out this interview with the director.
He didn’t give anything close to a response about Mustang’s “involvement”. It seemed like an obvious thing to him that fans would be mad about everything that Mustang didn’t get to do. He doesn’t even TRY to explain himself. All he does is dodge the question by telling us something obvious. When asked about other FMA countries and the manga’s ending, he just dodges it by saying that’s the original creator’s department. What?! Ask the author? No, we’re asking YOU. Did you really think that those wouldn’t be good ideas for a filler story? If he at least said that the creator wouldn’t let them use those, fine but that’s not what happened at all so guess who I’m not siding with? According to Anime News Network, the guy who wrote the screenplay has only previously worked on Doraemon. Come on… is that the guy who you’d count on to write an FMA film following the quality of Brotherhood? Let me just say I have nothing against the guy but it does seem to be a questionable choice when the only other Anime he’s worked on was Doraemon. At least we learn from the link that FMA’s creator had nothing to do with the story. I would feel even worse if she did and lose a lot of respect for her. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this film to anyone, not even FMA fans. It was a big letdown but I’m sure dvd sales and box office will be as good as ever so the movie makers won’t care. But if you haven’t seen/read anything FMA before, check out anything else besides this movie. FMA is something that can easily stand the test of time and is much better than a lot of things being put out these days.
As a fan of FMA I wanted to give my honest thoughts about the film because I walked out of it disappointed and mad. Again, one of the people I saw this with fell asleep… The plot holes, repetitiveness/reuse of plotlines, boring and cliche story, villains with no dimension, blatant ignoring of actual FMA characters who were in the film anyway for no reason, unnecessarily random and over the top “gore” scene, unreasonable runtime for what’s in the film, and lack of FMA-ness killed it for me. It just didn’t bring anything new to the table because while cliche stories can be done well or presented in a new way, that didn’t happen here. It’s all about the execution guys.
Thanks for reading my review. I know this was a long one. I would appreciate feedback if you have any.
”Full Metal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos” – based on the acclaimed manga – is no exception. It’s a forgettable if somewhat serviceable adventure flick with some exciting action sequences and a lacking story. No different from the dozens of other films of this type.
It’s a shame, considering the plot showed promise; but it’s all pulled off too clumsily to ever turn into a satisfying experience.
The biggest problem is that the writing is sloppy. The guest stars (ie. characters exclusive to the movie) and central conflict are introduced in a hasty manner. The main antagonists in particular are too vaguely established to ever feel like a genuine threat, and that’s not getting into the fact that some of their actions end up feeling counterproductive or that there’s nothing stopping them before the Elric brothers arrive. Speaking of which, those two really feel like empty shells of themselves. Al feels more like a living plot device while Ed is relegated to being a generic action hero. Worse yet is that they shoehorn in fan favorites like Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye only to have their involvement amount to nothing. What the hell, Bones?
Meanwhile, the more successful elements (like the interesting setting) are underdeveloped or feel repackaged from the main series. The one exception being female lead Julia Crichton, who consistently plays an active role and has a solid character arc that mirrors the Elrics’ in a cool manner.
Other positives are that the movie is solid in the audiovisual department. Though the offbeat animation style during fight scenes (reminiscent of ”Gurren Lagann” and ”Tetsuwan Birdy Decode”) might rub some people the wrong way. There’s also a conspicuous amount of still frames for an anime movie, though that’s probably the price to be paid for going all-out during the elaborate action sequences.
Despite some good points, ”The Sacred Star of Milos” is simply lacking when compared to its pedigree. Full Metal Alchemist has, in all its incarnations, garnered a large following because it’s always pushed the envelope for what a fighting shounen can be. This film simply can’t match up to that legacy.
8: KanColle Movie
English: Fleet Girls Collection KanColle Movie Sequence
Japanese: 劇場版 艦これ
MAL Score: 7.51
The movie starts off after the events of Episode 3, when Kisaragi had sunk. The Mikawa Fleet (Furutaka, Aoba, Kako, Kinugasa and Tenryuu) are in the middle of Night Battle. Choukai uses Searchlight and gets medium damage, but they win in the end. A New Fleet Girl gets “dropped”, emerging from the sea. It is Kisaragi. Kisaragi is brought back to the temporary base in Solomon Islands, but she is suffering from PTSD and has amnesia, unable to remember anyone from back in the anime, excluding Mutsuki…
now I’ll try to be as spoiler free as possible but there may be some spoilers so be careful.
So the movie takes place at the Iron Bottom Sound and Fubuki and the gang led by Nagato (Teitoku is somewhere else) have to investigate the strange crimson sea of the iron bottom sound. Basically it’s the battles of Solomon.
The movie also reveals secrets of the kanmusu and the abyssals and their relationship. They even show how drops work with the drop of a certain kanmusu after a battle. The movie also shows why Fubuki is so important even though in actual history, she didn’t really do anything great.
The animation was great with many of the new Kanmusu (Chokai, Tenryuu, Kako, Furutaka, Kinugasa, Aoba) having good parts in the action. Ships that didn’t have much time to shine in action during the anime like Yuudachi and Yamato each had some great action scenes as well. There is also more much less of the Cg and everyone moved like how you expected them to move. Compared to the anime the action is much more fluid with many awesome scenes.
Many different Kanmusu have made cameos and if you listened carefully you could here them talking in the background in some scenes.
Now the story itself might be met with mixed reviews. I won’t say anything about it but some people might not like certain events. The story is mainly quite serious with only bits of slice of life. I personally found the story to be quite interesting as it helped with concluding Fubuki’s story.
Overall it was quite an enjoyable experience and I can safely recommend the movie to anyone who likes Kancolle. I also recommend people who didn’t like the anime to watch this as it fixes a lot of problems the anime had.
Kantai Collection’s anime series was iffy but not outright horrible for the most part, being either too unfocused with it’s comedically overbloated slice of life episodes to being confused in terms of plot direction as well as it’s CGI not up to snuff…however LA still liked Kantai Collection’s anime series for two reasons…..Kongou and the anime’s “attempt” in trying world building for a web browser game anime adaptation.
So what’s Kantai Collection’s movie about?…after the events of the anime series, the Fleet Girls hear an eerie voice in Ironbottom Island and within this island starts spreading corroding discolored waters, thus the Fleet Girls must figure out what or who and how to stop this, with Fubuki being mysteriously linked to all this.
Kantai Collection’s movie right from the offset ticked many of LA’s boxes of how to do an anime movie correctly, from now upgraded and far more detailed animation to the mere fact that this movie makes callbacks to the anime that becomes one of the primary focus to this movie. Best yet is that the movie manages to redeem what world building the anime series did especially when concerning the odd “hope” or “fate” that appeared in the anime series as well as the Abyssal Vessels themselves are looked upon.
Kantai Collection’s movie character focus are towards three characters, Fubuki, Mutsuki and Kaga for the most part. Kaga’s focus helps immensely with world building of this movie, Mutsuki helps with the emotional side of the movie especially when one character who we thought sunk in the anime series comes back and this brings in Mutsuki’s emotional clutch to the movie. Fubuki helps with the goal-orientated plotline for this movie mainly to do with Ironbottom Island and the voice that keeps calling out to her. To be fair this format of having three simultaneous plotliines linked to three characters is good for plot progression.
For the minor characters, they are essentially supporting characters and the MANY MANY characters have a chance to shine as well as bringing us tension if some of our favourite characters might sink or kicks Abyssal butt. LA’s favourite character from Kantai Collection easily goes to Kongou (she’s in LA’s Favourite characters!) however she has a shorter screentime which LA gets, the movie is much more serious, plot focused and intense than the anime series so LA could see her screentime slimmed down, HOWEVER Yamato (LA’s second favourite character in the series) got a bit more of the spotlight from this movie and her being badass so LA is completely ok with that.
Kantai Collection’s movie does imply something with it’s Abyssal Vessel and Fleet Girls lore and the world building this movie implemented and by the finale of the movie goes full lotus eating machine on us. Nonetheless Kantai Collection’s anime series hinted at this but the movie outright brings this up and makes an interesting notion of the Abyssal Vessels from the web browser games and just the notion of “enemies” in general have, the movie basically saying that the enemies we fight are not just a targets or points, they too have a goal not just as an enemy but as a “character” and they are more tragic characters than the “evil enemies we have to fight just..because” which is easily manifested in Fubuki’s end goal “villain” though they leave this notion up in the air by the end of this movie however LA thinks that’s the point, character-wise and sequel-wise.
