They’re the best Anime that 2003 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Nasu: Andalusia no Natsu, Wonderful Days, Crayon Shin-chan Movie 11: Arashi wo Yobu Eikou no Yakiniku Road, and more!
5: Nasu: Andalusia no Natsu
English: Nasu: Summer in Andalusia
Japanese: 茄子 アンダルシアの夏
MAL Score: 7.02
Pepe is a Spanish cyclist competing in an multi-stage Iberian cycling race similar to the Tour de France. He is a support rider for one of the teams competing in the race, and his role is to assist the team’s top rider in winning the overall race. As the story unfolds, the racers are set to ride through Pepe’s home town in Andalusia on the same day as the wedding of his elder brother Angel to his former girlfriend Carmen. Their relationship was a factor in his decision to leave the town to pursue professional cycling, and the wedding is a frustrating reminder that his career hasn’t turned out as he would have liked. Now, with the sponsor planning to drop him from the team and his family and friends cheering him on, Pepe abandons his assigned role and strives for glory.
The movie has three main goals: Sell you on cycling as a sport, sell you on Andalusia as a place, and connect the two together into the main character’s story. On the first two points it does really well. I know nothing about cycling nor any of the tactics that are involved. Like a lot of athletics, I tend to think that there are no tactics beyond just cycle faster than anyone else. Summer in Andalusia definitely sells me on the concept that there’s a lot more going on, between the importance of the following pack and the teamwork involved.
It does all the right tricks to make the concept interesting. Delivering the rules of the race in normal conversations between the characters that also serve as character and world building. Dropping a plot twist 15 minutes after you understand the importance of what just happens, so you get that “oh shit” moment where you realise how dramatic that twist is. By the end, when the characters enter the final straight, you understand the importance of everything so the final few minutes can just be all exhilaration and drama and random references to Didi Senft (google it) and you don’t need characters explaining to you what’s going on. It’s fantastically well paced and well told.
Arguably one place the movie doesn’t do so well is characterising the key rivals in the race. The main character is the only one who seems to have a personality. This isn’t much of an issue because the battle is mostly within the main character’s own mind. It’s all part of this larger theme of the main character trying to escape his family life and Andalusia in general, but coming back and realising he is at home here and fighting that feeling. It’s not as well worked in as the rest of the story, since it leaves it a little too vague by the end and I’m not really sure what the main character achieved. He acknowledges his homeland of Andalusia as not being completely terrible I guess?
The movie does a really good job of selling Andalusia, but when I say that I don’t mean as a wonderful place all the time like Neo-Venezia or something. They actually paint it as a sweltering, barren, near-desert place, but one that the people who live there are really proud of regardless. There’s a lot of attention to detail with the backgrounds and setting the tone of the land. It’s really well directed in general and has the feel and look of a Ghibli movie. This is probably because Summer in Andalusia basically is a Ghibli movie. It’s directed by the animation director of stuff like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away and is animated almost entirely by Ghibli staff too. Clocking in at barely 45 minutes, it’s over pretty quickly and paced really well. Comes with my firm stamp of recommendation.
Pepe out main character is part of a team that don’t exactly want him any more as he hasn’t performed and are close to firing him spurring him to fight all the way to the end. It’s his home town so there are a lot of supporters cheering him on. His brother is getting married to his ex girlfriend, its stated in the synopsis its his ex but it really only hints at it but its enough to pick up on.
It seems to be based in Spain which is rather unique setting. A lot of it takes place on the road as we follow Pepe in an open almost desert like place and an old pub restaurant place.
The art and animation are brilliant, the characters are always well animated and even when the large group of cyclists are on screen it never lets up and doesn’t resort to using still frames which i believe is often lazy so having great animation helped here. Backgrounds are really well drawn even if not a lot is going on due to the desert like setting, crowds and characters designs are simple but work well.
Sound is another great part, the background music fits perfectly with the accompanying scene and fit perfectly well with the Spanish setting, they use a very Spanish sounding tune, you know the type that is played on acoustic guitars really fast (Flamenco?) im no expert so please excuse me. It just fits perfect as the movie draws towards its climax. Voice actors did a perfect job, i felt everyone did a good job and the acting wasn’t wooden due to a decent script.
