They’re the best Anime that 2004 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Crayon Shin-chan Movie 12: Arashi wo Yobu! Yuuhi no Kasukabe Boys, Appleseed (Movie), One Piece Movie 5: Norowareta Seiken, and more!
5: Crayon Shin-chan Movie 12: Arashi wo Yobu! Yuuhi no Kasukabe Boys
Japanese: 映画 クレヨンしんちゃん 嵐を呼ぶ！夕陽のカスカベボーイズ
MAL Score: 7.06
A fantasy action set in a world of Western films. One day the Nohara family, Kasukabe Defense Forces (Shinnosuke Nohara and his mates: Kazama-kun, Nene-chan, Masao-kun and Bo-chan), and other people living in Kasukabe City get lost in a world within a Wild West film, which is a city ruled by an evil governor named Justice. The time progression has been stopped there because the film is unfinished but people are losing their memories about the past little by little. To go back to their former world, the Kasukabe Defense Forces tries to defeat Governor Justice and finish the film before everyone loses their memories.
(Source: Manabu Tsuribe)
4: Appleseed (Movie)
MAL Score: 7.08
Growing out of the chaos of a global war, the city of Utopia is populated by humans and bioroids (artificial humans). On the surface, everything is harmonious, but tensions lurk. Into this seemingly perfect society comes a survivor of the wars, Deunan Knute, who carries a legacy that will turn out to be of critical importance to the future of humanity.
Appleseed (AS) tells the story of Deunan and Briaeros, mates on the battlefield. The story revolves around battles, mechas, utopian philosophy and some romance. You will also know about Bioroids, which are cloned humans, but with distinct identities.
–> Animation: (10/10)
Really, earning a 10 from me is tough, but Appleseed really amazed me in terms of sheer graphic quality. It’s a perfect blend of traditional animation, coupled with very well made CG. The backgrounds and environments are extremely detailed and well done. The same quality can be found in the character designs. Just see how detailed Deunan’s hair is, or how the general mechas are done. At one point, you see Deunan resting on a bed. As she drops, you can even see the bed sheets crumpling in very realistic ways. Or the various water and nature scenes, specially rain. They are truly magnificent. AS’s animation really deserves applause.
–> Sound: (8/10)
Not much to say here, since the music score of AS is not really that varied. The action scenes have their BGM and I can say these were well selected. They really highlight the action. Dramatic scenes too have their appropriate music, and here too, it’s ok. Not much to say, nothing bad, nothing absolutely noticeable. Character voices are well done. However, Deunan’s voice is kind of too "feminine". Ok, I know she’s a girl, but still, after seeing her fight? I’d put a graver voice on her. xD
–> Story: (9/10)
The story too is really awesome. The plot is consistent, and has lots of twists and turns, until you are told of the final secret, which you really don’t expect. The plots flow smoothly, giving details as they flow, and not just flood you at the end. It’s an interesting story, very sc-fi like, peppered with a good dose of action. You won’t be bored watching it. Maybe at the beginning, when there is quite a lot of talking, but it does not last long. It’s a nice story about humans, bioroids, how an utopia functions, how humans can be intolerant, and how the desire for total utopia can be bad. It has some subtle philosophy too, mind you! Overall, I liked.
–> Characters: (7/10)
Maybe, this is the only point AS deceived me a bit. The characters themselves are interesting to follow, and learn about. Their stories and backgrounds are very plausible. But what I didn’t appreciate is Deunan and Briaeros hogging all the screen time. They are present in almost every scene! What about the side characters? In my opinion, they didn’t get developed enough. We could have been given more details about their lives and backgrounds. Consider Hitomi. At the end, we still don’t know much about her. About her life after work, her relationships and stuff, even if she’s the secondary female lead! Even the main characters Deunan and Briaeros didn’t get that much of elaboration. The developers of AS should have included a bit more of character elaboration.