The animation once again done by diomedea as LA mentioned is definitely a step above from the anime series, from really detailed and consistent animation with diomedea finally doing many of the naval battle skirmishes beautifully and gloriously fluid and action-heavy, best yet is that the CGI is now integrated to it’s traditional animation, though sometimes the CGI are shown at times but not as blatant as the anime series. Either way, LA can see that diomedea step up their game for this movie and it god damn shows.
Now voice acting…Jesus who to start?…Yuka Iguchi as Kaga, Rina Hidaka as Mutsuki and Sumire Uesaka as Fubuki were great however here comes the most obvious MVP of Kantai Collection’s movie…Ayane Sakura voicing SIX characters, they being Jintsuu, Mutsu, Nagato, Naka, Sendai and Shimakaze all with differing accents and voices. Though Ayane Sakura takes the easy MVP seiyuu for this movie, LA’s favourite voice actor for this movie however would actually go to Rina Hidaka however if only because she goes into more of the emotional range her characters goes through helped. LA just wished Kongou had more screentime…then LA could had easily put Nao Touyama in LA’s favourite voice actor in this movie.
So yeah, if it isn’t blindingly obvious, Kantai Collection’s Movie is another breath of fresh air when it comes to anime movies for LA, having this movie tie back to the anime series as well as focus on plot points brought up from the anime series and give us an original story in the process, NO anime movie-only character schthick, no recapping wasting time instead this movie getting straight to the action and as such progressing the plot forward instead of being a one-off instance (with it’s world building and character development) and the most obvious reason being that the movie outdid the anime series in many differing aspects from the plot to characters all under 90 minutes, all this is seriously how you get into LA’s best standards in making an anime movie and Kantai Collection’s movie succeeded impressively.
If this is the plot and character direction the Kantai Collection media is going, then LA will be quite interested in how Kantai Collection Zoku-hen will lead to…
Hopefully with more Kongou…
Story 8/10 : I found the story to be pretty well written, although nothing out of the ordinary. Yes it’s about what happened to Kisaragi but like my main thesis said, the movie was just so short falling in at an hour and thirty that it couldn’t get all the details out.
Art 8/10 : The art was pretty good for CG 2017. It’s still similar to the anime version but just slightly improved, nothing much of a difference here.
Characters 7/10 : The character’s were memorable to me but this could be a different statement for someone else. We still have most of the same characters returning from the original anime in the movie. Although we have some additional characters starring such as Amatsukaze, Choukai, etc. I noticed though they got little screen time in the time the movie had. Not too much of a vast improvement here.
Enjoyment 8/10 : I really enjoyed this movie since it followed up from the anime pretty well. Some plot holes were covered up and we got to see new characters that people wanted to see. Could use improvement though.
Overall 8/10 : I would most likely give this movie a 7/10 but the budget I heard wasn’t too much so the people who had to do this did what they could which I can understand so I’ll bump it up to an 8/10. Well done movie, but could use more length to it.
TL;DR : Watch the movie if you enjoyed the series, plot holes fixed, continuation, although short.
7: Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho
English: The Place Promised in Our Early Days
MAL Score: 7.52
Hiroki Fujisawa and Takuya Shirakawa harbor admiration for two things in their life: their classmate Sayuri Sawatari and the vast Ezo Tower that stands boundlessly across the Tsugaru Strait. Fascinated by the limitless structure beyond their reach, Hiroki and Takuya begin constructing an aeroplane from a fallen drone they discovered—naming it the Bella Ciela—to fulfill their dream of one day reaching the sky-scraping top of the tower. Later joined by the girl they love, Hiroki and Takuya promise Sayuri to fly with her to the seemingly otherworldly top together. However, Japan has suffered a North-South partitioning that has fueled conflict near the base of the tower, which marks the border between the America-controlled Southern islands and the Northern lands occupied by the Soviet Union.
Further along, Sayuri suddenly disappears, and Hiroki and Takuya never see her again. Unbeknownst to them, she fell victim to a sleeping disorder that left her comatose for the past three years. Although Hiroki and Takuya later learn about Sayuri’s condition, they also discover that the girl’s unconscious state is oddly linked to the same tower the trio had promised to conquer together.
The characters in The Place Promised are fantastic, deep and lifelike. Note the latter; they’re lifelike. They’re just normal kids going through all this, and that helps you to connect with them, you feel like you want them to achieve their dream from the bottom of your heart.
The artwork is a marvel. I’m completely astounded by its quality, especially the lighting and shading, which helps set the tone of the movie; calm, yet dramatic. Background artwork and overall quality are both top-level, so that alone is something to look forward to.
The music is pretty good; some sad and becalming themes blends right into the whole tone of the movie, and they are overall very good.
I enjoyed the movie a great lot, especially because of how you connect with the characters, but also because it presents a mood that is very sad, yet calm. Everything was so peaceful, I felt, even during the short action-packed scenes, and the final scene of the movie was very becalming and very peaceful.
To ‘Not ‘ voters (and you ” voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =)
Story: Just like Voices in a Distant Star and 5 Centimeters Per Second, this is a story about 2 people and their distances. Unlike Voices where their distance is that of time and space, Place Promised is about their distance across dimensions/dreams/reality. What I like about this concept is how well Shinkai presented it. Sayuri (our heroine) is physically in the world, but spiritually trapped in another. It is very touching to see Hiroki (our hero) search for Sayuri knowing that she is very close yet at the same time very far away from him. While the whole together->separation->search part of the story exciting to watch, the sci-fi/war part felt a little boring. I can understand having that part in the story since we are dealing with the concept dimensions, but it felt a little out of place and it took away from the whole experience.
Animation: This is one of the stronger points in this movie. The animation is absolutely gorgeous. There are two things that make this movie incredibly beautiful. The first is the background and the use of colors. The background really speaks to you with its detail and vibrant colors. You can really feel the depth and it is really moving. The other part of the animation that makes it gorgeous is the lighting effects. It is carefully used to emphasize those “key” moments in the movie. It really gives you one of those “whoa” moments where it pushes you back into your seat.
Sound: Tenmon is a genius. In order to bring out the emotions of a movie, the BGM is key and Tenmon delivers. The BGM is beautiful and fun to listen to. Also, the score played by Hiroki and Sayuri on the violin is incredible. The only thing lacking in the sound department is an amazing theme song. Kimi no Koe feels a little weak in comparison to the BGM and it failed to capture my attention.
Character: There is nothing really special about the main characters. You can say that they’re normal. But perhaps thats the appeal of it. Watching these kids grow and become more resolve is an enriching experience. There is nothing special about the supporting characters as well.
Overall, it was a very good movie and an excellent follow up to Voices. I am definitely looking forward to finishing up 5cm per Second.
My initial impression was, ohh pretty. The animation was fantastic; everything was clean, crisp, and vivid. Although, sometimes a bit too clean, crisp, and vivid. This is especially true for the interior backgrounds. I think of a brand new shinny kitchen appliance with I see some of the interior backgrounds. However, the "nature" shots didn’t give me that impression. Overall, the animation was very beautiful and well done.
As for the music….well it was pretty good, as expected of Tenmon however, it really didn’t stand out.
The rest however, doesn’t really fare as well. As I watching I couldn’t help get the feeling that he was trying to do the same thing he did with Hoshi no Koe. Hoshi no Koe was 30 min short exploring the theme of "long distance love." Being a short film it really didn’t have much of a plot, nor did it attempt to. The Place of Promise in our Early Days on the other hand seemed like it was going to explore a theme like Hoshi no Koe did yet the same time try to tell a concrete story. This produced a horribly paced movie. First its going nice and slow producing this calm nostalgic feel. Then things move too fast and you’re wondering what happened. Essentially the pace is too fast and too slow all at once. The movie should have only been 50 minutes at most. Interestingly enough was what was originally planned out to be. I felt this was a very good 50 min OVA, then scenes were made longer and added extra stuff (ie the sci-fi stuff) to make this mediocre 90 min movie.
Because of the lack of focus the characters suffered quite a bit. Their relationships weren’t explored enough nor did I feel there was any depth to them. In addition, I wasn’t convinced of the love between Sayuri and Hiroki. Once again they didn’t spend enough time on the characters.
The Place of Promise in our Early Days is a beautifully animated film with lush and vivid detailed. However, it sometimes suffers from being too clean and vivid, giving it that new shinny kitchen appliance look. The music was excellent but not memorable. The Place of Promise in our Early Days suffer fatally from its poor pacing that makes the movie feel too fast and too slow at the same time.