Characters are fairly likable. Pepe, although not shown is a struggling professional cyclist, or at least that’s what we can summarize from the fact the sponsor wants to fire him if he can’t do well in this race, he has a past with his brothers new wife and doesn’t seem to happy to see them together but its never played for the drama but used to show how he’s grown. Pepe’s brother seems to have no remorse over ‘stealing’ Carmen his wife but does want Pepe to succeed and always had faith in him. The old man who owns the pub is cool and generally gets everyone in high spirits and is the party maker for a lack of a better description. Everyone else had individual personalities, the guy who works at the pub, the team manager, the sponsor, guy in the wheel chair. They all make up a nice and enjoyable cast of characters.
Nasu is a really enjoyable movie that will have you pumping with excitement as the race end draws closer, his story is well told and we learn plenty despite the short running time and you may even pick up a few cycling rules or even make you want to pick up your bike. Its not a comedy buts its also not a drama and is very light hearted, the doping test is hilarious.
As such, I suppose this isn’t absolutely great as an ‘introduction’… to professional cycling, sure, even those new to it could catch up with some terminology (it’s about five words I ended up searching for, which in comparison to baseball isn’t much at all, although basketball has terminology more intuitive than ‘peloton’; if all one does is ride by oneself then that certainly is an irrelevant definition) – as it happens, also, the sequel has none of this and more characterization, which is why I thought it was an improvement upon this original.
This, though, doesn’t mean the animation itself isn’t ‘strong’… at this point Madhouse had been in the industry for decades already, even though this film is ‘old’ as of this writing… the barren lands, the Spanish terrain… all lend themselves to a certain atmosphere that, when culturally appropriate music is included, really does feel almost like a tourist advertisement or such… it isn’t really that blatant, despite the pseudo-product endorsements which are mostly there for a little comedy, but I’m still not sure if a song literally about the place in the title, which itself is often repeated, comes across as a bit too strong in the negative sense.
The marriage that parallels the race is most of the drama outside of the sport itself, which isn’t much, and not quite as deep as the drama in its sequel which does touch upon some heavy topics. I suppose the marriage is there to provide a reason behind the protagonist’s choice of career, but beyond that there isn’t really much substance behind it (then again, unless it is one’s own marriage, others’ usually lack substance too, but it’s merely a symbolic act at any rate).
I think one could say a certain highlight of the film, despite not saying ‘much’, is… the cat. Well, an interesting diversion, at the very least. Also, one cultural parallel between both films is the eggplant (where ‘Nasu’ comes from), which apparently in Spain is pickled, whereas in Japan it’s dark and spicy.
In my opinion, though, what this film had too much of that the sequel rectified is with its ratio of sport:drama – the drinking of wine, eggplants, even the marriage were all merely minor, side dramas that were never too ‘powerful’ to begin with. There was some comedy, but not too ‘strong’ either… some tinkering with some glasses gadget that reminded me of some Ghibli films, that yet again had some minor comedy and little commentary about the differences between the young and old, but it was kept very much in a corner, kind of like the television they watched the race on, which to the audience isn’t just confined to a television-within-a-television.
But, this is merely my opinion, which I think the sequel improved on… it doesn’t take away from the solid animation or the culturally accurate (I assume) additions to the narrative… this, though, turns out to be more like the real-life versions which usually have no drama outside of the sport itself, than most anime in such a genre (and the slice-of-life aspect is usually what I’m looking for, which the sequel had satisfactorily).
4: Wonderful Days
English: Sky Blue
MAL Score: 7.03
Set in 2142, Wonderful Days depicts a world that has been nearly destroyed by environmental pollution. Human life as we know it is almost extinct, and only a few were able to pull through the collapse of Earth’s ecosystem. In order to deal with the chaos, a city named Ecoban was created. The city uses the very pollution that caused the disaster as an energy source.
However, although the initial plan was successful to an extent, it didn’t just create a new source of energy, but also an elite group of people. This prestigious faction believes that they are above the system, and are not willing to accept survivors from outside the city unless they are put to work as laborers.
Among the people living in the wasteland outside Ecoban is a young man named Shua. He leads a very difficult life, but tries to make the most of it through the love that he feels for his childhood friend Jay. Unfortunately, Jay may be more interested in her security commander Cade than in Shua, and thus a love triangle is formed. Not only does Shua have to deal with the heartbreak, but he must also find a new way to survive in the crumbles left from the once-beautiful planet Earth.