–> Enjoyment: (8/10)
It’s not really a light film to just sit there and enjoy. Barely any humor in it. The enjoyment comes from the great storyline and the well-made action scenes. I, personally, really enjoyed it. AS also has a good rewatch value. I have rewatched it 3 times, just for the battle scenes and the story.
–> Outro (Overall: 8/10):
AS makes a good story, combined with well-made animation and ok-type characters. Therefore, it makes a good watch. Go check it out, you will probably not regret it.
Deunan Knute is an elite soldier during a global war. During one battle a strange group barges in and takes her to Olympus, a Utopian society where humans are living a peaceful coexistence with a new species that strongly resembles humans but were artificially constructed and have some distinct differences, called “bioroids.” Deunan quickly learns that not everything is as idyllic as it seems. There are some humans who hate the bioroids and she quickly finds herself entangled in the conflict between two factions, one of which is opposed to bioroids existing and the other which wants to safeguard the society that’s been built with its peaceful coexistence. Things quickly become more complicated as Deunan starts getting hints that there may be something deeper behind this conflict.
The biggest flaw of this film is that the main antagonists’ plan isn’t actually bad. I can’t go into many details since its only revealed in the last ten minutes or so, but as soon as it’s revealed all the tension immediately disperses because even if they succeed it won’t be all that big of a deal. Another problem is with the ending. There’s a huge deus ex moment in order to force a “happy” ending. Yeah, if you can’t figure out a way for the characters to get out of a scenario without making a bigger sacrifice than you want them to, either change the scenario or have the ovarian fortitude to have a tragic ending with some major sacrifices. The deus ex route is the worst way to go. Then we have the romantic subplot. In theory, the setup could work. The problem is that our leads have no chemistry. There’s none shown through the narrative, the animation or vocal performances. Deunan has more chemistry with the bioroid girl who supposedly can’t feel love than with this guy. Hell, she has more chemistry with her pistol. There are also some clunky exposition moments where characters go into information that everyone on screen already knows just because the audience doesn’t and there’s a bit where they have three major revelations in a short span of time and it just comes across as rushed and clunky.
On the positive side, there are some really compelling facets to the world that gets built up in Appleseed. There are also some good ideas behind the various revelations and they could have all really worked if they’d been spread out and developed more instead of clustered together. Aside from the clustered revelations, the pacing works really well and there are a lot of interesting ideas behind the whole thing.
I’ll give the film credit for trying to have complex characters, and none of them are badly done, but most of them just don’t move beyond bland. Deunan is a pretty good character and there are some interesting things going on with Athena as well. Then you’ve got characters like Briareos or the elders who are just kind of generic and characters like Hades, Nike, Hitomi or Uranus who have potential but aren’t fully realised as characters so it gets largely wasted.
The CG in this is kind of stilted and there are a lot of janky movements. There are also some cases of the characters having awkward expressions that don’t really match their dialogue. It’s vastly superior to the CG in the Galerians OVA, but that isn’t saying much. To be fair, it was made in 2004 and you can understand why it looks like cut scenes from a PS2 game since the technology wasn’t really there yet, at least I can’t think of a purely CG movie from that time that did it better, but it’s still pretty awkward.
There are some pretty solid performances. Kobayashi Ai, Kosugi Juurouta and Koyama Mami do particularly well. The music is okay. It’s not particularly good, but it works fine.
There are some scenes, particularly early on, where Hitomi and Deunan seem a bit homo-erotic. Which is a bit disturbing given one of the tidbits of information you get later. There’s also a scene where Deunan hugs Athena and her hands go right to Athena’s bum. I’m not sure if it’s a deliberate yuri moment or just an art fail, though. Since the two of them have barely interacted before that point.
Appleseed is not a bad movie but it’s not a good one either. It has some great ideas, but the story is riddled with problems and the characters are largely just mediocre. Maybe the manga’s better and features more development for the plot line and characters but for the film I have to give it a 5/10. Tomorrow, I’ll continue this week of film reviews with Fusion Reborn.