6: Strike Witches Movie
English: Strike Witches: The Movie
Japanese: ストライクウィッチーズ 劇場版
MAL Score: 7.59
After fending off the threat of a Neuroi invasion of Romagna and destroying the enemy’s nest over Venezia, Yoshika Miyafuji goes back to her home town in the Empire of Fusou. Despite the loss of her magical and healing abilities, the former officer of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing wants to continue studying medicine. This is in order to help those in need, both civilians and those on the front lines alike. She receives an invitation from a prestigious school in Europe and decides to accept the offer, embarking on a journey back to the war-torn continent.
However, a new danger arises, as more and more Neuroi manage to break through human defense lines, appearing unnoticed in supposedly safe areas and disturbing the balance of power in Europe. Yoshiki’s sense of duty collides with her inability to pilot a Striker Unit, but with her friends in peril, it seems that there is only one thing she can do.
Strike Witches revolutionized the “mecha musume” genre of moe anthropomorphism, especially because of the special attention given to the realistic setting of the series. Compared to the futuristic setting of Shimada Humikane’s earlier work Sky Girls, Strike Witches employs World War II era technology and personalities as the basis of its story. In a timeline where Earth’s history is altered because of the invasion of unknown aliens, the total war we know of is re-imagined as a fight between modern witches and the mysterious alien Neuroi.
Following the conclusion of Strike Witches 2, speculation was ripe among fans as to how the story could continue because the series protagonist Miyafuji Yoshika seemed to have lost the major driving force of her character development. It soon became evident that the creators did not intend on taking Miyafuji out of the picture. Strike Witches the Movie opens in August 1945, and the calm that follows the liberation of Venezia (Venice) and Romagna (Italy) mirrors the real world scenario where World War II is nearing its conclusion. Unfortunately for the witches, the Neuroi still remain a formidable enemy, and signs of a new invasion soon begin to appear throughout Europe. In the meantime, Miyafuji travels from her home in the Fuso Empire (Japan) to Helvetia (Switzerland) in order to enroll in a medical school and fulfill her desire to become a doctor.
Viewers are introduced to a new protagonist to the franchise. Hattori Shizuka, a newly minted officer with the Fuso Empire who enters the military with the same enthusiasm as Miyafuji did in early 1944. For Hattori, Miyafuji is the hero of the Fuso Empire who is admired throughout the country, yet Miyafuji does not seem to care for the hierarchical structure and formalities of the military and instead willingly takes up work seemingly unrelated to the fight against the Neuroi. This contradiction presents a conflict for the naïve Hattori, who dreams of the glory of battle described in stories of Miyafuji. In this way, it appears as if Hattori was introduced in order to serve as a foil to Miyafuji; however, viewers soon realize that her stubbornness mirrors that of Miyafuji’s when the latter first entered the military and sought to find her own purpose in the war.
Characters from the earlier television series, especially members of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, return in numerous cameo appearances throughout the movie, guiding Miyafuji and ensuring her safety in the land journey from Gallia (France) to Helvetia. Viewers are also treated with additional appearances of witches in other units throughout Europe who are called into action by the new Neuroi enemy that caught them off guard. While it initially seems as if there are two separate plots in the movie, viewers are reminded that Miyafuji is indeed the main protagonist as the story begins to converge around her.
Strike Witches is known for its impressive mechanical design. Following in the footsteps of the two television series, the movie features World War II military hardware in detail, including the Japanese aircraft carrier Amagi. AIC presents an artistic quality that is above average, and the animation is especially entertaining to watch during aerial combat scenes. Despite the prevalence of low camera angles intended to market its military-girls-in-underwear appeal, these shots are weaved quite well into the combat animation, making them less distracting. If there were any complaints about the art itself, perhaps it is that the theatrical poster does not do enough justice to the quality of the movie.
The soundtrack of the movie does not vary from the television series, and viewers can immediately recognize the trumpet fanfare that has become the signature piece of theme music from Strike Witches. While this can become a point of concern, it can also present the viewer with the an atmosphere that unifies the movie with the two television series. Voice acting of returning characters also does not vary in the movie, but the performance of Uchida Aya as Hattori Shizuka is well deserving of an applause as she captured Hattori’s transformation into a character who begins to understand Miyafuji’s ideals. This is followed by a special ending song which features Hattori’s voice actress in its vocal cast.
If the viewer enjoyed the two television series, they will find the movie even more enjoyable. On the other hand, if the viewer feels that the franchise has become stale without recent developments, the movie can reinvigorate interest. Pacing of the plot is conducted in a balanced way by breaking it up into scenarios that resolve themselves quickly and maintain viewer interest as if discovering local adventures during a road trip through continental Europe.
Hitting on that first note about characters, what I liked most about the movie were the contrasting differences between the two main Witches. While Yoshika easily takes the spotlight by being more capable (and by capable, I mean badass) than she ever was, this movie is just as much about Shizuka, who strives to be like Major Sakamoto: strict, disciplined, and always lives by regulations. It’s only natural; Hattori comes from a family with a strong military background. However, every single time Shizuka tries to do things her way, Yoshika takes over and shows her something she’s not familiar with. Something regulations don’t teach.
If you asked me what Yoshika’s best quality is, it’s that she makes everyone around her better. She’s been doing that since the beginning, and she continues to do it in her latest adventure as Shizuka herself becomes a better Witch by the time the credits roll.
Now, there is a point in the movie that has some people feeling unfulfilled; those who have problems with how the movie turned out – and who actually need an “explanation” as to what happened with Yoshika – really need to understand the relationship between her and Shizuka.
While all of the Witches were awesome in their own right in the movie, I’d like to give a special shout out to Perrine, who was better than ever. Seeing her explaining to Shizuka about why Yoshika does what she does…really hit me hard. In a good way, of course. Looking back to when Perrine used to give our leading lady a hard time when she first became a Strike Witch, and then to see her express genuine feelings in that scene alone was simply amazing.
I certainly can’t write a Strike Witches review without mentioning the fanservice, can I? Well, there really isn’t anything we see in the movie that we haven’t seen in the first two seasons. If you’ve seen them, then you’ll know what to expect. If you want my personal opinion, I’m not against the fanservice, I would rather just like to see it toned down a bit in the future, if it can be helped.
Something that I think everyone here would have enjoyed seeing more of would be Yoshika’s and Shizuka’s mini-adventures through Europe. While the visuals weren’t necessarily breathtaking, they weren’t just “there” either. Seeing some of the vineyards of Gallia was a refreshing view, and really helped bring a sense of detail to the movie.
If there was anything I didn’t like about the movie, it would be the lack of time given to the non-501st Witches. For example, Nipa gives us a quick reference to her pilot archetype (Nils Katajainen), talks briefly with Eila, and that’s about it. Then there’s Heidi, who seemed like she was just there to be moé up until a critical point in the film. I understand there’s a plot that has to be paid attention to, but going back to the very beginning regarding characters, it’s equally important that the movie does all of the Witches justice, not just the 501st Joint Fighter Wing.
Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and – as you can see from my score above – give it a 9 out of 10. The film stayed true to the franchise, and to the delight of fans like myself, has opened the door for more Strike Witches anime. Remember everyone…
…there’s nothing a Witch can’t do!
Strike Witches the movie gives you a chance to see all the old characters, the fun interactions that you want to see again, a new type of neuroi, and a new girl who was sent to get Yoshika and take her to a top medical school where she can do study abroad. The new neuroi causes lots of havoc which is expected and it’s nice to see a new kind instead a recycled old type of neuroi. I don’t always like when shows pull this stuff, but Strike Witches is the very definition of friendship is power. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I recommend watching it. Expect what the series offers you and nothing more. Hope you enjoy it too!
I feel like adding one more thing to my review. This movie also keeps the character driven aspect of the series. Considering most of the mains series was episodic, being character driven is important to keep things interesting. You won’t be disappointed by this aspect in the movie either.
5: Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike
English: Tales of Vesperia ~The First Strike~
Japanese: テイルズ オブ ヴェスペリア
MAL Score: 7.60
Ten years after the Great War against the demon-beasts, the empire rules over the world and prosperity relies on the massive use of aer.
Yuri Lowell and Flynn Scifo are two young men who have just enrolled the ranks of the prestigious Imperial Knights. One day, they are sent to the town of Ceazontania, where abnormal aer activity has reportedly caused the proliferation of horribly mutated beasts, with serious threat for the whole region.