Like both the Final Fantasy installments, which this is so reminiscent of, Wonderful Days takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a group of humans are fighting for a better tomorrow – their wonderful days. One can tell that the plot is not a major aspect of the movie; there is very little background on the present events and little or no clarification of what is what. But that’s not important.
The characters, too, are unexplored and their personalities have little significance. There is no motivation for their actions and random switches in beliefs. It’s like a mega chameleon fest, where none of them know what their true colours are. Poor character development. But then again they’re not important.
What drives this anime, and the reason why I give it an 8 after all it’s shortcomings, is the absolutely brilliant animation and sound. To really enjoy this, you need to watch a good quality version of the movie. The cell-shading/CG artwork was fantastic and played its part perfectly in describing the darkness of post apocalyptic earth. I never thought cinematography was important for anime, but by god was it well done. Some of the "shots" coupled with some excellent music brought out the emotion which the 1-D characters could not provide. It is like watching Monet paint. Maybe that’s a bit too much, but you get the idea.
If you’re planning on watching this, don’t go in expecting something extraordinary, it’s nothing brilliant. But it was certainly enjoyable, if not interesting to see what the Korean animation industry is capable of. It’s a very promising step…
The reviews were really positive, the plot seemed really interesting and the cover of the anime looked awesome.
It was also recommended with the Final fantasy advent children which I really like. I’m sorry to say that I really can’t find what’s similar with these two. And I think that the person who recomended Final fantasy advent children with this anime, needs to rewatch Final fantasy advent children.
Anyway, the characters were really flat and didn’t feel realistic at all. The art is decent, but not very good. Actually when I think of it, the only part in the movie that I enjoyed was when Jay and Shua were fighting, and that scene lasted for less than a minute.
Story: The story had potential, and had this been a series with at least 12 episodes I think it would have been really good. But as it stands we only have a movie and the 1.5 hours of playtime is not nearly enough to explore the desolated world we are introduced to in ‘Wonderful Days’. If you want to know the premise of the show, just read the Synopsis here on MAL, no need for me to go through it here. There really isn’t anything more to say about the plot. If you liked the premise you should have no problem watching the show and enjoying it for its other aspects, just don’t expect anything more than the premise..
Art: The art is probably the very best thing about this movie, and this is what makes those 1.5 hours of your life worth the watch. It’s especially the backgrounds that amazes me and I think only Makoto Shinkai has done better (of the animes I’ve seen this far). The backgrounds are dark and depressing in tone and they seem very realistic. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a sucker for flashy technology stuff, and this movie is no let down on that department. Flashy computers, elevators and whatnot, everything beautifully animated. Had to use my “drool-bucket” again. The thing that kept this movie from getting a 10 here is the characters. The thing with the characters is that they have a much brighter tone to them than the backgrounds, so they don’t really match up, if you know what I mean. Animations and all were fluid, so no problems there. This may be my personal taste though, and its nothing major anyway, but just thought I’d mention it.
Sound: The sound is pretty good, but I’ve heard better. The sound is better than average, but it was only enough to get it up to a 7. I can’t say much about the voice acting really since I watched it in Korean. It just felt very different from Japaneese, and I don’t think I can give a very good opinion about it so I’ll just leave it untouched. I’ll just say though that the voice acting wasn’t disturbing or anything like that, so I guess I can say it wasn’t bad at least.
 Characters: The characters were much like the story, unexplored. Again I think it’s because of time constraints. Even though the characters doesn’t have any real development you can understand why they are doing what they are doing and so on. This score would have been lower would it not have been for the side characters which I think have some good personalitys that fit the setting of the anime and are appropriate to where the characters live (Ecoban/outside).
 Enjoyment: I enjoyed this movie quite a bit and I think it was well-worth my time. It’s a shame that such a good storyline was destroyed by time constraints though. All in all this was a pleasant surprise to see what the Koreans can do. If you just need something new, relatively short and artistically awesome, then watch this, you won’t be disappointed.