The plot wasn’t all bad. The internal conflict was a particularly fascinating thing, particularly when you find out who the real enemy is. And the idea that a peaceful society is really a cage may be used a lot, but is still interesting in its own way. However, for people like myself who haven’t read the manga beforehand, the history of this distopian universe might be difficult to comprehend, thus decreasing any real enjoyment plot-wise, as you’re left wondering "why?" the whole time. All you get is that some global war is going on, and then "bam!" suddenly this "utopia" comes into play, and the previous fighting doesn’t mean a thing.
One thing I can definitely agree to is that Appleseed has some truly fantastic animation. Even if it possessed nothing else, that the art is spectacular is something nobody can deny. The opening sequence was especially eye-catching, with the distopian city design.
Being something of a dance music fan, I loved the soundtrack to the movie. Basement Jaxx, Boom Boom Satellites and Paul Oakenfold’s work gave me something new to add to my rapidly growing iTunes playlist, and I’m a particular fan of the songs "Good Luck" and "Burns Attack." They all seemed to tie in well with the scene in which they appeared also.
Kinda bland, I have to say. They replace character depth with lots of action, and the writers seemed more interested in displaying Deunan’s "kick-assery" rather than her personality. There wasn’t as much insight into Deunan and Briareos’ relationship as I believe there should’ve been, and while there was obviously some tension due to Briareos’ being a cyborg, I still thought that particular aspect could’ve been portrayed better. Uranus and Hades were interesting in their dislike for bioroids, and Hitomi was a curious choice for Deunan’s "best friend." Otherwise, the stage goes entirely to the Elders, and the choices they made.
Okay, so, Appleseed is nothing spectacular. Shiny fight scenes, boppy music and pretty animation sequences make it worth the watch for some like myself, though if you’re looking for intricate plot and detailed characters it may be best to divert elsewhere.
3: One Piece Movie 5: Norowareta Seiken
English: One Piece: The Curse of the Sacred Sword
MAL Score: 7.19
Luffy and crew go to an island searching for a legendary sword, said to be the most expensive in the world. Soon attacking marines and beautiful maidens split the crew. Zoro betrays the crew to help an old friend, Luffy and Usopp wander through a cave, and the rest help a village fight marines. When Zoro defeats Sanji he takes the sacred pearls that are the only defense against the evil sword that will plunge the world into darkness.
This movie doesn’t even compare to the awesomeness that One Piece offers. I’m guessing that whoever wrote the script for this didn’t really have “One Piece” in mind. They very well could have just written a script and thrown the cast of One Piece into the roles.
It’s necessary to be harsh with this movie because it is by far one of the worst One Piece movies, and anyone who loves the show shouldn’t waste their time to watch this movie.
Story / Character: 5
Basically, the summary of this movie is that The Straw Hats go to some random island to look for a sword and then Zoro betrays his friends to go meet with his old companion and fights against the crew. Okay, already you know that this is ridiculous.
How many of you have seen One Piece? If you’re willing to watch this movie, I’m guessing you have. And you should then realize that this is crazy because even though Zoro comes across as a scary, mean swordsman most of the time, he does care deeply for his ‘Nakama’ and would never betray them, even if it were to help an old friend.
That’s mainly what made me angry while watching this. Seeing the characters personalities and values changed just for the convenience of the movie was a terrible idea.
Even Luffy seemed a bit off while he was on screen. Luffy may be reckless and doesn’t think things through, but he’s not a complete moron. The writer of this movie didn’t seem to understand that fact.
Of course, in this movie we have a new character. That’s right, Zoro’s friend known as ‘Saga’. Now how can I put this? Well first of all, I hate him. It doesn’t matter how ‘justified’ his actions were; as an audience, I didn’t feel any compassion for him.
Sometimes in shows we end up feeling sad for a bad guy because you realize that he was just trying to do the right thing! It makes us think to ourselves “wow, maybe he is really a nice guy that just went about doing what he thought was right”, or something along those lines. Trust me, you won’t feel any of that while watching this movie. It’s really pretty impossible to be immersed into such a shallow character such as Saga.