Meanwhile, the Knights Supreme Commander Alexei Denoia and the naive Princess Estellise are involved in a behind-the-curtains struggle for power in the capital. The situation in Ceazontania deteriorates as the garrison of Imperial Knights finds that they cannot expect any immediate support from the capital.
Then, Niren Fedrok, commander of the Imperial Knights in Ceazontania, takes an unexpected decision that is going to change Yuri and Flynn’s destiny forever.
What are the secrets behind the extraordinary events that are happening around Yuri and Flynn? Will they be able to defend the innocent people of Ceazontania and stay true to their beliefs?
However, while outright adaptations are rife, prequels and sequels to games are actually quite rare, and it’s here where Tales of Vesperia ~The First Strike~ separates itself from the horde.
The story takes place a few years prior to the game and follows two of it’s main characters, Yuri and Flynn, during their early careers as knights of the empire in the town of Shizontania. Unfortunately the town isn’t as safe as it used to be, and their captain, Niren Fedrock, suspects greater forces are at work.
One of the criticisms that people may throw at this movie is the fact that it is very open ended, however given that this is nothing more than a prequel to the game, the reason for this is understandable. The story itself is pretty straightforward, with a remarkable lack of convolution that can sometimes appear in game adaptations and spinoffs. The main advantage of this is the fact that it is easier to tie the events in the movie to those in the game, however the downside is that the plot lacks a degree of depth that simply can’t be hidden, which is often the reason why such terrible plot convolutions occur in thefirst place.
Thankfully first time director Kamei Kanta and writer Yoshida Reiko have kept things simple and direct, and because of this Tales of Vesperia actually manages to become interesting to a degree, enough to at least enjoy the movie and maybe consider buying the game (more on this in a bit). The one thing that most surprised me though, is how very different the feel and tone is from the game, and while both have lighter and darker moments throughout their respective stories, there is a certain brevity inherent in the movie that the game lacks, partly due to the RPG nature of the latter, and partly because of the need to wrap the story up within 110 minutes.
Many people will be familiar with the work of Production I.G. and it’s nice to see that they’ve maintained their standards in terms of art and animation.
Maintained though, not bettered.
Overall the show is well put together, with some nicely detailed backgrounds and atmospheric settings thrown into the mix. The characters are modelled along the lines used for the original game for the most part, with the two leads and sundry other characters who appear in both looking pretty much the same. It should be noted though, that there are a number of characters who only appear in the movie (for example, the twin female knights Shastele and Hisuka Aiheap), a fact which may confuse some fans of the game. Be that as it may, in terms of design the movie is pretty solid, however that is as far as it goes because of the design limitations placed upon it by the source material.
One thing I should point is that this movie is far more graphic in its depiction of violence than the game, and doesn’t shy away from some of the more greusome occurences which have only really been shown in a very sanitised manner within the Tales series thus far.
As for the animation, while the majority of the film runs very well there are some scenes where things just feel off kilter. This unfortuantely occurs in several scenes which involve CG animation of some sort, and while the problem isn’t large enough to warrant major criticism, it is noticeable so it bears mentioning.
The sound quality is very good throughout the movie, especially when it comes to choreography. The music is, for the most part, absent from proceedings, however this serves to enhance its effect when it is used. The choice of tracks is also well thought out, and while there is a degree of genericism about those used for dramatic or action scenes, overall the quality of the pieces adds to the scenes.
One point I should mention about the music is the surprising, and pleasing, choice of theme song. Like the original game, the Tales of Vesperia movie has “Ring a Bell” by Bonnie Pink as the title track, a fact which may please fans of the game.
In terms of acting, this film has a big plus in that the characters of Yuri, Flynn, Estellise, Rita and Raven are played by the actors and actressses who took on the roles for the game. This factor adds to the sense of continuity that is needed in any direct prequel or sequel, especially as the seiyuu in the other, movie specific roles are equally as comfortable with their lines as their more experienced colleagues. That doesn’t mean there’s hamming it up, but for those most part the acting is pretty natural and flowing.
The biggest problem with Tales of Vesperia is the characters. Because this is both a movie and a prequel to a larger story, there is little in the way of major development. That said, the two lead characters do grow to a degree, and anyone who has played the game will no doubt find the additional information about them pleasing. However, those who have had neither the opportunity or inclination to play the game will probably find there is a distinct lack in this department.
That’s not to say that the characters are bad though. As a stand alone movie they work fairly well, however the open ended nature of the tale leaves one feeling that more could have been done with the time. In essence, the fact that this is a prequel, something which in terms of plot content is an advantage, becomes a flaw when considering the the characters as they an “unfinished” quality about them comethe end of the film.
Be that as it may, I found that I actually enjoyed the movie, however I should point out that I have completed the game, so for me the additional story was a bonus. Unfortunately, it’s all too possible that many viewers will find this less of an enjoyable experience, mainly because the story is open ended. If one were to be very harsh, then it’s possible to consider the movie as nothing more than a glorified advert for the game. This seems an unfair criticism to me as while there is a clear message to play the game should one wish to complete the tale, the story is original enough to warrant a degree of separation.
The major plus point though, is the fact that the effort has been made to enhance the game’s storyline instead of regurgitating it. That said, making a prequel or sequel doesn’t always work in terms of content (Advent Children – looks awesome, and that’s pretty much it), so it’s nice to see that the main aspects of the tale have only lightly been covered, and that the focus is more about showing where the lead characters came from.
On the whole, Tales of Vesperia ~The First Strike~ is one of those movies that you can’t fully appreciate unless you know the full story, and that’s its biggest flaw. People don’t really want to be burdened with having to complete a game that they may not even be interested in just to find out what happens next, which plays a major part in whether one can enjoy this movie or not. The more rlaxed viewer may not be overly concerned with the lack of a true ending, and the movie does have a good degree of entertainment value in its own right, but in all honesty, this is one for fans of the game and the Tales franchise.
Whatever the opinion though, this movie deserves some credit for being not only a prequel, but an original tale, as it could very well have been just another adaptation.
What amazing luck. I happen to complete the game the same week the movie comes out. This caught me completely by surprise, but I was extremely excited. When I initially started the game, I thought it was a bit corny and maybe even childish, but a few hours in and there was incredible character development and storyline threads stretching across, to the point where I even cared for the villains. Truly an exceptional experience from the game.
If you are a fan of the game, then there’s no doubt you will love this movie. I went in with no expectations, except knowing that it’s a prequel. That being said, I was very impressed by not only the quality of the movie, but the pacing, character development, seamless crossover between the prequel and the original game, while introducing new characters without harming the original.
The story was simple. But very effective. I really enjoyed the Yuri/Flynn bond throughout the game, and it was great seeing the roots of it in this movie, while also getting some more backstory on Flynn’s past. This movie had be laughing at loud at some parts, and crying at others. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, but it was a complete package.
I didn’t feel cheated or upset by the way things were done, in fact, I think many other game to anime adaptions should look at this movie as a role model. Simply perfect.
I really enjoyed it, and I’m certain so will you, perhaps even if you have not played the game. Definitely check this out!
Tales of Vesperia focuses on the world, called Terca Lumireis, which uses an energy source called blastia for all its needs, including creating protective barriers around its cities. The story focuses on Yuri Lowell and Flynn Scifo, two knights who have just joined the Niren Corps, together with two of their senior knights and fellow Corps members. They are sent on a mission to investigate an abnormal activity of aer in the area and to protect its citizens.
Well, this one is quite a challenge to assess. If you forget about the game, which is the direct continuation to this movie and to have a full understanding of the world of Tales Of Vesperia, you will have to play it, Tales of Vesperia ~The First Strike~ is just a beautiful movie, with a likeable cast that gets enough development for one movie, but not as enough as it should be, great OST, with many famous Japanese voice actors, which also has an amazingly heartbreaking storyline. However, if you assess this movie together with the game, Tales of Vesperia is something worthy of being called a masterpiece. While the movie does have a somewhat slow start: where many characters still have not been introduced and you have 0 clue of what is happening, or how this all will end, after having played the game you will understand how beautiful and dramatic Tales of Vesperia really is.
While the main characters both in the game and in the movie do get quite a good development, which is nothing special, to be honest, the supporting cast gets as much development as the main cast. And this is something amazing, Tales of Vesperia has such a big world, with so many heroes and antiheroes and they all have a story to tell. On top of that, you never get tired of them, because they all are so different and this makes your Tales of Vesperia journey even more fun to undertake.