3: Crayon Shin-chan Movie 11: Arashi wo Yobu Eikou no Yakiniku Road
Japanese: 映画 クレヨンしんちゃん 嵐を呼ぶ栄光のヤキニクロード
MAL Score: 7.11
A slapstick comedy going back to the basic, “laughable” style of the TV series. One day, the Nohara family was looking forward to having an ultra-rich yakiniku dinner, but they were put on the Wanted List on suspicion of heinous crimes because of a scheme of a mysterious organization named Sweet Boys. The Nohara family must run from Sweet Boys’ pursuit but to eat yakiniku for dinner they need to stop escaping and decide to meet the boss of Sweet Boys, who is based in Atami (a hot spring/resort city in Shizuoka Prefecture).
(Source: Manabu Tsuribe)
2: One Piece Movie 4: Dead End no Bouken
English: One Piece: Dead End
Japanese: ワンピース デッドエンドの冒険
MAL Score: 7.56
Luffy and crew arrive at the harbour of Anabaru. The local casino is holding a competition in which the winner will obtain a huge monetary reward if he reaches the finishing line first. Nami is elated and decides to participate in the competition. However, there is a conspiracy going behind the competition and the mastermind is an ex-military commander, Gasparde. His plan is to lure all the pirates to the military base and send them to their deaths. Luffy and gang have to overcome the numerous tests and tribulations along the way to complete this dead-end adventure.
story: The story follows the straw hats pirates while they are on a Island and in need of money, they soon find out that there is a great pirate race. That alone should be good enough to catch anyones interest. The whole movie is amazing and the enemy is one you can hate.
Art: The only reason that I didnt give this a 10 is because One Piece is art style is a little differnt to other animes but it is true to itself and is even better.
Characters: Great characters, if you follow the series I dont need to say anymore, if you dont then all I have to say is you will never see better characters than this group.
Enjoyment: I love this movie, it is the best out there and I have seen it many times and each time it still makes me smile.
Overall: Best anime movie I have ever seen.
ART: It’s One Piece with all it’s might. On the other hand, it’s One Piece with all it’s might, which might not make you happy due to it’s particular, peculiar and bizarre art style and design. Nontheless, the art is very refreshing and original, you can’t deny that. It also features enhanced animation in comparison to the anime, although it’s not that great. One thing I could mention is the backgrounds and the sea, as well as the ship movements, all that is awesome.
SOUND: The sound qaulity itself it’s nice, with a couple of nice new battle tunes and as always the brilliant voice acting of really great seyiuus like Mayumi Tanaka, Kazuya Nakai and Kappei Yamaguchi.
CHARACTER: Though non-canon the movie provides some insight in the world of One Piece showing two more Giants, an old rival of Arlong and some other nice new characters. The two main movie-only characters would probably Shuraiya and Gasparde, the main villain. The first sport an awesome look, and the villain just looks like a couple more of other villains in One Piece: thinks dreams are for the weak and the crewmembers are just underlings. Though it has a pretty nice background and look.
ENJOYMENT: I only gave this 7, yeah. The first reason is that probably most people don’t get the motivation they need to watch the movie since it’s non-canon. So that pretty much lowers the enjoyment level of a movie, particularly, a non-canon anime movie. Secondly, although the three major fights in the movie are really good (Shurayia and Luffy vs Gasparde’s crew, Needles vs Shurayia and Luffy vs Gasparde), there’s not much importace to the rest of the Straw Hats, the simply don’t have a final fight, which I think is also bad.
OVERALL: Although I have only watched the first 4 movies of One Piece, I think this is by far the best, with some pretty nice story, characters and all that you expect from One Piece. You should definitly watch it if you’re a One Piece fan.
Story (5/10) Mediocre
I thought the beginning plot for this movie was fine at first and they hype up this Dead End Adventure, the Pirate Ship Race (which gets interrupted and just felt bland) and the story of Shuraiya and his backstory and what not. I think with these three written on paper it sounds like it should be a good movie but I personally felt it fell short in the execution department as certain parts felt drawn out all of characters in the straw hat character didn’t really do anything in this movie and I felt the pacing was was off as there was a lot of boring dialogue scenes and had me dozing off honestly. Too much uninteresting things I felt was going on in this 4th movie of One Piece.