Now, even though the story is horrific, the art is actually quite good! The characters have the same general ‘One Piece’ look to them, and then the backgrounds are quite beautifully detailed. It seems as though some computer animation was used throughout the movie as well, there are times when the camera shot moves around and looks almost 3D.
The fighting is also very well done. We see some pretty intense fighting shots, angles and colours during the movie. So in a way, the art reminded me of the original show, which is sad that the story couldn’t be as good as the art was.
If you’ve seen One Piece, you know what the characters sound like. You will also know that the voice actors always give 110% no matter what! Their voices are part of what make the show amazing! The way they can sound so emotional, sarcastic or angry is just incredible.
As mentioned before, we have a new character in this movie. Saga. His voice actor, Nakamura Shidou, is not very well known, the only role he’s done that is worth mentioning is Ryuk from Death Note. I think there may be a reason that he hasn’t gotten a lot of voice acting roles, it’s not that he’s bad, but his voice only works for certain characters. And Saga isn’t one of them. He sounds quite out of place and out of character.
Alright, so I’ll be fair. I didn’t love this movie obviously, but I didn’t feel the need to fall asleep while watching it either. Being a Shounen anime movie, it focuses on fighting a lot, which is something most of us can enjoy even if the story is terrible. And since the fights were good, I was able to keep my eyes on the screen and watch the movie all the way through.
I also love Zoro, he’s a great character, so it was nice to see him get the spotlight for a movie.
I certainly don’t plan on watching it again. I’ve seen fanfics that have better story and character than this movie did (which is really saying something)!
If you like One Piece, feel free to watch this movie. But I’m warning you now that it isn’t the One Piece that we all love dearly. It’s an insult to One Piece and Oda himself to make a movie that messes with the original story and the original characters.
One Piece Norowareta Seiken (The Curse of the Sacred Sword) is definitely my least favorite One Piece movie. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it.
1. the story is cliche – and not just a bit but way way way too lame. the thing about one piece is that it manage to give ordinary cliche settings a big twist, which is why i love the anime – but this totally failed to happen here. most lines are expected; plot extremely predictable. i was hoping they might turn the whole demon-sword concept into something interesting, but that’s so not happening here.
2. characterization was off – personal opinion here, but sanji and zoro’s characters are wrong (what did you do to my favourite character!!!). it doesnt mean if the right line is said the correct feeling for the character can be achieved. this one felt totally off, plus some lines are actually quite awkward. seems more like a doujin work rather than being the original. on closer look, nami’s characterization is not up to standard too. the entire team dynamics seemed to lacking in fact. the only people i felt were satisfactorily portrayed were usopp and luffy.
3. pacing is bad – most of the first parts seemed rushed. like everyone’s trying to speak as fast as they can so that it’s within the timing or sth. then a few scenes at the end were long drawn and a complete waste of time. – there wasnt enough time to create suspense, or feel the story develop.
4. voice acting/ voice actors – which obaaaasan has a voice so obviously young (and speaks so fast no less)??? then there were also part where i dont know if it’s just that the voice acting sucked or that the pace was just too fast such that lines carried no emotions at all.
one piece story aims to tell people to dare to dream and gives people hope – this story has just left me in despair. o.o
Story: Not bad. One piece has had some pretty terrible storylines in the past, and so this movie was easily forgiven by having a passable story, and one that focuses on one of my favorite characters Zoro. I didn’t love it, I didnt hate it, so it gets a 5.
Art: Very One Piece style. I really don’t want to talk about the art because one piece is one piece in its style of art, love it or hate it. It gets and 8 from me.
Sound: Good. Nothing much to say about this. Not as good as the series or Movie 4 or 2, but still good.
Characters: Main Character = Zoro = +. I wish Luffy had a little bit more of a role, because it felt like he wasn’t even needed in the entire movie, yet he was still the “main character”. No one else really seemed to matter in this movie except for Zoro. I felt like they included all the other characters because otherwise it wouldn’t be One Piece. Really disappointing on how they used everyone.