OST and animation wise, taking into consideration the fact that both the game and the movie were made quite some time ago, they have a very enjoyable animation: a very likeable character design and stunningly detailed background, just an eye candy. OST wise, Tales of Vesperia has an amazing OST, which helps you appreciate the series, as well as the game even more. What is more, many characters of Tales of Vesperia were voiced by famous Japanese voice actors: such as Kousuke Toriumi, Mamoru Miyano, Mai Nakahara, Rika Morinaga, and Eiji Takemoto. Yet, both the game and the movie also have quite a good English dub, so it is up to you, which version you would like to check.
With the game: Tales of Vesperia (The Movie) is a prequel, which plays a very important role for the world of Tales of Vesperia and absolutely no doubt about it, it is a pure masterpiece I cannot give anything less than 10/10;
Supposing I had never played the game, Tales of Vesperia (The Movie) is a very weak 8/10.
All in all, it is up to you, if you want to play the game, or not. But this will be worth your while. Do try to find the time for both the movie and the game.
4: Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku
English: The Princess and the Pilot
MAL Score: 7.64
The war between the Levamme Empire and the Amatsukami Imperium has been raging for years. In the midst of this struggle, the prince of the Levamme Empire declares his love for Juana del Moral and vows to end the war in one year, as part of his marriage proposal. When the Amatsukami catch wind of this, they assault the del Moral residence, targeting Juana’s life. As a last ditch effort to bring the prince his bride, the San Maltilia Airforce hires a mercenary of mixed blood—a bestado—to fly Juana to the Levamme capital in secret. The pilot, Charles, accepts the mission…but traversing an ocean alone, into enemy territory, proves a much more dangerous ordeal than anyone could have anticipated.
(Source: NIS America)
This didn’t bore me at all, and in fact, it’s so much more refreshing than most of the anime aired these days. If you are like me, who need occasional breaks from tsundere and yandere girls and harem loving boys, come and watch this please. I wouldn’t call it serious or deep, but it’s real. Yes, it’s real as in, it’s how real people are. I’m not trying to offend quircky and crazy characters or random and insane plot twists. It’s like I said, I need a break sometimes.
I digressed from the review a little bit, but honestly, if I say one little thing about the plot or characters, it’ll basically ruin the series for you, since everything is as straightforward as they can be, and should be in my opinion.
The soundtracks and animation are really good, and the fighting scenes are very well made. It’s like one of those studio ghibli’s works, simple but solid, and in my case, will be remembered fondly.
It was originally published as a single volume light novel in 2008 and was considered a runaway success. Although Inumura Koroku was already writing a different novel series at the time, this novel became his breakthrough and most well-known work. Inumura left such an impression on his readers that the novel reached tenth place in the annual “Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi!”, or “This Light Novel is Amazing!”, poll conducted on the Internet. It spawned a subsequent “Hikuushi” series which encompasses two additional spin-off series of the same “Toaru Hikuushi e no” title.
There are a number of predictable formulas for characters involved in forbidden love. In this case, we are introduced to mercenary pilot Charles Karino and Juana del Moral, fiancée of the crown prince of a powerful empire. Their story and the conflict that is in their hearts are set within a greater conflict: relentless warfare between two neighboring empires. The conditions also beg of the question of whether it is right to sacrifice a world’s peaceful future for the selfish desires of two people. The juxtaposition of these two elements presents a love story that is timeless and refreshing. While it is something we’ve read before in stories like “Romeo and Juliet”, the tale does not fall into the trap of creating a predictable ending, but rather an inevitable one. In fact, when the reader begins to understand the fate of the two characters, he or she can still be impressed by the way their relationship is developed.
With the story focused on only two noteworthy characters, it can be easy to assume that watching their interaction will boring. On the other hand, one can easily empathize with the strong feelings of the characters. Each time pilot and princess are torn between duty and personal affection, even the reader feels can feel torn as to which decision they should make. One can sense that the two are close in their hearts, yet a gap as wide as an ocean separates their conscience. As both characters begin to open up to the feelings of each other, we become more invested in their relationship.
Madhouse presents its viewers with an artistic presentation that is both appropriate and experimental. Heavy use of the color blue is obvious from the theatrical poster alone as it represents the vastness of both the sky and the ocean. It does not, however, drown out the other colors that are also presented, and certain environmental details make this anime movie as realistic as possible. Madhouse also presents a sound mechanical design for aircraft technology in the film. Aerial combat is presented with great detail in the movement of each airplane as if one were watching a World War II reel, complemented by a rich portfolio of sounds that realistically replicates an propeller airplane’s engine.
While the film’s soundtrack may not be very memorable, Niizuma Seiko presents us a touching theme song with lyrics that reflect the longing of both characters. As an ending theme, it provides an appropriate closure for a story with mild pacing. Conflicts in the plot came at the appropriate times and keep the viewer interested through a film that could easily have bored viewers if done improperly because of its length.
“The Princess and the Pilot” is a simple story set in a rich universe that shines through the human interaction that is neither exaggerated nor lacking. While it can be enjoyed as a standalone work, reading the novel will also present a richer understanding of the distance that separates Charles and Juana and the affection that binds them.
3: Toshokan Sensou: Kakumei no Tsubasa
Japanese: 図書館戦争 革命のつばさ
MAL Score: 7.78
Kasahara Iku and Dojo Atsushi receive an emergency recall in the middle of their date as Japan is rocked by a terror attack. Their new duty is a protection detail assigned to Touma Kurato, an author. Meanwhile, the relationship between Librarians and the Media Purity Committee is also worsening.
While this movie does explain the major plot points of the anime series and features a standalone story that can be enjoyed by anyone, it is still a direct sequel. You’ll get the most out of this movie if you’re familiar with the characters and their relationships with each other.
So how does this compare with the original anime series? The feel is more or less the same, though it’s great to see the story play out with Production I.G.’s top-notch animation. Some scenes, particularly the chase scene and the climax, stand out quite well because of the dynamic sense of movement and detail in the backgrounds, and the romantic moments are portrayed with great use of lighting and atmosphere.
The plot, too, is what you would expect from the Library Wars setting. Our heroes Iku and Dojo are charged with protecting an elderly writer from the heinous clutches of the Media Betterment Committee. The story is well-paced from start to finish and moves along briskly, not even dragging in the middle part where the action is slow.
It’s interesting how at one point in the movie Iku admits to being more interested in characters and forgetting the overall plot whenever she reads books – this is precisely how I feel about Library Wars as a whole. The setting is still ridiculous and the villains are never really given an identity or a proper motivation, but the characters are so down-to-earth and charming that it is hard to focus on the flaws. Library Wars treats its unbelievable setting with seriousness and dignity, but it is hard to believe the characters are ever in any real danger even as the bullets fly. Even so, it’s so easy to root for the characters and to cheer for Iku when she displays her boundless courage. To be able to pull this off without much serious dramatic tension takes some great writing.
The movie will probably best appeal to romance fans who enjoy a bit of action here and there. Picking up directly where the series left off, Iku and Dojo’s newly discovered intimacy lies at the very heart of the story. It inspires Iku in particular to be braver, and the influence is always felt while never feeling overstated. It is not a particularly deep love story but it works in this movie in particular because of how grounded the interactions are in the characters and their idiosyncrasies.
Library Wars is an underappreciated gem of a series and it is a shame the movie has not seemed to have gotten the exposure it deserves. While the setting might not get the closure it deserves by the end, the characters certainly do. It’s definitely worth your time to check out, both for newcomers and veterans to the franchise. It’s easy to watch and the characters are fun. There’s really not that much more we can ask for in a story.
This movie was incredibly fun to watch and there was a lot of emotional moments especially (Without giving too much away) near the end of the film. It’s one of those movies that give your soul a bit of “boost” (Sorry if that sounds corny) and makes you feel happy after watching it.
While certain things are easy to predict in this series, it’s done in a way that still leaves you curious about things and this causes one to continue on with the series despite situational irony. While the main focus is events that occur in the library and protecting books, the drama and dark aspects of these concepts are lightened by giving you breaks in the story so that you can see the relationships the characters have with each other outside of work and how the things actually affect them- as emotion cannot rule when they are right in the middle.