Art and Animation (6/10) Fine
Continuing with this annual repetition of release the 4th One Piece movie yearly at the point of this movie coming out of course. The only major difference I saw between this an the last movie is that during the beginning they tried to do this 3rd 1st person view of going through a town at night seeing all the people of the town until we eventually get to the Straw Hat Crew who is in a restaurant of some sort getting their grub on like always. I understand the idea of what this scene was trying to do and it probably looked good back in 2003 but I don’t think it aged well at all because this is really slow frame rate 3D presentation honestly just hurt my eyes. The camera angles were cool but the fact that it felt like an introduction to a 1999 computer game before you hit the title screen just didn’t sit well with me. Other than that everything else seem fine for a One Piece movie as far as the 4 that I’ve seem to this point. This one doesn’t look any better than the 3 that came before it and it’s not surprising since this (just like movie 2) came out almost exactly a year after the 3rd movie so advancements in the art style and animation category obviously made no improvements.
Sound (7/10) Good
Nothing to compliment but nothing to complain about. The BGM and voice actors were fine. Outro is fine also not bad not amazing it just exist so yeah..
Characters (6/10) Fair
Like I said in the story section majority of the characters in the Straw Hat Crew hit the back-burner hard in this movie. As we really only get to see mostly Luffy and not that much either. This movie tried to push the movie MC mostly and his introduction started off good. Shuraiya with Luffy in the like the first 15 or so minutes of the movie and they are about to throw down but the main antagonist comes in and interrupts their fight as they basically say “we’ll fight later”. To me that’s Toei basically hyping up a fight we never saw and at this point who cares because the Movie MC Shuraiya get’s his ass whooped around the end of this movie anyway so I didn’t even want to see the fight between him and Luffy anymore. His backstory with him and his sister (who didn’t even looked like she aged since her backstory) was boring and uninteresting and since the movie gave him so much screen time I personally think he’s the reason why I was dozing off during this movie. The other characters like the straw hat crew when they were doing something was good but like I said we don’t get to see them that much, I usually give this section a 8, 9 and sometimes a 10. But that’s only because I enjoy seeing the Straw Hat crew do what they do, when they are taken out of the picture my score in the section will most likely dwindle if the characters they focus on can’t suffice for replacement.
Enjoyment (5/10) Mediocre
My enjoyment was not that high for this movie, I was honestly expecting more from it. And I like I said earlier I personally think they failed to capture my attention with this movie with the various things this movie tried to bring to the table. My interested raise just a tad at the very end when Luffy is fighting the Movie Villain and his Candy Syrup powers or what ever when he messes up Luffy’s hat and the various signature moves Luffy was using against him. It was a good fight but I don’t think it was enough for me to forgive the rest of my boredom I had for the other hour and like ten minutes I was watching the movie for.
Overall (5/10) Mediocre
More Specifically (5.80/10) Mediocre at best
Dead End no Bouken in my opinion is probably the most boring of One Piece movies yet. It’s down there with the 2nd movie and I like I said earlier if they focus on the Straw Hat crew then we can have a more entertaining movie, hopefully the future ones don’t follow this template of letting the movie MC have all the spot light just to get whooped and end the movie with a Luffy fight because I don’t think that’s a good formula.
1: InuYasha Movie 3: Tenka Hadou no Ken
English: InuYasha the Movie 3: Swords of an Honorable Ruler
Japanese: 映画 犬夜叉 天下覇道の剣
MAL Score: 7.80
Izayoi and Inu no Taishou, Inuyasha’s parents, are having problems with a human named Setsuna no Takemaru. Sou’unga a magical sword that has been sealed away for 700 years is found. Now everyone is after the sword and its powers but it seems the sword has something else in mind.
First of all, the artwork looks really pretty, and the plot of the story is very enjoyable. This movie basically gives you a little flashback into Inuyasha’s past, and who his parents were. Like any Inuyasha movie, there’s plenty of action to see.
In my opinion, the movie could have went a little bit deeper into the past, but overall it’s great!
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. InuYasha Movie 3: Tenka Hadou no Ken
2. One Piece Movie 4: Dead End no Bouken
3. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 11: Arashi wo Yobu Eikou no Yakiniku Road
4. Wonderful Days
5. Nasu: Andalusia no Natsu