Enjoyment: Made me laugh at times. I watch One Piece to laugh, and get me really excited when someone is pissed off. Surprisingly no one got that pissed off in this movie. I thought I would have enjoyed it more because of this fact, but I didn’t so now I appreciate it more when someone does get really angry. Other than that it had its usual jokes that put a smile on my face.
Overall: I still enjoyed it, would never watch it again, and if I could have gone back in time to tell myself to just go ahead and skip it, I would have. Your not missing much if you decide to skip this movie.
MAL Score: 7.34
Ray is a young wunderkind inventor living in Victorian England. His life is turned upside down when he receives a special package hailing from the United States, sent by his grandfather, Lloyd Steam. The package contains a device called a Steam Ball, a device so powerful that it can drive any machine that requires steam with a nearly limitless amount of energy.
Ray is instructed to not let the Steam Ball fall into the wrong hands, which include the mighty O’Hara Foundation, who desperately want to bring the Steam Ball back into their control so they can achieve their less than noble goals.
He will need to use every bit of his brilliance in order to dodge the countless goons that are sent to snatch the device from him. It will be a battle between good and evil, a battle for redemption, a battle for the future!
The plot of Steamboy is really nothing all that original. If you’ve seen any adventure stories before then the overall premise is going to feel very familiar to you. The story centers around the boy Ray Steam, who is an inventor from a family of inventors. After he receives a mysterious package from his grandfather he soon finds himself chased by villains who want it for themselves. The story has lofty goals but by the time the movie ends, I found myself confused about what actually happened and what the purpose of the whole thing was. Also it didn’t feel like any of the villainous characters ever really faced any consequences for their actions and the only people hurt were the innocents they stepped on throughout the story. Maybe I am being to idealistic but I want the bad guys to get their just deserts, and Steamboy didn’t leave me feeling that they had.
There is a lot of very good action in Steamboy however. Fans of action will have a lot to like here. The battles and action scenes are marvelous to watch and the CGI effects are wonderfully embedded within the animation. The movie also does a wonderful job in building a Victorian Age fantasy with amazing steam powered machines of all types. It reminds me a lot of a Jules Verne style story.
Ray Steam is an adequate leading character. He is heroic and idealistic and very much a standard and predictable character type for this kind of story. There just isn’t enough development of his past or personality to make him all that compelling or memorable. Scarlett is even less interesting as we learn almost nothing about her either. I did not find her to be all that likable nor did I care much about what happened to her. She’s spoiled and arrogant and cruel to animals. She seems to make a little progress as the story unfolds but not enough to make me actually like her. Steamboy’s villains are not anymore interesting. While they don’t fit the black/white stereotype that one often seen in these characters for this story type their motivations are obscure and not well defined for most of them. The ones that are just don’t give you enough reasons to dislike them and cheer on our hero.
While the animation was really top notch in most cases, I did not care for the character designs. Particularly that of Scarlet as she looked more like a cross dressing boy than a girl. As I mentioned the animation for the various steam machines and action was amazing. The level of detail and fantastic designs were definitely a highlight. The music and acting was all very good though. The background music did a lot to build the grand scale of the movie.
Steamboy is overall though just an average adventure story. I certainly didn’t dislike this movie at all, I’ve just seen a lot better. Still I don’t think anyone would dislike this so if you enjoy fantasy and adventure stories, Steamboy will be well worth your time.
It’s not ‘weird’ as in something ridiculously abstract or disturbing, but weird in other ways.
The alternate-history setting is a visual feast for the eyes via Production I.G’s commitment to detail and quality animation. The dub is actually really good, and this is coming from a guy who hates dubs. But in a story like this where its set completely in 19th century England, it would be too strange to hear Japanese voices, so the heavy Manchester and cockney London accents fit very well with what’s going on. Yeah, an anime set entirely in 19th century England, with no Japanese characters, weird already.