I found while looking through the books, that the ideas presented in this story are actually highly relevant to today’s society- governments and certain citizens are fighting to censor certain things from the general public because they feel that these things are dangerous to society. There are people who fight back against this censorship with the argument that we choose our own actions. Censorship becomes a bigger issue each year and this story proves that when taken too far, the consequences can become dire, requiring drastic measures to try to fix the damage that has been done.
The relevance to today is amazing, especially when coupled with how the anime was created. The art is great- it doesn’t make the characters look too cartoonish and it also doesn’t make them look too adult or real. The art helps lighten up the story with how amazing the expressions have been drawn- you can almost see EXACTLY what the characters are thinking. The anime also stayed true to the story presented by Hiro Arikawa- sensei; it was not embellished or drastically changed from what it is. If you are a person who prefers accuracy to the manga or original form, Library Wars is a GREAT example of that.
Despite knowing what was going to happen, when I watched this I was riveted and intrigued. The way the characters interact is engaging and amusing and if you haven’t read the story, you will be surprised because somethings you just CAN’T expect!
No matter what genre you enjoy, if you’re looking for a great story with engaging, amusing characters, and plot twists that will make you go back to watch again, I DEFINITELY recommend this one!
MAL Score: 8.16
Japan, 1988. An explosion caused by a young boy with psychic powers tears through the city of Tokyo and ignites the fuse that leads to World War III. In order to prevent any further destruction, he is captured and taken into custody, never to be heard from again. Now, in the year 2019, a restored version of the city known as Neo-Tokyo—an area rife with gang violence and terrorism against the current government—stands in its place. Here, Shoutarou Kaneda leads “the Capsules,” a group of misfits known for riding large, custom motorcycles and being in constant conflict with their rivals “the Clowns.”
During one of these battles, Shoutarou’s best friend Tetsuo Shima is caught up in an accident with an esper who finds himself in the streets of Tokyo after escaping confinement from a government institution. Through this encounter, Tetsuo begins to develop his own mysterious abilities, as the government seeks to quarantine this latest psychic in a desperate attempt to prevent him from unleashing the destructive power that could once again bring the city to its knees.
Akira is a very controversial piece of art—but a remarkable one regardless. It’s not an easy watch by any means, nor it is an easy review subject: the ambition and influence exerted by the movie and its creators make grasping and appraising it in its entirety far from trivial. As virtually every other seminal work of art, Akira is nowhere near flawless, hence why many people don’t even consider it a good movie—what with all the gratuitous bloodbath, plot holes, odd side-characters and whatnot—just read some other reviews here. A good bulk of the criticism is valid for sure. But what do we have beside it?
Allow me to get the bad out of the way: if there is a particular aspect where Akira is teetering on the edge of failure in my opinion, it’s the fact that Katsuhiro Otomo chose to stuff an elaborate story encompassing almost 2000 pages’ worth of his original manga into barely two hours of screen time. This lead to a significant degree of screenplay butchering and stunted character development that visibly skips important steps all too often. Would an OVA or a multi-part feature-length movie work better? Who knows! Thankfully, what remains is still above what we tend to get in the science fiction action movie genre even these days, and to be fair it contributes heavily to the re-watch potential. In fact, I would recommend watching Akira again, given some time—you will most likely notice some details you ended up missing the first time owing to the breakneck pacing. Personally, I find myself re-watching it every couple years, and despite almost having learned it by heart already, it’s very hard to stop myself once I get going. It’s just too awesome, and the sheer delivery of some of the pivotal scenes still—some 30 years since its release!—remains at the pinnacle of animated cinematography.
On this note, I’d also like to point out Otomo’s setting: although Akira is set in the (not-too-distant) future, it is remarkably unappealing and free of the rampant techno-fetishism (aside from *that one bike*) and uncharacteristically rich aesthetics often seen in works of dystopian fiction. It’s all about the everyday soot, grit, and dirt; it’s filled with biker gangs, corrupt politicians, and radical groups trying to drag each other down. Everyone is miserable in their own way. The core plot revolves around a post-WWIII secret military experiment program to manifest, magnify, and control latent psychic powers; the experiments in question partially lead to the WWIII in the first place and went awry a few too many times. The social, political and scientific (borderline mystical) aspects mix and intertwine as a couple of rebellious teenagers accidentally get involved in the whole mess. There are no heroes or winners in this story, only casualties—but that’s also what makes the ending so moving and ultimately uplifting.
I’m sure I don’t have to point out the quality of the art and the animation in particular—everyone has already done so many times over—it’s still a globally recognized milestone in animation and the first Japanese movie to rival the production values of Western studios like Disney’s, and it stands tall even among the high-budget anime movies of today. The attention to detail, the complete lack of filler shots to pad the length, and the exemplary way the animation is used to convey impact yet again contribute to the high re-watch potential. This is a master class on animation; everyone even remotely associated with the industry would benefit greatly from watching and studying Akira: from the technical perspective, it stands the test of time remarkably—perhaps only one-upped by the likes of Redline (2009) and Otomo’s own second megaproject Steamboy (2004). Also of note is the fact that Akira pioneered lip-syncing character dialogue—typically characters are animated first; then voices are recorded, which often results in audiovisual incongruity. But Otomo was intent on using the high budget he was provided with to do things right even if it broke the industry conventions.
That said, many people complain about the character designs, and it’s easy to tell why: they are remarkably unappealing—everyone has small eyes, the guys are borderline ugly, and there’s not a single hot waifu in sight—to the dismay of a modern anime fan pampered by omnipresent moe. Personally, I find this aesthetic charming and a perfect fit for the gloomy setting. It makes way more sense to me than seeing e.g. the likes of Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road. I like that movie to bits, but come on: no amount of dirt smeared over her face is going to hide its gorgeous features. It looks silly and out of place when it doesn’t have to—proper character designs should reflect their environment, not contradict it. But if I were to name an actual problem with Akira’s designs in particular, it’s that facial variety isn’t Otomo’s strongest suit, leading to a lot of similarity between characters’ faces across Akira’s cast as well as Otomo’s other works. Then again, the same could be said about Hayao Miyazaki.
In terms of sound design, Akira makes remarkably good use of being silent a good portion of the time. This is an approach modern filmmakers very unjustly tend to ignore, eager to fill every scene with music that’s often too expressive for the purpose, rendering the sound stage into cacophony and contributing to mental fatigue. When sounds do play in Akira, they’re always highly dynamic and spot-on. Most of the soundtrack is dominated by sparse industrial beats overlayed with ethnic motifs and chants, and is intended to set the ambiance for visuals, further enhancing their impact. The score is composed and performed by Geinoh Yamashirogumi—a unique performance collective consisting of hundreds of members from all ages and professions that mostly have nothing to do with music (seriously, look them up). And good lord it is a massive score! Tetsuo’s hospital hallucination theme, Dolls’ Polyphony, never fails to give me the shivers when I so much as *think* about it. And when I watch it in-context on a good sound system, it just blows my mind. This, my friends, is how to do it right!
I tend to be very conservative when giving out 10s for anime as you can tell by my list (of which barely 1% ends up in that bracket), but after all these years, Akira remains among the very few titles that feel deserving of this high mark, and it is one I keep returning to when I need to cleanse my palate after the onslaught of stale shounen cliches, cardboard moe blobs, terminally shy schoolchildren, and science fiction that fails equally at the science and fiction parts. Akira combines visceral, high-octane action with an uncharacteristically cathartic resolution—I couldn’t have asked for more. Even if flawed, it certainly remains a timeless masterpiece and deserves a watch—regardless of whether you are an anime fan or a regular moviegoer. Sure, there have been many pieces released in the past 30 years that are arguably more enjoyable or more competently done, and it’s not like Akira has to be the be-all, end-all of any specific entertainment category you put it in. But even as more and more works surpass it in particular respects, Akira stays the Colossus of Rhodes of the anime industry, representing a monumental creative achievement by itself and serving as an excellent gateway anime for many people for years to come. And for that I am truly grateful to its existence.
(Last edited 2019/08/29: Rephrased and streamlined most of the text, fixed bad grammar and formatting errors forced by a change in the site’s code.)
It’s the future in Tokyo, or Neo-Tokyo, and everything has gone to Hell. The streets are a warzone between gangs, the government, and everyone else. In between all of this are a number of children with psychic powers that enable them to do pretty much whatever they want. One of these children is a teenager from a biker gang named Tetsuo. He and his friend Kaneda get caught up in the government’s attempt to . . .