And damn if what’s going on isn’t bloody amazing. I actually think this is a two act story which is very interesting and unconventional. For any laymen to cinema theory reading this, most common films have three act structures, but Steamboy is basically Setup and then Resolution. Maybe a bit of an act 2 is floating around somewhere in this strange anime, but you’d be hard pressed to find it, as it moves so quickly from a beginning that feels deceivingly generic: a regular boy-receives-package-and-goes-on-run-with-it scenario that doesn’t follow all the clichés of the past thankfully, but instead saves us the trouble of watching the story lull then pick up then lull over and over again. No, Steamboy just keeps going from the first chase scene and doesn’t let up until the destructive climax.
But what a climax. There are images in this anime that are purely breathtaking. Images you’ve never seen before. Katsuhiro Otomo’s eye for apocalyptic action is second-to-none; no one can do it better than him. Seeing it in action in London is a treat. His direction, especially in action sequences, gives you scope to all the mayhem, his pans and tracking shots are perfect.
Its all complemented by humour in the form of a bunch of weapons buyers on a tour of a gigantic weapon of mass destruction, unwittingly being involved in the ‘demonstration’, to sly observations of Londoners’ reactions to horrific disasters unfolding in front of them, it’s never forced but very quirky and funny.
Steamboy can be criticised for its two act structure and may lead people to believe it’s all style and no substance, and I wont even try to defend it’s attempts at philosophising on the purpose of science and technology, as the two characters that keep spouting their speeches gets old very quickly, but this anime is simply unlike any other out there and for that reason alone it deserves your full attention.
There are so many things going on in Steamboy, from the surface narrative of a boy being dragged into an ideological quarrel between his father and grandfather, to the philosophical implications of steam technology on the 19th and 20th century, and most interestingly of all: that this was actually the origin of a superhero which just made me grin big time.
The only down-side to this anime I see is that it is very generic steampunk but I also see this as its bet asset to those who are interested in understanding this genre.
1: InuYasha Movie 4: Guren no Houraijima
English: InuYasha the Movie 4: Fire on the Mystic Island
Japanese: 犬夜叉 紅蓮の蓬莱島
MAL Score: 7.54
The mysterious island of Houraijima has reappeared after 50 years, and with its reappearance has brought the attack of four gods, the Shitoushin, who have their eyes set on the powers that protect and sustain the island. Now it’s up to Inuyasha and his friends, along with Sesshoumaru, to find a way to defeat the powerful Shitoushin.
The scenario is very weak and most unimpressive even for the tv standards. So far they had being fighting top level demons who could take over the world, control time, and even raise hell. Now they deal with… four convicts??? Surely, where is the excitement in that? Four nobody demons that are trapped on an island and just lure other demons in order to eat them and stay alive. Another annoying feature is the little kids in this movie. You would expect token kids begging for the shounen hero to save them in a Naruto or a One Piece film, but in Inu Yasha it just feels stupid. I guess so many years past that by now the franchise had turned to just another silly show about teenagers saving kids.
The plot is not something great either. All they do is fighting one demon at a time before the last one fuses with the rest to form a last moment big boss. That’s it, nothing more. The previous movies had the decency to try to deal with some sort of drama or romance from the various themes of the main story. This one here does absolutely NOTHING! You could replace the characters with those from any other shounen show and you wouldn’t even know the difference.
Not even the action is something good, since by now Inu Yasha had enough firepower to take on the Devil himself and the enemy demons were just generic bad guys without any backdrop or interesting battle strategies. Not even the setting is good either. It is just a sort of tropical island that appeared on the sea; nothing nightmarish or complicating.
In all, this is a completely pointless movie that has no point in existing. I don’t recommend it one bit.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. InuYasha Movie 4: Guren no Houraijima
3. One Piece Movie 5: Norowareta Seiken
4. Appleseed (Movie)
5. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 12: Arashi wo Yobu! Yuuhi no Kasukabe Boys