I’m sorry, I’m giving this plot way too much credit. Do you want to know what I recall this movie being about? It’s a series of one senseless act of violence after another. Sure, there are scenes of expository dialog, and an important flashback, but this is pretty much the entire movie right here: someone gets the crap beaten out of them. Someone else gets shot. Someone else gets exploded. Someone else gets the crap beaten out of them. Throw in nonsensical psychic powers, among even more people dying whether they deserve it or not, throw in one of the worst endings in cinematic history, roll credits. The film does not even bother to explain most of the things that happen. It’s pretty much like all those mindless action flicks that plagued Hollywood in the 1980s, except animated. Then again, Akira was made in 1988, so I guess it was just following the leader in this regard. 3/10.
Akira is famous for its fluid animation. Indeed, it is the oldest anime I’ve seen that has motion as fluid as what you would expect from an American animated film. As gruesome as the violence is, it is well-crafted. So why then does this only get a 6? Two problems. One, the coloring. I know, this is a bit unfair, seeing as how Akira is a pre-digital anime, but the coloring is drab for the most part. At times, it is fitting of its dystopian setting, but other times, it’s just, well, drab. And two, this film has some of the most bland character designs I have ever seen in a theatrical animated film. It’s like the filmmakers weren’t even trying in this aspect. This and the coloring bogs down my score, but at least there’s no choppiness in the animation. 6/10.
The sound is alright. The soundtrack is eccentric, but works. The sound effects do their job. The ending credits song is lame retro 80s synth fluff, but it could’ve been worse.
I got to see parts of Akira in both Japanese and the English dub by Geneon. The Japanese dub is superb. Unlike most anime, Akira’s Japanese dialog was recorded before the animation work was completed, much like an American animation. Unfortunately, because of this, foreign language dubs look off compared to the original. Now, dub purists are probably thinking, “But . . . but . . . Johnny Yong Bosch! Wendee Lee! Joshua Seth!” Yes, I love them too, but honestly, if for whatever morbid reason you do decide to watch Akira, you’re better off seeing it in Japanese with the subtitles on. 7/10.
Characterization? What characterization? This, along with the threadbare plot, is what killed Akira for me. Who are these characters? Why are they doing the things they are doing? Why should I care for them? Only one character gets any such development, and that’s Tetsuo. We learn his motivation and his desire to strike back at the world, and why he and Kaneda are conflicted with fighting each other at the end, but that is it. Seriously, that’s all the characterization you get in this film. When a character dies, you don’t care for them, because you know nothing about them. The characters whose names I even remember are Kaneda, Tetsuo, and Akira, and that’s only because the first two keep shouting each other’s name, and the last has his name in the title. Like, for example, who was that girl Kaneda kept hitting on? The one that, thanks to the lackluster character designs, looks like a boy? What was her purpose in all of this? What about all those government guys? The rival biker gang? The other children with psychic powers? And why does Akira do what he does in the ending? None of this is either elaborated, or done in a way to make me care as an audience member. 2/10.
Enjoyment: If all you want to see are brutal, pointless acts of violence, then you’re in luck, because that’s exactly what Akira delivers, in spades. If you want more than that, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. I know this is a compressed adaptation of a manga, and the manga is supposedly better, (I don’t know, I haven’t read the manga version of Akira) but couldn’t Otomo have made the anime at least stand on its own for those who haven’t read the manga? As it is, it is a confusing mess, chock to the brim with sensationalized violence. Now, mind you, I don’t mind seeing mature content in my entertainment. What I do mind is seeing “mature” content used only as a means to shock and awe the audience. That’s all Akira does, and somehow, it managed to delude a large number of anime fans into thinking it was “deep” and “meaningful”, when all it really is is a crappy 80s action flick that dissolves into nothing by the end. That’s about as much sense as I can make out of the ending anyways. 3/10.
Now before any of you say “You just hate Akira because you didn’t see it back when it first came out!”, I want to point out that that is a moot point to make. My favorite film by Hayao Miyazaki, Castle in the Sky, predates Akira by two years, and is a much, much, MUCH more enjoyable film than this. And also, Katsuhiro Otomo would go on to make the film Steamboy, which, unlike Akira, actually has a proper plot, characters worth giving a damn about, really nice coloring, and slightly less bland character art. So really, there’s no point in seeing Akira anymore, except to laugh at it, because as far as I’m concerned, the anime version of Akira is nothing more than a joke.
My main problem with “Akira” is the vagueness of the story. I mean, I’m not the biggest fan of these abstract, philosophical stories to begin with, but “Akira” also suffers from a lack of completeness, which only exacerbated my confusion even more. I was watching it with a friend and he was having to constantly explain what to me what was happening using knowledge that he’d accumulated from reading the manga (and in fact he didn’t fully understand everything either as he hasn’t read all the manga). My own view on this is that an anime like this should be able to stand on its own – I shouldn’t have to go digging into the manga just to understand what is going on.
The visuals of “Akira” was supposedly amazing at the time. But if it was, stylistically I don’t think it’s aged particularly gracefully, though it hasn’t done too badly either. Some of the background scenery still looks great, but the characters designs have an odd, “wobbly” kind of feel to them.
Even though I didn’t find the music particularly to my taste, I appreciate the fact that it tries to do something different. The chant heavy soundtrack used had a primitive and alien feel to it. In the context of the anime, it worked quite well in a weird way and didn’t sound out of place. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the voices, which sounded rather horrific on the dub, with the sub sounding a little but not much better.
Other than Tetsuo’s character, which was quite well done, I found the rest of the character to be a little wooden, which probably affected my enjoyment of this anime a bit. And as you probably will have guessed by now, I’m not too impressed regarding the grand, complicated plot underneath that’s nigh on impossible to follow unless you’ve read the manga.
If you like those philosophical kind of anime, you’ll probably enjoy “Akira”. I can’t deny that it’s an interesting watch, but for me, that’s about as far as it goes.
Personal rating: +0.5 (decent)
1: Youjo Senki Movie
English: Saga of Tanya the Evil: The Movie
Japanese: 劇場版 幼女戦記
MAL Score: 8.26
With its armies sweeping across the continent, the Empire seems unstoppable. After securing victory over the remnants of the Republic’s army, the Empire’s ultimate victory is finally within reach. However, dark clouds are gathering in the East. The communist-led Russy Federation is mustering troops on its western border, preparing to enter the war. Supported by a detachment of Allied volunteer magicians—among whom is Mary Sioux, the daughter of a soldier killed by Tanya Degurechaff—the Federation is determined to spread the communist creed and bring the Empire to its knees.
Meanwhile, Tanya and her battalion return to the imperial capital from the southern front. Upon their arrival, they are tasked with investigating troop movements on the border with the Federation. Any escalation of violence at this point may lead to new conflicts, plunging the world into a devastating global war.
Will the Empire eventually emerge victorious from its struggle, or will it crumble in the face of superior enemies and radically different ideologies?
All whilst stuck in the body of a young girl. Sounds like your kind of thing? Then welcome, to the “Saga of Tanya the Evil” (movie)!
Tanya as a series was made by Studio NUT, a relatively new studio comprised of passionate individuals willing to work their ass of for their craft. I recently had the pleasure of visiting Japan to see this movie and on the trip I took a detour to visit the official Youjo Senki café (a 1-floor detour). Lots and lots of memorabilia from the series could be found, including a functional suit of battle gear which Tanya wears in the series & movie. Slick, gritty & beautiful key-art littered the area, and it made me even more stoked to see the movie. The passion in each frame could be seen before I even entered cinema and my anticipation and excitement was met with a bombastic balls-to-the-walls historical action-adventure with the same cast of characters we all fell in love with back in season 1. This time… introducing the communists!
As an enemy to Tanya and the “Eternal Empire” they were far more fearsome than the psuedo-French of last season. Not that they didn’t do their job back then (and they do show up in the movie), but in comparison the size and scope of the Russian federation could be felt thanks to a combination of striking visual symbolism & an attentive composer doing his best to ease you into an underlying feeling of dread which permeated throughout the entire movie. Similar musical motifs are used from season 1, but they’re given a real “Hans Zimmer” treatment (Hans Zimmer of 10 years ago that is) Calm piano pieces, high octane trumpets & an ill-boding pipe organ are all examples of instruments used to help elevate the score to greater cinematic heights.
In the end this was worth waiting for. The animation still looks crisp and beautiful, even more so with a movie budget. The characters and VA’s all work perfectly, some of the new ones give off more of an impression thanks to their VA’s (All veterans, like Cho & Toshiyuki Morikawa)
I’m not going to go into spoilers, but the ending gave me shivers. In what way I won’t tell, but they make fine use of directing choices to present a suggestion to both the audience and characters… that is very interesting.
Myth & Roid’s new song is pretty great too, more subdued & ominous.
The long-awaited sequel is here and oh boy was it good, overall the movie was action-packed and had some character development for our new characters. More importantly, we see the continuation of the saga of Tanya.
The movie explains the next involvement of characters like our new anti-protagonist Aka Mary Sue, the daughter of Anson Sioux (Aka the guy who had the fucking trench shotgun in season 1).
It takes a turn and goes ahead into the story but introduces her “upbringing” and what type of character she is. The movie also shows what we can expect from the next season(which is going to be a thing) which I’m excited about.
The quality was overall great like other films that were movie based. I was lucky to watch it in theatres and would recommend anyone to watch the movie first if that wasn’t obvious then the second season due to the fact its canon.
The movie did leave me unsatisfied due to the short introduction of how are characters met but that’s cause I wanted more but I can respect the hour and a half for the time to introduce the next characters and what they did to meet our current MC.
Studio NUT did a fantastic job with the new OST which was pretty impressive and the overall art of the show. Yuuki Aoi did a good job as well the new voice actors especially the VA that played Mary Sue. In between shots they did use CGI and was a bit of an eyesore in a few scenes but that was only a quick scene, easily ignorable.
Back to the new OST like I said it was good but also the action-packed scenes in the movies with that music really made me immersed. No spoilers :3
The movie was overall good and it filled that hole that wanted more of our loli “nazi”. As the day of this review, it was a one day premier so it might take a while for you guys to see it but it’ll be something to look forward to definitely.
Advised, possible spoilers.
Opinion & Informal
The anatomy and proportions checked out and no noticeable changes in these two points were made between the main series and this movie. There weren’t any special panoramics or expanses that were showcased. There were a few environmental and nature elements in this movie but they weren’t particularly focused on or given their own scenes for us to admire any sort of artistic skill in that regards. The few instances where there was living foliage and nature that we got looked pretty nice but not something I’d praise; much of what was actually relevant was city-scapes and the familiar grey, dull, and war-torn battlefields that were prevalent in the main series. However, the urban art was excellent. I really liked how nicely detailed and styled the backdrops and artwork for the urban areas looked; it felt like the style was more something out of a painting: not clean and crisp, but had an air of vintage if that makes sense. The character details remained fairly close to the main series art-quality-wise. Characters like Tanya and Serebryakova looked very clean and crisp but background fodder like the nameless soldiers were either very basic or just not-too-impressive cgi models. The cgi elements weren’t terrible, but were mediocre enough to sometimes pull me away from the impressive art and animation. Overall, what I thought of the art was that other than particular impact moments like action scenes or scenes emphasizing the revelations or expressions of Tanya, the art quality was more or less similar to the main series.
This is what I’d expect from a feature length film. While the majority of the general motions and natural movements of the characters such as body language, shifts in motion or stance, or walking had similar quality of that from the main series (I watched the BD releases), the parts that mattered such as the impact sequences during the battles or Tanya’s gesugao asides looked great and were what I’d expect from a movie release. In the battle department, this movie did not disappoint. I was wholey satisfied with the animation for the battles. The cgi elements during the “big budget” battles such as Tanya’s duel were kept to a minimum or presented in a way that didn’t detract from the experience at all. Overall, the animation for everything but the “big budget” scenes are pretty much the same as what you’d see in the main series. However, the reason I gave this area such a good score was how impressive (or, well, how satisfied I was) the impact sequences were.
Characters, Plot & Development: 6/10
The characters were the same from the main series. This movie didn’t put too much mileage towards developing any of the characters too deeply (or at all) or any of their relationships or dynamics. No backstories or personal development was allotted to any of the characters at all other than what we were already aware of from the main show, not even Tanya or Mary Sue. Moreover, the direction of the development was more of the main show’s formula giving me the impression that this movie was just a high-budget OVA. I understand that the nature of the the circumstances that the Empire is in as well as Tanya’s place in it all leaves little to deviate from (they can’t just ignore the war to introduce some crazy plot just for the movie) but the reason I gave this area a 6 is because of that. It was just more of sending Tanya and her troops to areas that needed help or carrying out decisive missions. Mary Sue, the antagonist in this movie, was just there to serve as the bad guy. There were moments where the story could have touched upon heavier questions or ideas such as the topics of revenge (during Mary Sue’s conversation with her superior in the barracks or between Tanya and Mary in the church), human nature, or morality versus following orders. Many of those opportunities were there, but were given the “It’s my job, therefore I must do it” or “I am angry or I am fighting because the Empire is evil” explanation. This development direction in my opinion shunted all of my sympathy for Mary Sue. Mary Sue’s anger and resentment didn’t “feel” heavy and I found it hard to connect with her emotions. I feel that the movie failed to give me any sort of foundation or something to work with to humanize Mary Sue and her anger other than the 5 seconds of flashbacks of animation from the main show. Tanya was just more Tanya. She was still acting in accordance to her goal of finding an easy life and simply trying to survive her circumstances. There weren’t any moments of conscientious growth, personal revelations, or shifts in personality for Tanya in this movie which is fine, but there wasn’t even any of those wonderful debates with Being X in this movie. Overall, the characters were the same and weren’t given any backgrounds or personal growth that we don’t already know from the main show. Their inter-personal relationships and dynamics were exactly the same too. The plot development had the same sortie-based + aftermath direction as the main show in which Tanya and her squad would roll out, come back, and we would get the political and wartime aftermath; not much experimentation was done such as trying to at least dive into a bit of Mary Sue’s psyche and its relevance to how it stems from a cycle of hate.
I wasn’t too happy with the music and bgm as they were mostly the same as from the main show with no new notable additions. However, I gave this area a 7 because I was really happy with how well the soundboard was used. The battles really popped out and felt alive with how much was going on. The gun sounds, explosions, and battlefield noises sounded good and made those scenes feel good. No sound design to note. The ED credits used the same ED from the anime, but had different showcase art which was a treat since I liked those so much.
The conclusion was an open-ended conclusion that’s like something you’d see from an OVA or special episode which is why I mentioned that this movie felt more like a high-budget OVA than a separate special entity in the universe. While I see the value in being more closely in-tune to the atmosphere of the main anime as well as that the nature of this movie is a sequel, the movie’s conclusion left much to be desired and felt a bit anti-climactic. The fact that the “How did it come to this?” gag was used for the conclusion added to the “OVA” feeling. The conclusion setting up the future for ‘more of the same’ felt underwhelming to me.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I was expecting from this movie coming into it, but I can definitely say that some parts weren’t surprising while others were satisfying. The direction decision to stay more true to the formula of the anime and source material was fine by me; it wasn’t surprising, but because of that I wasn’t “wow’d.” However, I was completely and utterly satisfied with the impressive art quality and animation, especially the impact sequences and battles. What I thought of this movie: It’s more of the same from the anime, just flashier battles and better animation; this movie doesn’t attempt to experiment with the source material and doesn’t really try to touch upon any of the intricacies of morality or any tough questions which is why I only thought this movie was just good but not great.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Youjo Senki Movie
3. Toshokan Sensou: Kakumei no Tsubasa
4. Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku
5. Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike
6. Strike Witches Movie
7. Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho
8. KanColle Movie
9. The Sky Crawlers
10. Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos
11. Penguin’s Memory: Shiawase Monogatari
12. Vexille: 2077 Nihon Sakoku
13. Golgo 13
14. Starship Troopers: Invasion
16. Strike Witches: 501 Butai Hasshin Shimasu! Movie
17. Starship Troopers: Red Planet
18. Area 88 Movie
19. Grey: Digital Target
20. Future War 198X-nen
21. Soliton no Akuma
22. Gokiburi-tachi no Tasogare
23. Hyaku-nengo no Aru Hi
24. Ice Movie
25. Tonpei to Sarukichi
26. Saru Masamune
27. Sakana no Kuni
28. Momotarou: Umi no Shinpei
29. Sora no Momotarou
30. Rekkoku Rikugun
31. Norakuro Shoui: Nichiyoubi no Kaijiken
32. Osaru no Sankichi: Totsugeki-tai
33. Osaru no Sankichi: Boukuusen
34. Baka Baka Baka na Sekai